Friday 24 August 2012

Truth In Advertising

The other day I was talking to Hurricane on the phone and he had been busy hunting flies. I guess they had picked up a fly swatter at the dollar store and shortly after I talked with him it was broken. You can’t hunt without a weapon of some kind, so I suggested a rolled up newspaper or a damp cloth. I could tell from the silence on the other end of the phone that Hurricane was more than a little dubious about those old time methods.

I remember many hours of fun at the cottage swatting flies which just didn’t get the hint that they weren’t wanted. I was a pretty good killer, but there were so many flies that I would have been hard pressed not to hit one. Those were the days when you would hang fly paper strips around the house where you thought that flies would gather. They were disgusting, and so are flies.

We had work friends many years ago that went to Minnesota to get married. We weren’t good enough friends to be invited to the wedding, but we were good enough friends to be happy for them. She was from a farm family and the wedding reception was held in the family’s farm house. They told us that for some reason they had to move the outdoor meal inside. Before they could go inside, the men used sheets to herd the flies out of the house, making many passes before the number of flies was at an acceptable density. Whenever I here the word “disgusting” that is the image that pops into my mind.

In the springtime (mainly) the flies are pretty bad in southern Ontario. There are Horse flies and Deer flies that actually take small pieces of flesh out of you when they bite, leaving little trails of blood on your sweat soaked body. I guess they are named after the type of animal that they prefer, but I am sure that if I had been anywhere near when they were being named, everyone would now be calling them “Ken” flies. I hate them with a passion and I hate the non biting ones marginally less. I remember a time when I was standing in a field with my shirt off waiting for one of these flies to land so that my sadistic friends would be able to slap them dead. Turns out that my friends were pretty much short of useless when it came to killing deer flies. Oh, they had a lot of fun slapping me till my upper body was pink, but there were too few dead flies to justify the pain.

I have in recent years mounted dead fly bodies on pins outside of my door in the hopes that the other flies would take the hint. The fly can see quite well with what is known as a compound eye that is made up of many lenses. Each lens is like a pixel, so the more lenses in the eye, the sharper the image. Even with these marvellous eyes, the flies still come into the house in spite of the dire warning outside each door. I guess it doesn’t matter how good your eyes are if you have a tiny insect brain.

Last night I tried my hand at making a fly swatter that would not only kill flies, but would be strong enough so that a five year old and a two year old would have a hard time destroying it. It turned out pretty good with a sturdy twisted wire handle, a leather swat surface and a turned wooden handle. I have hopes that Hurricane will claim many kills before the end of summer.

I had a friend many years ago that hated flies probably more than I did. Sonny found an ad in the paper for a method of killing flies that was 100% guaranteed effective or you money back. It was $3.85 and he sent away for it and waited daily for the mailman to deliver this “final solution” to the fly problem. The day it came he called me over to his place to show it to me. It was two blocks of 2 X 4 about six inches long, one of the blocks had a large “X” and the words “Place Fly Here” printed on it. The other piece had the words “Strike fly with this block” printed on it. The ad didn’t lie, if you managed to convince a fly to stay on the X and struck it with the other block, it would truly and surely be dead.

That is what we call truth in advertising.

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