When I was very young, I read a story about a young adventurer. He finds an old lamp, and as he rubs it, to make it shine, a spirit appears from the spout, in the form of smoke. This takes form, and declares that it is the Genie of the Lamp, and that it will grant the finder three wishes. This fascinated me at the time, and I often considered what three wishes I would have chosen, had I been the lucky lad. More than 50 years later, I know that Genies do not exist, and that it is an Arabian folk tale, which later became a swashbuckling story embellished by Hollywood. None the less, I still have my three wishes ready, just in case.
Wish 1 would be to have a lot of money, say £100,000,000. This would mean that my latter years would be lived free from financial concern. My wife would be able to stop working, and all our family and friends would be well looked after too. Nothing unusual in that one. A bit greedy perhaps, but I am considering inflation.
Wish 2 would have to be that poverty and famine were eradicated in The World. I know this is technically two wishes, so I would have to be careful how I phrased it. Genies are known to be cunning after all, and I wouldn’t want to lose my third wish. It is also a bit worthy, though I do feel that in that situation, you are duty bound to do at least one selfless thing.
Wish 3 would be the achievement of a lifelong, personal ambition. The eradication of most flying insects. I say most, not all, as I would have to be careful not to lose the necessary ones, like Bees, and Ladybirds. If this meant that contingency plans would have to be put into place to feed some birds, frogs, lizards, etc; then so be it. I already put out nuts, fat balls and meal worms, as well as throwing old bread onto the lawn. Others could do the same to keep the animals that they like. When requesting this wish from the Genie, it would be complex in its wording, to still only be one wish, but I would give it my best shot. I would not include crawling insects, like beetles, though many do have the capacity to fly. They tend to be easy to kill, when necessary, and rarely invade your home. Imagine, no more Malaria, no swarms of locusts, and just as importantly to me, no flies on my dinner.
I feel as if I have spent at least a third of my many Summers, trying to kill insects. I say trying, because though I have managed to kill many thousands, most have escaped me. I have armed myself with all known weaponry used in Man’s fight against the flying pests. The rolled-up newspaper, the undersides of slippers or shoes, aerosol sprays, tennis rackets, table tennis bats, even lumps of wood. If unsuccessful swatting was a sport, I would be a household name.
I have recently invested in a selection of electronic fly bats. For those of you that have never seen one of these, they resemble a squash racket. Two batteries are inserted in the handle, a button depressed, and the wire mesh becomes electrified. My strike rate with this type of weapon is not a great deal better. However, the satisfaction element is beyond compare. Once trapped in the mesh, the insect is electrocuted. It sparks, smokes, and eventually dies, recalling the electric chair scene from ‘The Green Mile’, but in miniature.
Some people do not seemed to be bothered by flies landing on their food, or their bodies. I am. These filthy disease carriers have no place in my World. Moving from London to the countryside has increased my contact with flies. In the city, they can gorge themselves on discarded rubbish, half-eaten junk food, and other deposits left by drunks, or dogs. They just couldn’t be bothered to drag their full bellies up three floors to the windows of my flat. No need, as the next pile of kebab residue was only a short crawl away. In my present house, open windows and a door to the garden seem to be considered an invitation to come in and enjoy themselves. Getting a dog didn’t really help. His alfresco toilet habits, and his uneaten dog food, are all haute cuisine to the flying legions of filth.
Wasps also appear to have no purpose, save crawling around on cakes in a Baker’s window, or trying to get into your drink, if you are foolish enough to want to drink outside, in good weather. They buzz, they pester, and worst of all, they deliver a painful sting. As for blood-sucking insects, midges, gnats, and mosquitoes, they seem to all carry a photo of me, headed ‘Most Wanted’.
I have suffered all my life from reactions to bites and stings, as I outlined in a previous post. To imagine a World free of all this, is to me, to dream of Paradise.
So there you have it. I have got my obscene amount of money. All my friends and family are happy. The Peoples of the World no longer die prematurely, or want for food, and I can have a picnic in the park without being unduly bothered. Except for the ants…