STEVE BARTLETT: Vacations can be a pain in the butt

Steve Bartlett
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“STEVE!” my wife screams in horror.

The German yellowjacket

She had caught me talking to Steve Kent.

Just joking. There was an actual factual Code Red.

We were vacationing and on a trail to an awesome swimming hole in Port Blandford. My son had just stepped on a wasp’s nest with his sandalled foot, which was caught under an exposed root and covered with pissed-off pests.

The wasps are stinging. He is screaming. I crack open a beer and watch.

That’s a joke, too. Sorry. I make fun because the scene was terrifying and heartbreaking. Revisiting it here reveals my vulnerability and we all know journalists shouldn’t do that.

My boy, who turns five in October, was in distress.

So was I.

How many wasps are there?

Is he hurt?

What if he has an allergic reaction?

What if the swarm turns on my two-year-old daughter, who is in my arms and now crying?

Stress level red-lining. Panic mode peaking.

I hand daughter to wife, free son’s foot and move him to his mother’s side.

To do so, I straddle the nest and some wasps fly up my shorts.

They sting me on the rear.


I freak out and yell very loudly. I repeatedly slap myself on the butt to kill the intruders.

This does nothing to relieve the stings.

In case you didn’t hear it the first time: YEEEEOOOOOWWWW!

Like a Tory cabinet minister, I really want out of there.

My body has never moved from one place to another so fast. Teleportation is real and not just the stuff of “Star Trek.”

Once beamed over to my family, we stand together and assess the damage.

Son: two stings on left foot.

Daughter: one sting on right hand, with stinger still in it.

Me: Four stings on the butt and one on right index finger.

Wife: No stings, but shaken, particularly with the stinger in distraught daughter’s hand.

When all is said and done, I’m the one left with the lingering effects of the wasp attack.

So, when people ask how my vacation went, I just say it had a bit of a sting.


Steve Bartlett is managing editor of The Telegram. Reach him via email at Follow his tweets at @TelegramSteve.

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Port Blandford

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Recent comments

  • Swarming stinging wasp tactics
    August 31, 2014 - 06:26

    WASPs are God's creatures, like the lichen on the east coast trail and need protection. TORYs need love as they are dying off rapidly and are not seen as the bees knees so much these days and we underscore their value in the political ecosystem. Some cultures in Polynesia use resistance to insect stings as a rite of passage into manhood, dancing a jungle-jig whilst wearing a big set of skidoo mitt-like gauntlets full of posion ants. Any column that has Steve Kent and Star Trek is worth reading, and sting operations have made several headlines here lately. Help preserve Tory habitat. Donate to the fund for the continued hermetical wrapping of Confederation Building and save our Tory WASPs who are a unique and interesting part of our biota we will only miss when they are gone sadly, not every Great Poli-Auk is as adaptable in the face of extinction as Paul Lane. We have the worlds healthiest honeybees but Charlene Johnson is going to fly away and we need to change things fast before we lose Nick McGrath or Darin King - put their preservation as our number poliecological priority.

  • abby
    August 30, 2014 - 11:12