yellow jacket

Watching cable news at night, one can get angry and frustrated that so many people not only tolerate the smarmy villain who’s leading our country, but actively support him, and incredibly, still believe him when he says or writes anything.

I go into extended reveries pondering how anyone with a rational mind and even the barest appreciation for American history and government and integrity could approve of a president who obviously has no knowledge or appreciation for any of those things.

Getting wrapped up in social media, one can find it hard to resist succumbing to anger, sending out all sorts of nasty mental imprecations against anyone who could be so thick and gullible as to support this mean, boneheaded president. If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen posts like this: “Anyone who still supports Donald Trump, please unfriend me immediately.”

But then I wake up in the morning, venture forth into the world and interact all day with folks whose politics are either a mystery to me or that I heartily ignore unless they bring it up. In which case I usually will change the subject pronto, since arguing with a Trumpster is like trying to persuade a wall that it’s a door.

I’ve found that changing the subject to the hazards of yellowjacket wasps while lawn-mowing is a guaranteed way of detouring the conversation away from politics, especially with fellow southeast Ohio residents who mow their own lawns, or have in the past.

You can quickly shape-shift a Trump apologist (“Oh, I ignore those stupid tweets; Trump’s still doing a good job”) into a fellow backyard warrior with an abrupt interjection of “yeah, whatever, but what about those damned yellowjackets?”

A fierce, aggressive light will fire up the eyes of your new comrade-in-arms as he (or she) proceeds to describe in great detail being attacked by a swarm of yellowjackets rising in deadly anger from their hole in the lawn, leaving incredibly painful stings all over the body.

Yes, I’ve been there, and am as susceptible as anyone to losing track of time while weaving and embroidering my tales of yellowjacket horror.

Deploying the yellowjacket gambit is similar to the time-honored tactic of dropping a sports reference to sidetrack a developing political argument. “Hey, how bout those Browns?” Or, “Man, did you see the Tribe’s Carlos Santana belt three RBIs against the Yankees?” (You can see where my sympathies lie.)

Yet, when shifting the conversation to sports, you do run the risk of sparking another fire, provoking your conversational antagonist into declaring, “The Browns? So overrated. I hate their stupid quarterback!”

Of course, if things begin deteriorating into a sports ruckus, that’s the time to fall back on the always handy yellowjacket ploy. I have yet to hear anyone come to the defense of yellowjacket wasps, and the only risk of slight disagreement involves what mode of destruction to use on the offending underground nest.

You’d be surprised at how passionate your southeast Ohio neighbor becomes when describing his favored method of dispatching yellowjackets in the yard. My go-to tactic has been pouring gasoline down the hole once the evening cools off and the wasps are sitting around doing whatever wasps do at night (watching TV? Playing video games? Copping a buzz? [sorry]).

However, some people swear by an escalation of my gasoline trick. They actually light the gas on fire. However, this method is purely for the edification and entertainment of the perpetrator, as unlighted gasoline has the same deadly effect, not only ensuring that this particular community of wasps will no longer threaten your health and life, but that none will return to that nest. 

A safer and more environmentally friendly process for eliminating the threat of a yellowjacket nest in your yard is simply to don a suit of armor, stick a garden hose down the hole, sprint clankily to the outdoor faucet, and turn it on full blast.

With regard to the whole idea of changing the subject from politics, some people might question why anyone would want to do anything but aggressively challenge Trump supporters. Why do so much to avoid crashing the whole weight and ferocity of your righteous political opinions onto the heads of folks who are so damned wrong?

My response is simple. I avoid nasty, fruitless arguments with fellow human beings for the same reason I avoid getting stung by wasps in my backyard. Call me a coward but avoiding pain when there’s no potential gain seems like a smart way to live your life.

The only difference is that at least when I’m risking life and limb mowing the lawn, I’m accomplishing something – cutting the grass.

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