Archived Story

Flyswatter no substitute for a flytrap

Published 11:17am Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club meeting:

“If you don’t pay me more money, you’re going to have to find someone else to do this job.”

“You don’t do your job.”

“That’s true, but you’ll never find anyone who will do the job cheaper than I don’t do it.”

I’ve learned

1. Everyone but me has a coupon.

2. I see more paper adults than paperboys.

3. All drivers think they have the right-of-way.

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: if you’re living the dream, you might be asleep.

Venus flytrap

Whenever I got a new ballpoint pen for school, the first thing I did was to take the pen apart. I’m not sure why I did that. I knew how the pen worked. I put it back together and practiced my bad penmanship.

Occasionally, I took a break from dismantling pens to study. Or at least to pretend to study. I held a schoolbook so it appeared that I was studying. What I was doing was reading a comic book that laid flat upon my lap. My attention was drawn to an ad in the comic book that read, “Discover the hidden secrets of nature’s most exotic and mysterious house plant! The Venus Fly Trap. See how it lures, traps, eats and digests insects up to 20 times it’s (yes, it said “it’s” instead of “its,” but that’s an easy mistake to make and it was in a comic book) size. Learn how you can actually train it with a pencil to perform only for you. Feed it raw hamburger from your hand. Experiment with it at home or school.”

It was only $1 plus 30 cents for postage and handling. That was only $1.30 more than I had, but they had made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I’d always wanted a Venus flytrap. School was ending or I’d have set the plant upon that mystery meat that we had for lunch. We had a farm covered in animal exhaust and an abundance of flies. My Venus flytrap would need to go on a diet after eating so many flying insects. I’d decided to make a concerted effort to scrape up $1.30. I was so sure that could be done that I’d come up with a name for the plant — Vinnie.

My father had gone to a creamery meeting. I wish he’d have sent one of the dairy cows as his proxy. At the meeting, they discussed the price of milk, the need for a new milk truck, and the possibility of switching their group health insurance to another carrier. To ensure a crowd, the creamery offered a meal and door prizes. Everyone received a gift. It was a flyswatter with the creamery’s name boldly printed upon it. My father brought the flyswatter home and presented it to me with suitable fanfare. It was a big step for a male in the Batt family to get his own flyswatter — a step towards manhood.

Ordinarily, I would have been thrilled to have my very own flyswatter, but I’d wanted a Venus flytrap. It made no sense to have two things that killed flies. The plant would have diminished my appreciation of the gift of a flyswatter.


Mardell Robinson of New Richland told me that her cell phone was ringing. She dug frantically in her purse trying to find the contraption, only to discover that the phone was in her pocket.

Nature notes

“What can I do to make the suction cups on my window feeder stick to glass?” Placing the suction cups in boiling water for two or three minutes might restore elasticity. Wash the window. Grit interferes with the seal. Suction cups adhere best to warm windows. Wait until the sun hits the window or use a hair drier to warm the glass before attaching a feeder. Don’t use water on the cups in an effort to affix the feeder to the window. Rub a little vegetable oil on them. Push the suction cups firmly against the window and force out any air bubbles in the cups.

Meeting adjourned

“Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.”

— Alexander Pope

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