ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fly Wrangling

Updated on November 25, 2009

Kitty Fly Catcher

Children are rather morbid creatures when you pause to consider them…

The more grotesque and savage the object, the greater its fascination. Whether it’s a dinosaur from the Jurassic Age capable of spitting poisonous goo into your eyes before ripping out your lower intestine…or any creature that crawls, slithers, swims or flies…children naturally latch onto these freakish entities with a perverse intensity. As if the truly gruesome details associated with these creatures wasn’t horrifying enough, these cherubic little toddlers find it vastly entertaining to expound upon it using their own amazing capacity for imagination.

Which is why they’re convinced such monsters lurk beneath the bed or within the dark recesses of their closet, probably memorizing their scent from the clothes hanging there…the better to snuffle them out in the dark after you’ve left…

*whimper*

Not that I’ve ever been afflicted with such flights of fancy.*

*Author’s Note: Okay…this is a blatant lie. After seeing “Jaws” I was convinced that hanging my toes over the edge of my bed while I slept was probably not a good idea.

Dead Fly Humor

 In the light of day, things are a lot less scary and the monstrosities regain their proper proportions. They are, however, no less intriguing.

My own particular fascination was with bugs. Dinosaurs were cool…but the chances of being able to examine a Brontosaurus (my personal favorite) first hand were pretty slim. However, there were plenty of ladybugs, praying mantis, locusts, grasshoppers, worms, ants, katydids, walking sticks, butterflies, moths and daddy-long-legs to keep me busy. Usually, I could tell by the name whether or not a bug and I were going to have a painful relationship. Wassssssssssssp….Leeeeeeeeeeeech…see how they sound rather threatening? I realized the flaw in my thought process upon making the acquaintance of a rather large bumble bee. Somebody obviously thought it a grand joke to make a critter so fluffy and yellow like a baby duckling…but with no sense of humor whatsoever.

I liked to experiment with my bugs. How many butterflies does it take to fill a bedroom, what happens if you put a mess of ants in a pickle jar of sand…is a bumble bee trapped in an empty butter tub considered a musical instrument when shaken like a tambourine? Of course in order to find the answers to these burning questions, one must learn to catch the subjects.

Most were pretty easy to wrangle. Worms couldn’t exactly run away. The bugs that relied upon camouflage for protection never took into account the tireless scrutiny of a ten-year old. Fireflies, although more challenging, could be coaxed into a coke bottle while a praying mantis, with delusions of being more than a match for any interloper, could be tricked into placing a death grip on a twig only to be trotted off to the lab dangling in a rather undignified manner.

Nothing, however, required more hand to eye coordination though than the common house fly.

My older brother was quite adept at catching the loathsome little insects in one hand. His cruelty in experimenting with them knew no bounds. In a mild mood, he might just shake them up in his hand and then hurl them into space to watch them bump into things before righting themselves. In a churlish mood…he would remove their wings. I always knew when his temper was the foulest when I found little charred fly bodies adhered to the stove burners. My mother never could quite figure out what they were…but I knew.

Advanced Fly Catching Technique

Selfishly, my brother would not impart his fly-catching secrets to me. Sure, I could have taken out the fly swatter, stunned the little buggers and then hoped they regained consciousness so I could experiment…but most of the time I obviously didn’t know my own strength. Flies are interesting…smooshed bug guts not so much.

Luckily for me, my Uncle Moe came to visit with his family one weekend and took me under his wing. Just like Obi Wan Kenobi taught Luke to master the light saber, Uncle Moe patiently trained me in the ways of fly wrangling.

“Wait for it to land….wait….wait….” he softly spoke. “Now, cup your hand slightly and come around behind the fly…in its blind spot. Not to the side…not in the front…behind. Slowly, slowly….you don’t want to stir the air.”

My eyes were transfixed…my gaze traveling from the fly…to his hand…and the ever shrinking distance between the two.

“When you are about this close…you must move your hand swiftly…bring it forward, above the fly…just as he takes off.”

His hand was a blur as it shot forward. One minute the fly was there….and then it wasn’t. With a smile, Uncle Moe opened his hand and a very pissed off fly buzzed away from his palm. In childlike glee, I applauded him and then set off to practice catching flies.

I’m pretty good at it….even though I’m somewhat rusty.

Which brings us to the point of this entire tale…

“You aren’t doing it right,” my husband chided me. “You have to come from the top because the fly will take off and flies can only go straight up.”

I wasn’t quite sure where he obtained such faulty intelligence regarding the capture of house flies, but I decided to make a competition of it to prove that my method was far superior.

“Tell ya what,” I replied, “we’ll see who catches it first. If it lands on me…then I get to make the attempt. If it lands on you…then it’s your turn.”

So there we sat in our office chairs, two forty-something year old adults, waiting for a house fly to land on us. In my mind, I could hear Uncle Moe’s instructions…”Wait for it to land…wait…wait…for it.” I almost cheered when it settled down upon my bare thigh.

“Ooh…there it is!” Donnie exclaimed…his fingers itching to make an attempt despite the rules that had been agreed upon.

I snuck my hand behind the fly…closer…closer...

Without hesitation, I quickly scooped my hand forward, aiming slightly above the fly, making an educated guess regarding his trajectory.

“Did you get him?” Donnie said with only mild disbelief.

It was hard to tell…

I didn’t see a fly anywhere…and I was pretty sure that I felt something in my loosely balled fist. Could be a fly….could be my imagination.

“Yep!” I bluffed with a proud expression on my face.

With great pomp and circumstance, I triumphantly marched my closed fist to the back door, opened it and flung my hand out while opening it at the same time. To my amazement and relief…one rather pissed off fly was released back into the wild.

There are just some childhood skills that still come in handy.

Obama employs the hand-above-fly method

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      8 years ago from St. Louis

      Ah, the fine art of fly catching. I am something of an expert. My Zen master didn't call me "Flycatcher" for nothing. I found that in N.Y., I could pluck a fly from mid-air with one hand, but when I traveled home to Missouri, could not pull this off. Simply put, the flies in N.Y. were slower. I guess because of the traffic exhaust. Who knows.

      Thanks for the memories!

    • Naomi R. Cox profile image

      Naomi R. Cox 

      8 years ago from Elberton, Georgia

      This is a great hub, spryte. It made me laugh thinking about pissed off flies. But I was never quite fast enough to catch one. Thanks for sharing your hub. I look forward to reading more.

    • spryte profile imageAUTHOR

      spryte 

      8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Misty: I will definitely have to check out your fly corpse hub...and perhaps forward it on to my brother. :) LOL!

      Nemingha: Where's the fun (and challenge) in that??? :)

    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 

      8 years ago

      I think I shall stick to using fly spray!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Wow, you certainly came back with a bang spryte me old mate. Great hub that had me giggling all the way through it, (btw, have you read my hub on how to get rid of flies from your home without leaving corpses everywhere? I reckon you might appreciate it ;))

      Lovely to see you writing again:)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)