I was pulling on my jeans when I felt a tiny movement between the denim and my skin and then a burning stab in my right thigh.
I jerked my jeans down to my ankles and found one of those humongous black ants chomping into my upper leg. At least, I think it was a bite. I don't know my entomology enough to remember if ants bite, sting, have poisonous fangs or carry harpoons. I'm betting on the harpoon, the way my leg felt.
It was HUGE, too – the ant, that is. In fact, I use “ant” here as a euphemism for “hairless black mouse with an extremely hourglass figure.” Of course, I girly shrieked – maybe girly SAILOR shrieked – and whapped at the giant beast hunched over my flesh. I smacked his shiny thorax with a thwack and then watched a rosy circle form around the bite.
I didn’t have ice or anything medicinal in my backpack except a squashed bottle of evaporated Visine. So I did what any wilderness survivalist would do: I stepped on three black ants that were pointing and laughing at me.
When I got home, my thigh was hot and swollen around the bite, so I fished around in my medicine drawer for something to save my leg from amputation.
I started with hydrogen peroxide followed by Bactine. I found a crusted bottle of Calamine lotion and dabbed a gloppy pink blob on the bite.
I also found an unopened bottle of Ibuprofen to ease the swelling. After pressing on the “press here” perforation that wouldn’t perforate, I tore off the top of the box. I yanked the miniscule bottle from the cardboard scaffolding filling the oversize box and contemplated the childproof cap.
An hour later, after wielding a screwdriver, a hacksaw and an electric cake beater, I finally had the cap off. I couldn't grab the packed cotton wadding inside with one finger, and two fingers wouldn’t fit into the bottle, so I found some needle-nose pliers, my temples pounding from frustration.
After pulling out a yard-long string of cotton balls, my pliers hit a tiny square of folded paper. I unfolded it to find an eight-page instruction sheet printed in 14 languages. The disclaimer cautioned me about a few possible trivial side effects including massive stroke, kidney failure, incontinence, tremors, blindness, epilepsy, uncontrollable flatulence, inflamed armpits and hair loss.
The leaflet also warned, “Do not operate heavy machinery,” so I refrained from using the faucet to fill a water glass. A refrigerator is probably heavy machinery also, but I risked opening the freezer and swallowed the Ibuprofen with a few quick spoonfuls of ice cream. Instantly, my forehead cramped with brain freeze.
Now I had an excruciating headache, a burning, pulsating thigh. My hair was feeling loose, my armpits were swelling and I felt a gas bubble forming.