The Hell-Spawn Flies of Australia
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘this is what the Lord, the God of Hebrews, says: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields”.’
Summer’s back in Perth, Western Australia; oooooh yes!
Summer here in Perth, as far as I’m concerned, means frequenting the beach or sleeping on any number of the university’s manicured lawns during my breaks. Everyone always seems happier during the summer months, doubtlessly on account of the warm, dry climes. Even the animals are happy, and the ducks and peacocks always seem to have yet another brood of juveniles following them about. As an added bonus, everyone wears far less clothing - which is great, no matter what your gender or sexual orientation is. Mark me, however, for it’s not all good down under.
Now I don’t know if it’s just us, but we have flies here in Australia that I swear must have come straight out of the fiery pits hell. They are extremely numerous and they are also very agressive and very persistent. I suppose their distant cousins are the ones you’d see crowding the faces of the anonymous, starving Ethiopian children that are featured in any number of World Vision’s semi-graphic advertisements. Either way, our resident flies here in Australia have a well-earned notoriety.
I remember during my time in the Singaporean military, that the flies there (in Singapore) were never much a bother. They preoccupied themselves mostly with feasting on garbage, excrement and all manner of dead and decaying things. You’d see swarms of flies buzzing about rubbish bins and dead animals, but they otherwise seemed to live anonymous existences, well away from humans.
This came as quite a surprise to me, given the nature of the tropical jungles of this equatorial island nation. You see, in the jungle, everything is bigger, nastier, more poisonous, more colourful, has more legs, more eyes, and is almost always more pissed off than equivilent specimens from temperate regions. The centipedes in particular are fucking gargantuan, as are pretty much all of the invertebrates you’ll encounter. The mosquitoes are pestilent swarms that will drink you dry, and the midges are straight out of hell, with a bite that scars and itches for weeks afterward. The only exception to this rule are the flies, who just do their own thing.
Not in Australia though, oh no. You always see photos of summer days here, and the weather looks lovely (and it is). Tourism advertisements show people hiking or admiring the rugged beauty of the desolate, sand-swept wastes. What the photos and videos consistently fail to show however, are the voracious swarms of flies that pester and bother you at all times. They land on your face, ostensibly to feast on your sweat or to lay eggs on you before you’re even dead. They are fast, agile, and uncommonly difficult to kill, and they will return time and again to land on your face, even after numerous feeble swipes of the hand. You can’t sit about outside for so much as a minute without getting assaulted by swarms of these little fuckers.
Further research into this topic revealed that the flies which pester you the most are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the females. This is the same of mosquitos, where the bloodsuckers are also exclusively female. In both cases, the males usually just chill. In the case of mosquitos, the males actually drink nectar from flowering plants. The famales however, need their protein, and so they are driven to get it however they can.
It doesn’t take an etymologist to see the parallels between humanity and insect. there’s definitely a gender bias in our own species, where pests and bloodsuckers are over-represented by females. Substitute protein with money, and nectar with beer - or any other quintissential male distraction. There’s more though: Female Black Widows kill their mates after copulating, and Praying Mantids take it a step further by devouring the head during the act. Human females, in a similar fashion, court you, fuck you, divorce you, and then steal half your shit with the assistance of a clever divorce lawyer.
But I digress. Please, visit Australia, especially during the summer. The water is warm, and the weather is beautiful. But do ensure that you are properly prepared for a viscious insect onslaught. Their legendary status is well deserved.
P.S. My girlfriend proof-read this for me and promptly declared me a misogynist. She only just realised that I’m something of a crass and blunt arse-hole? I can safely say however, that I am an equal-opportunity arse-hole, and that nothing to me, is sacred. All people - all things - warrant inspection, skepticism criticism, cross-examination or praise. Most importantly, these are my opinions, and how seriously they are taken is the choice of those who willingly read them. People are always happy to bag anything, to criticise and ridicule, but most become irrationally angry and expect you to halt your observations and commentary if it violates some hidden personal space of theirs. An example of this is how Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews all denounce and make fun of Scientology, and yet they get all defensive and offended the moment you point out that their religion is built on foundations that are just as shaky, absurd and unsound, and that it is only seniority and tradition, rather than empirical facts or superior logic, that distinguishes a cult from a religion.
All said, for those of you who read these musings in good humour,
I love you even more, and I respect you - even if I have not met you. Being philosophical about life is a gift.