This post is not about the front man of the Police nor the covert operation of the real thing.

Once I moved to the province there are certain insects I have encountered for the first in my life. I saw them on books. I knew their names and what they are capable of.

I’m accustomed to mosquitoes, roaches, flies, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders and certain bees. They are popular (or notorious) because of their prevalence.

Here, all those insects are joined by wasps, hornets, bigger bees: most of the dangerous insects one can imagine.

My rule in clearing bushes or any undisturbed plants is to use a long stick for poking to discover suspected hives. Once I observe no insects fly out in the open, I can continue in peace.

However, there are times insects do not react if the hive is not directly affected. This is the situation one is most vulnerable to get stung because you are unaware of the danger that may come your way.

The first time I got stung, I howled like a crazed dog; I swore in pain. A lone attacker got me but it felt the whole colony contributed their venom. Swelling and numbness followed.

At that instant, an old neighbor watched me with amusement, not because he was glad I was bitten but because of my lack of knowledge on how I could have minimized the pain much earlier.

He approached me after a while: on the ground I nursed my arm.

“Watch the rooster,” he pointed to the animal near the hive. It was similarly attacked. “See! It got stung, too.”

I waited for some Kung Fu wisdom to follow. I felt like ‘grasshopper’ in the David Carradine TV series.

“So?” I did not see the correlation but the rooster did not swear like I did.

“The rooster crowed.” he added, matter of fact.

“That’s it!” I was not blind. I could have said so myself.

“You do not understand?” the old man asked, probably reading my thoughts.

“You want me to crow?” I asked incredulously.

“After you get stung, never say or think the word ‘ouch.’ That’s the first condition.”

“Easy for you to say,” I murmured.

“Immediately use both hands to slap your behind real hard for several times.”

I did not believe I heard that!

“And like the rooster, I crow?”

It was the weirdest  advice I have received in recent years.

“Exactly!” he approved with a delightful clap.

I shook my head several times because I did not believe him.

Seeing my skepticism, he went to the hive and offered his hand to the insects. They obliged.

To prove his point, he enacted his own advice.

“See! No skin reactions!” He beamed with pride.

Unlike my arm which was still red and inflamed, his had only tiny red marks. Unbelievable. (I had no idea if he simply faked not feeling the pain. His face did not show it.)

From that day on, I became a convert to his strange belief. It did not fail so far because I had been stung a lot of times after that.

Thanks to the old man. And the rooster, too.



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