386. BEWARE: Killer Wanna Bees

Years ago we were supposed to be invaded by swarms of Africanized honey bees, known as Killer Bees. Saturday Night Live did skits on the Killer Bees. These bad mannered bees eventually did find their way into the Southwestern states where they have killed some outdoorsman types, rock climbers and landscapers, a hog here,  a dog there, and have attacked many a baseball player with aromatic hair gel. The swarm will sting a body  over 1,000 times, injecting more venom than a human body can tolerate. Victims swell up and die, unable to breathe.

And how did these stinking thugbees get loose, you ask?  Human intervention and accident. In the 1950’s Biologist Warwick E. Kerr interbred honey bees from Europe and southern Africa in an attempt to increase honey production in Brazil.(I am not making this up. I am paraphrasing Wikipedia here.) Great idea, right? What could possibly go wrong?  But, you guessed it– these hybrid bees were very defensive and swarmed aggressively. They had to be kept in containment as the research progressed. But in 1957 a visiting beekeeper not named Bill Buckner thought he’d take the lid off the bees’ hives. Twenty six swarms of Tanganyikan bees escaped through the wickets and into the wilds of Brazil. The rest of the tale is history, stupid history of man playing God and screwing up nature’s balance yet again.

Image result for attention addicts picturesI’m not writing about Killer Bees, however. I merely mentioned them to funnel you ala the old bait and switch technique into my topic–>> Wanna Bees. These are not insects but humans who buzz about.  Hungry and strangely defensive? Yes, but not for pollen or nectar. Nosirreee. They seek attention and any supplemental benefits that come from attention. Fame is the ultimate goal for Wanna Bees. This may come from performing or politics (really, what’s the difference?) or writing (doubtful, not enough face time) or the other arts. Sports has its share of wannabees, hot dogs who not only seek but create drama… because that’s where the cameras go, and bored American audiences crane their necks to see what’s gonna happen next. But the largest swarm ever released comes from the Hydra Headed, Medusa like beast known as Social Media, which inadvertently spawned and released the pathological Wanna Bees into the world about 15 years ago. This correlates roughly with the rise of the celebrity, noun, a useless but attractive Wanna Bee, see Kardashian/Jenner. Synonym, weasel-pede. Primarily American usage.

Andy Warhol was prophetic when he declared, “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” That was in 1968, Blogabillies.  Since then the world and its pool of potentially famous humans has grown substantially. Basically it’s doubled from 3.5 billion to 7 billion people. If each person gets his/her 15 minutes of fame, you and I are going to have to wait a long, long time till Zylpada Zyabrowski finishes her turn, assuming we go in alphabetical order.  I’m sure a math geek can calculate the number of hours required, and an engineer can rig up a system to broadcast each famous person, and a political delegate hunter can measure by polls how famous a person is for the allotted time… However, this 15 minutes of fame thing is really getting old. All these “famous” people aren’t all that interesting. Nonetheless we continue hoisting another Baby Bieber up the flagpole of popular appeal until everyone salutes. We step back and yawn, “Wow, that dude is famous. Could you pass me the salt?”

About the time the Killer Bees were released, a new way of parenting was being practiced– indulgence. My buddy Clark once told me that indulgence was the worst form of child abuse ever. When I prodded him for his justification, he told me this.

“You know if a kid gets beaten or sexually abused, he/she can eventually get over  it through counseling and medication, right? But the thing with indulgence is this: THE KID DOESN’T EVEN KNOW HE’S BEEN ABUSED. Instead, he’s been sold a script that he is so very precious and entitled to special treatment by everyone, all the time, everywhere. He’s screwed for life cuz he’s totally unprepared for unfiltered reality. It’s so awful.”

I could not disagree. He’s usually brilliant anyway, an anthracite diamond from Cambria County.

For myriad reasons, parents in upwardly mobile segments of America wanted more for themselves… perhaps because they worked themselves silly and were told by voices on television and radio that they deserved more of everything, all the time, everywhere. At the same time the American economy was booming at such a force that the dollar’s buying power increased, causing a unique problem known as deflation. Suddenly in the late 1950’s the dollar magically bought more. Prices dropped. All signs pointed to success, world domination, and the righteousness of the American Way.

Those parents came to adulthood during the Great Depression and World War II. They did not know what surplus meant since the excess of the Roaring Twenties fueled the near total collapse of the stock market and banking system in the U.S. over a generation previously. Here was a new opportunity to get it wrong again. Those parents might have suffered through bleak decades of war and deprivation, but their little ones would not want for anything if they could help it. Free time, sports, entertainment, convenience foods, miracle drugs, and other indulgences exploded as if to confirm that America had found Nirvana. The kids of that era were given more than any previous generation had dreamed of along with a  system that would keep the dream alive. Television became the opiate of the masses, hypnotically calling them onto the treadmills of consumerism, pulling them deep into the vortex of unending debt.

Voila!! There is the recipe for today’s indulged children no matter their age.

Today’s Wanna Bees sting with cyberwords and emojis, thousands in a minute. They Twitterpate their adversaries with 180 cc’s of deadly venom at a time. All for the sake of more honey. They don’t even know they’ve been abused, honey junkies one and all.

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188. Social Media Medusa– Don’t Look Now

Image result for facebook icon picturesI did it finally; joined up with the evil empire of Facebook. Why? One reason:  I wanted to open up traffic on my blog. That’s it. I have no interest in where you went drinking last night or how cozy you are now in your new Christmas pajamas. It’s so trifling, I think. Life lived via mosquito bites. I’m not going there. No comment from me.  Nosirreee. The other connection icons simply confuse me. What is Tumblr, Twitter and the other signs? I don’t want to learn the language of cyber graffiti… how to do it or interpret it. No thanks. I had a hard enough time with Spanish and Latin. They were required classes back in the day.

I fear that Facebook is the modern equivalent of the mythical Medusa, the snake-haired monster whose gaze turned onlookers to stone.  Medusa was so arrogant and irreverent that she compared her own beauty to that of the goddess Athena, who did not handle the mortal comparison well at all. She cursed the beautiful woman and created a situation where Medusa’s face caused instant, horrible petrified death for any mortal who beheld her disfigured appearance. Well, can Facebook turn you to stone? Perhaps. It’s not making you any more beautiful, folks, as you hang your new, used and soiled laundry out there on cyber clothes lines. See, it all starts with narcissism, staring in the mirror longer than is necessary for hygienic reasons. You start to glom on to your own sense of glamour, “Oh my, how ravishing am I?” And then the tumblrs begin to click, and there you are, posting self indulgent selfies that really aren’t that glamorous. A rumbling begins like a bad sinus infection in your face; your hair turns serpentine; your eyes become red dot laser beams. Then truly, looks can kill.Image result for medusa pictures

Don’t look now. I mean it.  Staring relentlessly at your timeline and cute attached videos helps your blood coagulate as adipose deposits link up in your butt. Each peek is like another shot of Botox in your brow, stiffening your range of facial expression. People, stuff is happening out there in real time as you sit helplessly chained to your imaginary friends. Listen: I once knew a guy who bragged that he had 600 Facebook friends. I asked how many had helped him move furniture at least once. “None,” was his answer. “Real friends help you move your stuff,” was mine. Oh well, I’m not going to change the world with another cranky rant against the fashion of the day. Nor am I offering to move your couch. Let’s keep it superficial. Don’t ask; don’t tell.

“Everyone is doing it,” said the naked and intoxicated folks in the pool. “Don’t be a prude. It’s fun and freeing and feels good.” I grabbed my wallet and tightened my belt the last time I heard similar lines. I don’t want to be a nude pirate or a swinging sugar daddy. If prude is the front end of prudent, I’m down with that. In fact, better a dry prude than a water ravaged prune with a hangover.

Here’s my problem, Blogwaddlers. ( I know, you’re thinking, ‘ Just one?’ ) I start posts with only a wisp of an idea and I go forth– no gas, no map, no where. Nothing but my cell phone and a roll of duct tape. And I write myself out to the end of a figurative diving board above a pool filled with hungry alligators. I bounce and ponder my options. 1.) I could tuck my tail, which I do not literally possess, and walk back my previous paragraphs, toning them down and making a viable way out of the mess I have created. 2.) I could continue to aimlessly bounce. 3.) Or I could dive headlong into the reptilian reservoir. 4.) Or I could reserve the right to another choice that I have not thought of yet. Well, being the intrepid courageous blogger that I am in front of my monitor, safely seated in a leather swivel chair, I choose to face the unthinking carnivores below my poetic board. Mind you, I am not for one second getting off my diving board. No Nellie. I have to solve this riddle like Perseus did when he faced his Medusa.  Let me reiterate: I am not getting in that pool.

So the clever Perseus was blessed by various gods with gifts– a sword, a helmet that made him invisible, winged sandals,  and a shiny shield. With all these weapons he could sneak up on the Medusa and shine her stony gaze back onto her via his shield. Being invisible he could get next to the ugly monster and whack her head off with that super sword. And that’s what he did. But I lack these weapons as I face a pool of toothy predators snapping at my precarious perch. Oh my, what will I do?

Well, if you watch enough animal rescue and cop shows, you know that alligators have great muscle strength when they chomp down those mighty jaws but little strength in the reverse. Also you know that they are not too clever or adaptive. So I have the upper hand. As I bounced on my dreamlike diving board, I devised a plan worthy of Perseus. I would lean over the pool and snap pictures of the gregarious gators to attract the monsters to me. As they posed and primped for their glam shot, I would loop a clever noose of duct tape around their snouts, and quickly wrap it tight as they recovered from the temporary blindness of the photo flash. Yeah! Who’s snapping now?  One by one I’d lure these left over dinosaurs into the fame zone and zap! Depotentiate each despotic dental-fanged thrasher. Only then would I walk unharmed across their bumpy backs into myth and history.

Image result for alligator pictures with duct tape

And now the moral:  well, um, the whole thing is preposterous, I know. The longer the post, the less coherent and serious it has  become. And let this be a lesson about staring too long into the face of Medusa or Facebook or alligators. Someone could get hurt.Image result for googly eyed human faces