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About Felice Prager
"My husband tells our friends that the reason we didn't move back to New Jersey after I saw my first Arizona scorpion is because I was afraid to open the suitcases. I had convinced myself that several generations of scorpions had checked in but had not checked out of the Samsonite. The truth is, I was afraid to get down from the couch. When my husband followed the sound of my screams, he threw a book on top of the scorpion and smashed it back to wherever scorpions go when they die. Then he made fun of me as he compared my size to the flattened arachnid."
That paragraph is from "How to Kill a Scorpion" which is my recent submission to the annual Robert Benchley Award for Humor. I didn't win. I was a semi-finalist. I think not winning had something to do with a rumor that was going around that said I was going to bring sample live scorpions with me to the annual Robert Benchley Society formal banquet - for demonstration purposes. In actuality, it wasn't a rumor. I really WAS going to bring live scorpions with me if I won - in jars with tiny holes in the top, of course - scorpions don't like leashes - so citified people who don't have an opportunity to travel to the Sonoran Desert where they might see real live scorpions could see them up close and personal. I had no intention of demonstrating how to kill them. I don't squish bugs. I just stand on the couch and scream "SCORPION!" and wait to be rescued.
I used to be one of those citified people until I moved to Arizona over twenty years ago. I was tricked into moving to the desert, however. We had found roaches in our high-rise apartment in New Jersey - thousands of roaches - thousands of pregnant roaches. All of our neighbors also had roaches. Short of putting an enormous plastic bag over the 32-story building and bombing it with an insecticide that was both environmentally correct AND one the roaches hadn't built up an immunity toward, we couldn't fight it. My husband then suggested moving to the desert. He was so enthusiastic! "Bugs can't survive the Arizona heat!" he assured me. And I believed him.
What I didn't realize was that not only can bugs survive the Arizona heat, but they grow to Grand Canyon-sized proportions, too.