I save my family every single day. That’s a fact. If not for me, they’d all be long gone by now. I know this and, I am pretty sure, they know it even more.
To give you an idea of how indispensable I am to my household, I present to you this text exchange I had with my twelve-year-old daughter last week. She assumed I was out, but I wasn’t. So rather than running to me screaming, I was contacted by phone. I assure you that I haven’t altered anything, including grammar, about this short exchange.
Olivia: When you get home you have to kill a moth
Me: I am home. Kill him? Maybe we can get him to go outside.
Yeah. My daughter is like a Game of Thrones villain as she orders the unceremonious execution of winged creatures entering our home. There are no discussions, trials, or juries. There is simply an all-caps verdict. KILL.
I didn’t murder him, though. Instead, I slid cardboard underneath and carefully guided our winged friend out of the house. It was my first encounter with moths this season, so I felt bad and wanted to be as benevolent as possible.
Don’t cheer me just yet though. Since then, there have been a slew of them for some reason these past few months. I slaughtered all of the rest with many getting sucked into hand vac heaven. All killed. All by Daddy.
I hate it, but I do it. That’s the deal. When you’re the dad, certain things are expected and destroying creepy crawlers, winged or otherwise, is part of the job description. In fact, that was on my resume before the kids even arrived.
Early on in my marriage, I knew this was going to be a thing in my life. Whenever she would spot a spider, beetle, or something similar, my wife would trap it underneath a cup. She would then come and get me to do away with the covered culprit. I felt like Superman…if Superman killed bugs for people.
As time went on, the novelty of my powers started to wear off and, knowing I would always be there to do away with our invading pests, she wasn’t always in a hurry to always come and get me. Because of that, there were many times where I simply walked into the living room to see a number of upside down cups on the floor. The verbal request had become a visual one and seeing the sea of bug-prisons all around the carpet told me that my work had to be done.
Oh, and this insanity evolved even further. Soon the trapped critters weren’t limited to the floor. Many times, she found one clinging against the wall, as it landed from flight. So, my wife would actually place a dixie cup over it…and then tape the dixie cup to the wall. If you think that sounds crazy, imagine seeing it. It was like combining extermination with craftworks. Martha Stewart eat your bug-eyed heart out.
When I did eventually remove the cups, there were three things that would happen. Either there would be a live bug quickly scurrying around in a panic, a dead bug laying motionless, or – and this is the worst one – nothing at all. Emptiness.
No matter which way I found this Schrodinger’s Cat puzzle, one thing was certain. When asked if I “got it”, my answer was always the same.
Yup. Got him.
Any other husband or father would do the same. Telling her the truth would have caused widespread panic. Hell hath no fury like an escaped Daddy Longlegs.
My cat, Tipsy, used to be my partner in this. When she wore a younger cat’s clothes, she was quick and nimble. The sight of a fly would send her into hunting mode and, believe it or not, she actually had a special meow to tell me.
It was how we communicated that there was an intruder in the house. If I saw a bug and made that noise to her, she’d immediately spring into action. If she saw it first, she would do the same. To this day, the proudest I ever was of that feline was the day she literally sprung to the top of our sliding glass doors and slammed a fly dead. Sounds like a tall tale? I know, but luckily I have video proof on my Instagram account to back it up. It was like a nine foot vertical leap. That cat used to be no joke.
At 15, she doesn’t do it anymore. In fact, now she lays in her prized cardboard box that her expensive cat bed came in and watches as flies will swirl around her head. She pretends not to hear me as I chastise her.
Tipsy! Are you kidding me?! Meh-heh! Meh-heh! Come on! What has become of you? For shame. For shame.
This is who I am now and while I vaguely remember being apprehensive about killing bugs when I was younger, that feels like forever ago. In my mind, I am literally 1000 times the size of these things so fear does not exist in this dojo. Running scared from a teeny venom-less creature drummed up images of those giant ogres that would scream at the sight of Fraggles. Whether tiny ants, innocuous moths, or mildly frightening cave crickets, I ain’t scared of no bugs. Growl.
And thank goodness I’m not or this family would be hiding in the attic while a parade of insects ran the house below. Sure, maybe one day I will come face to tentacle with a giant spider on steroids and my tune will change. I just have to make sure I have a big enough cup ready to go.