On Dogbite Friday yesterday, Patrick told about a time he was attacked by a very persistent wasp. It brought to mind my own recent encounter with a a member of that cruel tribe. I was at the neighborhood pool, and a friend asked me what was happening with my new book. I launched into a very involved monologue about The Charlatan’s Boy‘s place in American literary history when a wasp climbed through the hole at the instep of my right sandal. There were a very unsettled two seconds when I was bringing home some point about Twain and Hawthorne and me, but I also realized there was a wasp in my shoe. I knew I was about to get lit up, but I was so close to completing my thought. And besides, what could I do about the wasp anyway? If I tried to whip off my shoe, the wasp would surely sting me anyway. No, I thought, the best thing would be to maintain my composure. Herman Melville wouldn’t panic in this situation. For a second there I decided maybe it wasn’t a wasp after all; then I realized it coudn’t be anything else. Then I lost my train of thought and trailed off into a distracted silence while my interlocutor gave me a perplexed look. About that time the wasp had gotten himself situated, and he let me have it, and I switched from “man of letters” mode to “jumping and shrieking” mode. I couldn’t believe how bad it hurt. I hopped around for I don’t know how long and had a swollen foot for days. The wasp got completely away.

  • Patrick
    3:46 PM, 11 September 2010

    This one brought tears to my eyes! It is so great when we can laugh at ourselves! Thank you so much for your encouraging words yesterday, Jonathan! I am honored that you took the time to visit my blog. Thank you also for your stories and for spending your time down here on Earth. We all have our grandiose moments, and sometimes we need reality to sting us to regain a healthy perspective.

  • S.D. Smith
    3:19 AM, 13 September 2010

    Have you ever been bit by a bee?
    Great story, JR. Twain would, I think, approve.

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