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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Reality Check

While eating a bowl of Life Cereal (good stuff), I turned on the TV to catch whatever might be on (since it is rare that I do). While flipping through, I came to the National Geographic Channel's Bug Attack show. OH MY GOODNESS... the critters that are out there... man! It never ceases to amaze me, the things we know that we don't know and the things that we don't even know that we don't know.

It's easy for us, as humans, to think we are indestructable. I mean, we are living large! We've sought out land, made it habitable, and moved on in. We dominate the world... us humans. Matter of fact, you could say we are on top of the food chain. As a result, it is so easy to forget that things smaller than the head of a pin can take a full grown human out in less than a day. Yeah... scary. As if lethal ones weren't bad enough... there are other critters that don't kill you, just give you a debilitating condition that you'll have to bout with for the rest of your life! Straight CRAZY!

The show was some reality check, reminding me of the truth of our fragile genetic makeup. It's good to be reminded of our mortality though. I think it's healthy and allows us to keep a proper perspective about life. What's more, it allows us to remember just how precious life truly is because things can change in the blink of an eye (sometimes even faster). So, my charge to you, don't let life pass you by, enjoy every passing moment, launch yourself into the adventure that life is, and make it one awesome ride!

Okay, on to some of the more interesting and less disgusting non-lethal critters. Though I have to say, the host of the show is crazy. Knowing what these critters can do, homeboy STILL gets up close and personal! I give him props, but you won't find me engaging in such close encounters, no way.

Jumper Ant - That's right, they jump... about 5 centimeters. They've got skills too. When they notice a prey, they don't attack head on. Instead they come up from behind or above and then pounce. Then they're like, "DINNER TIME! WOOO!" and take a monster bite. It's more like a sting with their long pincers. At the same time, they drop some venom that, depending on the person, can stop (or come close to stopping) your breathing in 5 minutes..... freaky.

Black Widow - There's a small family in a suburb located in Pheonix, Arizona. They have a spider farm... more specifically, a black widow spider farm RIGHT IN THEIR HOUSE. All three (husband, wife, and daughter) run the business. They extract the black widow's venom and sell them to scientists making anti-venom medicine. You just have to see it... man.... Anyway, a Black Widow's venom feels like a charlie horse with 10x the umph (according to the husband). It's so painful, it feels like the muscle is contracting to the point of nearly snapping the bone.

Super Deadly Wasp - I forget its actual name, but apparently this wasp is the most aggressive wasp whose bite/venom combo is the most painful non-lethal bite out there. The show didn't detail what it actually feels like, and what causes the intense pain, but by the host's and his accomplace's ultra caution when approaching a hive... that pain is no joke. So check it out, these two approach a hive home to about 200 of these bad boys. The expert tells the host that they are going to try and snatch the hive... yeah... crazy. But first, in order to test the aggressiveness of the hive, the expert says they need to blow up a balloon and place it between the hive and themselves. He then proceeds to tell the host that each wasp can sting up to 5 times. The host does the math and says... "so, that's, at worst, about 500 stings each right? And these things have the worst and most painful wasp bite known to man? I'm going to stand... over here." The expert goes on to explain that *if* the wasps burst the balloon (it was a monster black balloon too by the way)... run. Within seconds after only slightly disturbing the nest, the whole swarm pounced, the balloon burst with a quickness, and both host and expert high tailed it while falling over themselves trying to get past natural rain forest obstacles. It was pretty funny to watch actually ;-D

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