Monday, March 29, 2010

The Rasputin Bugs

Live Free or Die Hard 4

They look like wasps and I've never given them an opportunity to show whether they sting, but it's almost time for them to make their annual reappearance here on the farm. I'm talking about Rasputin Bugs, as I've christened them, because of an exoskeleton that renders them fairly resistant to whacks from the flyswatter and therefore, wickedly hard to kill.

They're namesake was a monk-charlatan who weaseled his way into the court of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Legend has it, on the occasion of his murder, he'd been poisoned, beaten, shot four times, and then drowned. I'm guessing someone was either obsessively thorough or had serious anger management issues.

In any case, Rasputin has become an image for the ultimate villain, who is typically, extremely difficult to eliminate. Alexander Godunov, for example, in the original Die Hard (1988), is beaten up by John McClane, hung by a chain, and just when we think he's done for, manages to rise from the rubble of Century City to get blasted four or five times in the final scene. Sound familiar? Film mythology often depicts evil as an animating force exerting its influence when death would have claimed lesser folk. There's something genuinely cathartic about seeing evil incarnate finally getting its due.

This is not to say I enjoy playing Lord of the Flies with the insects. Frankly, I'd prefer they stay outside and do whatever it is they do in Mother Nature's Grand Scheme. My primary concern is the cat's fascination with them and the possibility of having to take him to the vet with a swollen snout. I've tried shooing them out the window but their response has been rather like, "If we wanted outside, we'd go on our own!" Spraying Blag Flag is about as effective as offering them a dash of cologne and smells worse.

So, I'm left with the flyswatter. In case you have a similar problem, I've found the metal handled variety works best. The length provides leverage and the metal can be reshaped after the five or ten blows it usually takes to nail one of these guys. The plastic type breaks too easily. Like I say, they're Rasputin bugs.
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