Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hard Workers

When I was ten on the High Plains of West Texas, I declared jihad on red ants.

I ransacked my father's toolshed and came up with a can of naphtha and almost a full half-gallon of oil-based white exterior paint. These I wanted to mix together before pouring them into the portal of a red ant den near the southwest corner of the vegetable garden. I found the galvanized bucket my father used to feed the chickens and poured the paint, followed by the naphtha, into it and mixed it together with a foot-long screwdriver I extracted from his toolbox. I poured my concoction on the ants, which killed some of them. It was plain to see.

Encouraged, and with my blood up, I got into my brother's stash of colognes and after-shave lotions and used them all to further dilute the white paint, which was quickly coagulating on the hard dirt around the red ant den. Then I decided to call in the air force and firebomb the den, tossing large lit kitchen matches onto my chemical and paint stew. The whole mess erupted with flames the color of mint, including the discarded bucket and screwdriver, both white with naphtha-ized paint, and before I knew it the whole prairie was burning. The wall of flames were moving with a fluid skip toward the chicken house when I ran inside for help.

The next morning I was still confined to my quarters when I overheard my parents at the breakfast table. "Well, at least he's a hard worker," my mother said, and chuckled. My mother was the most Christian woman I've ever known, and she seriously practiced the rule that it was her duty to say something nice about everyone.

Which is the only explanation we can come up with for the Jefferson Post's editorial yesterday saying that, well, Madam Virginia Foxx is, sum total, a hard worker.

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