The Mosquito. If there ever was tangible
evidence of an evil force operating in the
universe, I’m inclined to say that the
mosquito is evidence of it. Let’s take a
look at the facts:
Mosquitos 1.) suck blood 2.) transmit
disease that harm or kill millions annually 3.)
come out at night 4.) are drawn to black
5.) make you itchy. Could there be a more
formidable winged menace?
The oldest political trick in the
book is to unite a people by creating
a common enemy. All sorts of insidious leaders
have done this throughout history, and it still
happens all the time. It seems that there is
something uniquely compelling about having a
tangible physical enemy that you can demonize and
upon whom you can inflict
violence that resonates with a very primordial
aspect of human nature, and this destructive
tendency within us has lead us to kill millions
of our own kind throughout history.
My challenge to the political geniuses of the
world is to use that oldest of tricks to create
peace by uniting humanity against our common foe,
the mosquito. They fit all the classical
requirements to be the best menace ever. And a
permanent peace could be secured because we could
probably never beat them.
That being said, its awefully unsatisfying to kill
a mosquito, especially after its already bitten
you. Its the ultimate lose-lose situation. You’ve
already lost that drop of blood, and will get an
itchy bump. The mosquito did not get that blood,
and also lost its life.
The only potential gain was for that next creature
that might have been bitten by the offending bug.
Even killing a mosquito that has not yet bitten you
is unsatisfying. You did prevent that particular
guy from getting you, but its not like you taught
all the other ones a lesson. In fact, you probably
weeded out a particularly stupid mosquito, thereby
facilitating the natural selection process that makes
for generations of smarter mosquitos to bite you
The equivalent of the military-industrial complex
in the war on mosquitos are the companies that make
anti-mosquito products. For a time, I thought that
the makers of Jungle Formula were my heroes. I picked
up several bottles of the stuff in London at 7.4 pounds
a bottle (about $15) for about 50 ml. Now, my head bows
low to the makers of Odomos, a non-DEET based mosquito
repelling cream that comes in Rs. 5 (10 cents) tubes
the size of travel toothpaste. Works longer than DEET
based stuff, and smells better too.
It actually makes a lot of sense to just ignore mosquitos
and be non-violent toward them. I still have some practical
difficulty in achieving that. Can those of you who have
achieved mosquito-ahimsa share your story? In fairness,
those of you with novel strategies for annihilating
mosquitos-kind should chime in as well. Hopefully I can
be persuaded one way another in the formulation
of my final policy on the bug.
The stuff failed me last night. Got a string of bites on
my neck. Tonight its all about Jungle Formula.