By Christina Engela
No, I am not kidding. I was however kidding that when I wrote this article, that my very first line would have to be “No, I am not kidding”. Well, maybe. LOL. And yes, I am quite sane. At least that’s what the last shrink I saw told me. Hehehe. But then, perhaps I have gone quite wonko and that is just what I wanted him to think?
Now before you dismiss me as a crank or a lunar tick, please hear me out. A few years ago, the premises I worked at was inundated by a plague of flies which came from the nursery next door. Apparently they had put a new compost heap far too close to our side of the boundary wall, not realizing the dire consequences for us – which came in the form of literally thousands of flies swarming inside and around our building for weeks, while our managers negotiated with their management to move their compost heap somewhere else. In the meantime, sales of bug spray and fly swatters in our area boomed, and the otherwise serene silence in the hallowed halls of my employer’s office building was shattered by small regular explosions, shouts and muttered swearing.
Windows and office doors were kept shut as much as possible – which made the sweltering heat of summer unbearable without any air-conditioning. Productivity dropped while personnel turned their attentions to eliminating the invaders and the health department threatened to close us down. I am sure you may know how annoying or irritating just one house fly can be – imagine having up to ten buzzing around your office at any one time, regardless of whether your windows are open or closed. Imagine a building with almost a hundred individual rooms, each with the same problem – and imagine that every time you score a lucky shot and kill one, it is replaced almost immediately! I am sure it is no small coincidence that soon after this problem went away, most of our offices had to be repainted!
During the first few days of this plague, I armed myself with a fly swatter – a sturdy wire-handled model with a weighty rubber “flapper” at the end of it. I practiced everything from wild swinging of the fly swatter (however accurately) to applying everything I knew about aerodynamics, thermonuclear devices and anti-aircraft theory in my determination to rid myself of these little winged bastards! What I noticed first and foremost – as I am sure most people engaged in “fly-hunting” will have – is that as soon as I started my swing, the target would – well, fly – and get away AGAIN. After a few hours of this, I noticed that when I was thinking destruction and mayhem – effectively “splat!” while swinging – the fly would seem to sense this somehow and get away. But, if I wasn’t thinking about it in those terms – keeping my mind blank and calm, I would nail the little bugger almost every single time! Hmm. Perhaps the fly was actually picking up my intentions?
I thought about it for a moment. Make that two. Then I decided to experiment.
First, I consciously thought “splat!” while trying to make fly shaped marks on the walls and furniture – and missed nine times out of ten. Then I tried clearing my mind while whacking at the flies – the results were far better – I succeeded eight times out of ten! I have subsequently been using this method whenever engaging a fly anywhere else – and I think I actually have something here – and no, I don’t mean any kind of psychosis or mental condition you are probably thinking of.
On the other hand, swatting annoying people doesn’t have the same effect. (No really – try it for yourself first. Then laugh at me.)
Some people have suggested that flies could detect sudden movements and this knocks their ‘fight or flight’ response into gear, but they cannot explain the physical difference (if any) in the same motions applied in swinging a fly swatter while thinking either “SPLAT!” or “_”.
I shared my theory with some of my friends. The nicer ones have called me – well, weird. But even if they laugh at me, they can’t offer a satisfactory explanation to dispel my theory. After all, I’m not asserting that a fly can actually read your thoughts – or even understand them… I am simply saying that it can pick up a feeling of impending “splat!” – and make a b – um, fly line for it.
Please excuse me a moment, I need to answer the door bell. Hey – what are those big handsome men doing at my front door? And why are they wearing those white coats? Hmm. Now, if only swatting some people was as easy. What am I thinking now?