“So this is how Katniss felt,” I thought to myself as I ran screaming from the porch. Needles were being jammed into my flesh all over my body, and there was nothing I could do to fight it, so I fled. “This is how she felt when she ran away from those Tracker Jackers.”
If you have read the best-selling novels by Suzanne Collins (or seen the movies based on the books), then you will surely already know what Tracker Jackers are (or, at least have an idea). For those of you that don’t I give you this, from the Hunger Games Wiki:
Tracker jackers are genetically engineered wasps, conceived and created in the Capitol. They are genetically coded to attack anyone or anything that disturbs their nest.
That definition leaves something to be desired: Tracker Jackers don’t just attack, they
swarm, and they chase…until their target is dead. Which, of course, is why I felt like I understood Katniss just a little better on Sunday.
I had angered the wrong hornet’s nest.
You see, I’ve been going to my mom’s house a lot lately, to help her get the pool cleaned and ready for everyone to come over and swim at her house. Sunday was no different, as Mom had purchased a new grill (her old one doesn’t work anymore) and needed me to put it together and to work on the swimming pool some more.
So, my wife, Patricia, and I got the children into the truck and drove to Mom’s house. Patricia left a short while later to take the children to a Vacation Bible School at a local church and to get ready to go to the gym. When she got back, she dropped our youngest daughter off to me and caught a ride with her best friend, who was going to work out with her.
Christine (our youngest daughter) played with my mom’s smallest dog, Sadie, while I put the grill together. Once it was together, we moved the grill to the back porch and Christine and I prepared to leave.
However, as fate would have it, I wanted to double check something on the pool filter system before I left, so I went down onto the ground, and took care of what I needed too. As I circled back around to pool to get Chris and put her in the truck, Mom said: “Hey Josh, could you get this blanket off the ground for me? I think Rosie threw her blanket off the porch.”
Rosie is mom’s 10-year-old Bassett hound.
Not thinking anything of it, I mounted the pool porch (mom has two back porches) and walked to look at what mom’s outstretched hand pointed to. I leaned over the railing, and just as I leaned over to grab the blanket, I heard mom say, “are those hornets?”
“What?” I thought, straightening up. As I turned to look behind me, I saw the first shiny black body go through my field of vision. I kept turning, toward the gate that leads to the ground.
“I don’t know, Mom,” I said. “But I’m not staying here–AARGH!” I screamed out as the first firey lance pierced the flesh on the back of my left arm. Breaking into a sprint, I felt the jabs of hornet stingers all over my body, as I sprinted away from the porch.
“So this is how it feels to run from the tracker jackers” was the only coherent thought I had that I can actually remember.
Sometimes, my brain has an odd sense of humor and/or timing.
By the time it was all said and done, I had been stung a total of fourteen times, and I could hardly move. Immediately taking stock of my body, I checked to make sure I was still able to breathe and see.
I could breathe with little difficulty, but my vision was another story–my eyes wouldn’t focus properly, and the world around me was nothing but one giant blur.
Mom called Patricia, who immediately came to pick me up. Mom clearly felt horrible, but in every storm cloud, there is a silver lining.
It didn’t have to be me that got stung. My joints wouldn’t be so sore right now if I hadn’t.
But they didn’t kill me. My mom was the only other adult there, and she had my two-year-old by the hand, and immediately took Christine inside when she saw the attack begin. If Chris had been on that porch with me, I shudder to think what might have
happened. We don’t know if she’s allergic, but she’s a young girl. If fourteen hornet stings have made me feel the way I do right now (sore muscles, a pounding headache, and stiff joints), they probably would have killed my daughter.
Then, of course, there’s Mom. She had been out, cutting the grass that day. Hornets are notorious for going after noises and vibrations, but they didn’t this time. Thankfully, they attacked me before Mom could get stung, even one time, which is a real blessing.
You see, my mom is deathly allergic to bee-stings. If those hornets would have swarmed on her while she cut the grass on Sunday, she likely would have been dead long before anyone knew it. Sure, she has an Epi-Pen auto-injector, but it was inside, not with her on the lawn-mower. Besides, I severely doubt that her dosage is strong enough to handle fourteen stings from hornets, anyway.
So, sure, I could be incredibly bummed out that I was stung, and that my body now feels like a stiff pile of male bovine excrement, but I can’t. My mom was there to keep my daughter safe, and neither of them were hurt.
My wife came and picked us up and drove us home (wouldn’t have been smart of me to drive with double vision), and I’ve slept for most of the last two days, but I’m fine. My kids are safe, and I’ll live, even after having been attacked by a swarm of hornets. I’m back at my desk and working once more, so that’s a great thing too.
Now, somebody pass the Benedryl.