Apologies in Advance

beesOutside my office at the public hospital is a small gardening area that was used by resident patients when the building was a long-term care facility. It occasionally experiences infestations of bees and/or yellowjackets, to which I am quick to respond because I have two anaphylactic colleagues to whom one sting could be fatal.

To respond to the last infestation, the guy from pest control sprayed their nest with poison and also hung this trap. He said “They smell the bait and go in to look for it. They never get out because they’re stupid”.

Seeing the resultant slaughter, I couldn’t help but think:

What bees these mortals fool.

Editor’s note: The RBC would like to apologize to everyone in the world for this pun. It was disgusting and bad and thoroughly disobedient, and please don’t bother to phone up because we know it was very tasteless, but he didn’t really mean it and anyway, all bloggers come from broken homes and have very unhappy personal lives, especially Andy Sabl. Anyway, they’re all really nice people underneath, and very warm in the traditional elite academic way. And please don’t write in either because the RBC is going through an unhappy phase at the moment, what with its father dying, and the mortgage, and its partner site Washington Monthly going out with men.

Second editor’s note: The RBC would like to deny the last apology. It is very happy at home, and Washington Monthly is bound to go through this phase, so from all of us here, good night, sleep well, and have an absolutely super day tomorrow, kiss kiss.

h/t to M. Python.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

9 thoughts on “Apologies in Advance”

  1. We are fortunate to live just around the corner from Vespa Labs — the people who make the anti-venon that saves people with severe wasp allergies. It is fortunate because on both cases where we have had an infestation of Yellow Jackets, we simply phoned “Benny the Bee Man” who comes out in his Tyvex suit and with his ShopVac he retrieves as many live bees as possible from the nest. Then he rigs up a harness to hold the vacuum hose close enough to the entrance that any bees venturing out or returning end up with their sisters in the ShopVac. Eventually the ShopVac is retrieved, the Yellow Jackets are frozen for dissection to retrieve their stinger assembly and retrieve the venom which eventually becomes the anti-venon product.

    1. Thanx, Don, for that excellent example of how human ingenuity can make lemonade out of lemons.

      But I gotta wonder … those yellow jackets are pretty small, and their little stingers are very small. Do they have some children's sweat shop in Thailand where the kids get a break from picking crabmeat while they do those millions of tiny dissections?

  2. Ogden Nash, admiring the preparations of hunters:
    "This grown-up man, with pluck and luck
    Is hoping to outwit a duck."

    1. A Møøse once bit my sister… No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink"…

  3. The Chinese government has just banned puns, because they lead to ‘cultural and linguistic chaos’. Good luck with that. Apparently Chinese is particularly welcoming to puns, because of the mulyiple meanings generated by tonal changes in similar phonemes.

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