“STEVE!” my wife screams in horror.
© Submitted photo
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his tweets at @TelegramSteve.