They Fly

The South Shore Audubon Society’s lovable bird walk expert Joe was swabbing some stuff over his face and in and around his ears. Our bird walk was to take place at Jones Beach West End #2. We’d tramp through the underbrush as word had gotten out that migrating birds were in the area in full force. It’s spring; here come the birds!

We were in the parking field, the size of several football fields, waiting for everyone to show up. As Joe was smearing his face, I was engaged in a conversation that would probably make me a couple of enemies in the club. I seem to have that ability.

I had mentioned to some of the people around me that I watched La La Land the night before and that I disliked it. Well, perhaps I used the word awful a number of times and perhaps my wife was about to introduce me as her husband, Archie Bunker.  I did not enjoy the poor singing (except for the one strong singer Johnny Legend), the even worse dancing and the story. Two men who loved the movie were crushed and dismayed by my criticism and strongly disagreed. I attributed that to the fact that we rarely see musicals anymore and that people have been hungering for such and La La Land filled the bill. For some reason, the two men didn’t speak to me for the rest of the bird walk. Hmmm.

Then Joe called us to attention. “Folks, there are a lot of mosquitoes in this area. I suggest you use mosquito repellent. They are out there in force.”

Mosquitoes! My sworn enemies! Even as I write this my face is itchy from a half dozen bites; my neck has even more such bites. My wife and I didn’t even think that in this early spring those monsters would be out, flying about, looking for a meal. And I am one of their favorite meals.

I kid you not. If I decide to take the garbage to the curb, I will return inside with a few new bites that swell and set me off a-scratching. My wife has no trouble with mosquito bites. The only upside to this is that my wife has to take out the garbage.

I wanted to find out why some people are the buffet of choice for mosquitoes and why some people are not.

I did a little research on the topic a few years ago. It seems that all humans have various kinds of bacteria on our skin – maybe a hundred different types. But some of us have a kind of bacteria that drives mosquitoes crazy with the munchies. As I stood next to my wife, I never saw one mosquito land on her. I was swamped with the buggers. It seems that I have the buffet bacteria and she doesn’t. Life is so unfair! But then again, there is the taking out of the garbage to balance things out.

We were in the dunes by the ocean, looking for beautiful birds (and we found many) but the flying mosquito monsters were buzzing around even more than the birds. I had a hoodie and I had it zipped to my chin but still my face and neck were there for a feeding. And those monsters were feasting. Every time I smacked my forehead I’d kill a couple, bloody mosquito carcasses were squashed on my fingers.

I learned a valuable lesson over the years; not all creatures that fly are wonderful and beautiful. Some are disgusting. Thus, the mosquito.

[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]