CINCINNATI -- Enveloped by darkness and semi-consciousness, the assault is first on the ears. I can only assume it is a downsized version of the terror inflicted on Londoners by the buzz of German V-1 rockets. Certainly nothing so dire is in play in my bedroom but the wing wash of a stinkbug at 3:15 am is no less unnerving.
Worse still and also mindful of the blitz, is when the mechanical hum suddenly cuts off: You know it is going down somewhere and it likely won’t be pretty.
Knowing full well that I snore and thus provide airborne intruders a gaping maw of a target for extended stretches of repose, my greatest fear is that like a buzz bomb meandering aimlessly but lethally into an old folks home, one will expend its fuel at a most inopportune moment. It plummets into my gaping mouth, lodging in the back of my throat. The gag response ensues, that first instinct being a quick inhalation. And there it goes, down the chute, dooming me to an otherworldly brand of halitosis.
Short of the bold night time aerial attack is the vermin’s ground offensive. It is not unlike an unmarked mine field. Small, slow moving blotches on the tawny carpet that weren’t there at bedtime, make for a midnight passage that must be deftly negotiated for fear of squishing one of these smelly fellows between my two of my most inaccessible toes. Extricating the inexplicable stench with anything short of a full body wash is next to impossible.
Weren’t we told that the polar vortex would rid us of these pests? How much colder could it have gotten?
These guys laugh at cold. And also at presumably tightly sealed windows and doors. And there are no babies to this species! They surface full grown, in full throat and with very adult sized defense mechanism; the smell they emit when mashed.
The only reassuring notion is that this invasion is not of my doing. It is not indicative of poor housekeeping, bad hygiene or disregard for the ozone layer. They just come with the territory.
Though knowing I am not alone in dealing with this scourge is small consolation when faced with the inevitable dilemma: employing a triple ply of Charmin to dispatch the malefactor to the insect hereafter, or with less pressure simply relocating it outdoors where it will undoubtedly reproduce a million-fold.
Typical of my reaction to interrupted slumber, I opt for full physical retribution.
The only good stinkbug is a dead stinkbug.
And, that's my 2 cents.
Dennis Janson's "My 2 cents" column is published every Monday and Wednesday on WCPO.com. His video commentary airs every Friday at 6 p.m.