It’s a wonder I survived my teenage years. From 13 to 16 they were spent in the Philippines where my Dad, a Navy commander, served the last two of his 30 years’ service before retiring. (When he retired, he took a job with Lykes Lines shipping company as operations manager, and we moved from Sangley Point to a suburb of Manila, Forbes Park. I *did* manage to lose my left eye there when trying to set off a .45 bullet I repacked. The bullet, itself, barely missed my head, but fragments from the pipe I’d put it in took the eye. But I digress.)
Like any tropical country, the Philippines is loaded with exotic fauna. This story is about a particular red, tree-dwelling ant. These ants are much larger than the generic American black ant. Maybe 6 or 7 times larger. That–in and of itself–is not surprising or alarming … but what is, is that, if you go near them, they reach for you! They’d actually stop whatever they were doing and all reach for you. It was a tad unnerving! (It’s frightening to think how quickly they’d devour you if you fell into their clutches…)
If you stood in our back yard and faced the house, off to the right was a narrow strip of property that connected our back and front yards. A chain link fence from the back corner of the house to the neighbor’s fence closed it off. It was on the top railing of that fence that I found, and declared war on, a procession of those hated red ants.
I got our metal, hand pump sprayer (the kind that has a small, metal canister affixed to the front underside), filled it with gasoline and attached a stubby candle to the front of the canister, in line with–and below–the spray nozzle.
I returned to the fence of battle, lit the candle, and proceeded to flame-throw zillions of red ants to death. It had no noticeable effect on their numbers (there must’ve been quadzillions of them!), but it was very satisfying!
The only reason I can think of why the flame wasn’t “back-sucked” into the canister, and it didn’t explode in my face was, it was God’s way of apologizing for the eye thing.
I guess I’ll have to wait to meet Him to know for sure. (But I did have some fun as a teen!)