In Dispraise of Gnats

LINDA L.S.SCHULTE

September 07, 1991|By LINDA L.S. SCHULTE

Laurel -- Have you ever stopped to think about how dumb gnats are?

No?

Well consider this. Gnats usually appear right in front of your face when you are in a big open field. Now he's got the entire field to play in, but he insists on flying directly in front of your face. Gnats are so small that if they flew anywhere EXCEPT your face, chances of actually smashing him with your two hands would be slim. In fact, you'd probably not even know that the gnat existed.

An acre of land and he has to fly right on front of your eyes. How dumb can you be?

Even John Sununu isn't THAT dumb.

They might as well wear a sign that says that ''Here I am. Kill me.''

Truth is, I try and leave bugs alone. It's the leftover non-violent Sixties in me. But when one invades my space, it's almost a reflex action that turns my hands into lethal weapons.

Consider the housefly. At least the fly is risking life and wing trying to get to food -- usually yours, but food nevertheless.

Gnats don't even fly around their source of sustenance. They fly right in your face -- they are obviously drawn by the aroma of hair spray, mousse, aftershave or mouthwash.

Not only is the gnat dumb. He has questionable taste as well. Also, gnats have this uncanny ability to make US look dumb. We're in the middle of a sentence and this teeny thing flies across our face and we start saving in the air, we smack at our food, hit ourselves -- to what end?

You'd think that a hundred-pound person could obliterate a wispy, almost invisible insect, but no . . .

How many people ever actually kill a gnat?

We all pretend to, because we're embarrassed to admit that we missed. So we mime wiping our hands off to remove the alleged bug body.

All things considered, I'd prefer a wasp to a gnat any day. There's more honor among bees.

8, Ms. Schulte says, ''Gnat's all, folks!''

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