I can figure out a purpose for just about every other insect in the world. Burying beetles take care of pesky decaying matter. Mosquitoes give bats something to eat. Even fleas give baboons something to snack on while they’re grooming each other. But ticks? Totally useless in the animal kingdom, as far as I can tell.
I won’t lie—I’m a fan of global warming, and I just sent Al Gore a nice thank you card last week for all the 80 degree weather we’ve been having in New England this balmy March. But the warm weather has given those @!$$!* ticks a new lease on life, and they now seem to be out year-round. Jason made the mistake last week, one sunny day, of clearing brush without bathing in Deep Woods Off. The result? He managed to remove two ticks before they bit him. It was the third one, the one I discovered the next day, all hunkered down and enjoying himself a Jason snack, that was the problem.
I don’t remember the last time I had to remove a tick off of a human, and can’t even swear that I’ve ever had to do it. But I was ready and willing to go to battle for my hubby. Armed with peanut butter, rubbing alcohol, tweezers, and a filleting knife, I went in for the tick.
I had once heard that if you smother a tick with peanut butter, it will back out of where it has bitten you. This is a bald-faced lie. All it does is leave you with an oily tick that smells like peanuts. I wiped away the peanut butter and tried my next trick: grabbing on to the rotten little parasite and pulling.
This resulted, of course, in a partial tick still being clamped tight to Jason’s skin while its headless body squirmed in a kleenex leaking blood all over the place. It was positively revolting. I told Jason to hang tight while I made myself a sandwich with the peanut butter and thought about my next angle of attack.
I wound up going in after the tick head using a pair of pliers to pinch up the skin while I sawed away at Jason’s stomach with the knife. Honestly, I don’t know how I managed it without getting sick. Jason was absolutely no help, as he was more concerned with staunching the bleeding than comforting me in my time of need. All in all, it was a pretty lousy way to spend the afternoon, and now Jason has to keep an eye on the gaping hole in his stomach to see if he develops a bulls-eye rash.
I’ll tell you one thing, though. Neither one of us will ever go outside without tick repellant again.