By Glenda Price: State columnist
I’m afraid of centipedes, the big ones. By the time one has grown to 11 or 12 inches long his color becomes grayish brown with yellow streaks. Plus those things are really hard to kill. We cut one’s head off once and laid him on the windowsill. Five days later those many legs still twitched when he was touched.
One of the ranch houses we lived in when I was a kid was built of rock. Electricity, by way of a gasoline-run power plant, was installed years after the house was built. The light switch plates were mounted on the walls, but they weren’t flush against the wall. Scorpions, centipedes and various other bugs traveled through the walls and came into the house by way of that gap between the switch plate and the wall.
I remember my mother, at night after everyone was in bed, going through the house with a flashlight searching for those “beasties.”
Yes, we were afraid of those poisonous bugs. The rattlesnakes — big diamondbacks — definitely were not afraid of us. I’ve seen them lie across the road stretched out in the sun. When we drove up in the pickup hauling feed or mineral blocks those old guys coiled up, raised up, and challenged the vehicle.
At the time we were in a drouth (as usual) so we killed those big guys and stretched them out belly-up to bring rain. I think it didn’t work.
It never occurred to us to call on the “government” to come make our home and pastures “safe.” Of course, such safekeeping arrangements would require us to turn over the ranch’s operation to government bureaucrats and let them be in charge for the sake of our “safety.” The bureaucrats would, of course, gradually take over every part of the ranching enterprise, and we would no longer be free to tend to our business ourselves.
You laugh. Yes, this is an extreme example, but have you noticed we now have government “by crisis?” When we take care of one (giving up some freedoms as we do) another pops up.
Rachel Carson in her “Silent Spring,” published in 1962, set off the first, biggest alarm. Michael Crichton in 2004 wrote, “I am old enough to remember reading this poetic persuasive text with alarm and excitement when it was first published; it was clear even then that it would change the world. With the passage of time Carson’s text appears more flawed and more overtly polemical. It is, to be blunt, about one-third right and two-thirds wrong.”
After 9/11 everybody allowed themselves to be put through stupid harassment in the name of “safety.”
For awhile we had a new “crisis” every month. Now it’s every week.
Our current president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
I sure hope he leaves ranch people out of his crisis equation. I’ll take care of my snakes and bugs myself, thank you.