The Sting of Defeat

paperwaspI was stung by a paper wasp last week, and I did nothing to deserve it. They’ve taken up resistance somewhere beneath the siding of the house near the front window. I was minding my own business checking out the progress of some herbs I planted when suddenly one of those evil little creatures decided to sting me. What? Was I a little to close to the rosemary for you? Did I touch the Holy Basil in the wrong way?

That wasp sting hurt so badly that it prompted a spontaneous dance of pain and a short sprint up the sidewalk. I still bare the scars of the assault, but my husband just keeps saying, “I was stung by a yellow jacket once and it really wasn’t that bad.”

Because I was tired of hearing that I decided to look up the yellow jacket and the paper wasp on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Yes, there is a man who went around the world getting stung by insects so he could rate the pain of the sting on a scale from one to four. You can hear all about him on this episode of Radiolab. I’m grateful for his suffering because without him I would be unable to prove to my husband that I have suffered more than him.

According to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, a yellow jacket sting is a lowly two on the pain scale. A two is just one step away from a one which, when you think about it, might as well be a zero. A paper wasp, on the other hand, is a three which is one step from being a four which might as well be like being stung a million bullet ants.

When I told my husband that he protested. “But it was a European yellow jacket,” he said.

“Yep, still a two,” I said.

Looks like I won that one. The taste of victory is sweet even when I have a red, blister-covered sting on my side.

Photo by touterse

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