It’s summertime – the weather is beautiful, nature is in full bloom, and if you’re anything like me, you’re just dying to spend as much time as possible sitting on your ass, watching television and drinking beer outside, enjoying all that the wilderness has to offer! I think it pretty much goes without saying that just about any state in the country (except for Idaho, of course – nothing but cornfields there, right?) has at least a handful of little nooks and crannies leftover that are simply fantastic for all of this hiking and camping and exploring that people have been known to enjoy during these summer times, but do most people really know what they’re getting into when they step beyond the comfort of their own cozy homes???

That’s right, people – it’s actually not all lollipops and gumdrops out there in the real world! Turn on the Discovery channel sometime after about 10:00 PM – don’t even waste your time with any of that primetime, greasy kid’s stuff – and you’ll get to see just a small sample of what I’m talking about. Mind you, I’m not talking about any of that lion tamer / crocodile hunter / boll-weevil antagonist nonsense, either. Mother Nature doesn’t need the enticement of an overly-anxious Australian fellow in short shorts to show her claws every now and then! Remember that classic riverside footage where the lone crocodile grabs the unsuspecting water buffalo by the head as it grazes with its herd only moments before an untimely and horrific death?! Granted, I’m sure that one did hurt quite a bit, but that’s still nothing compared to the mass of mosquito bites I’ve still got to remind me of last weekend!

As you may know, insects can be some of the fiercest predators of the animal kingdom, so it goes without saying that intimidation is only one of the many emotions ebbing throughout my veins when I was faced with the concept of enduring several days out-of-doors, amongst these deadly beasts and their brethren. Nevertheless, although the idea is technically dangerous beyond all epic proportions and has been known to strike down lesser men without even looking back, it did give me a chance to wear that cool, floppy fishing hat that I normally reserve for bumming around the tropics, so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Little did I know that despite its obvious coolness, said floppy hat just wouldn’t be enough to protect my tender flesh from the onslaught of blood-thirsty arthropods whose one and only goal in life was to consume me whole throughout the three-day course of my “vacation.”

Many venture into the woods every single day just as I did last weekend, without so much protection as a bottle of bug spray or even an aggressive look to ward off these menacing beasts, yet they have somehow managed to walk away from their adventures unscathed and with a minimal amount of itching to boot! Myself no longer able to distinguish where one bite ends and another begins anymore, I should be so lucky – requiring thirteen different creams and ointments just to ease the swelling enough so that I can enjoy a single episode of Dog Eat Dog (starring the lovely Brooke Burns) without crying out in agony like a little girl! If you were to take a look in any standard dictionary, next to the words “Ugghhh!” you will find my name, along with a detailed and accurately dreadful drawing of my experience with these tiny minions from the bowels of hell. To paraphrase, “Scott not feel very good because buggy-buggies hurt him…”

Interested in hearing the actual story behind this bloated concoction of hype and Tylenol-induced banter?

Tune in next week as our hero actually does something to inspire all of the bitter rage and angst that was expressed in the column you’ve just read! His misery and despair will become your source of joy and entertainment, and maybe afterwards we can all go out for pie or something! He’s buying, or at least he will once the swelling goes down…