Andy Brownfield, Bug Killer

I killed a spider today with astringent. I didn’t know you could kill spiders with astringent until today. But there it was, chilling in my bathroom while I was taking a piss. My first instinct was to douse it with some kind of liquid, and barring the source of liquid currently in my hands, the only other thing within reach was a bottle of astringent sitting on the bathroom sink.—-

You could argue that the spider wasn’t hurting anyone and why didn’t I leave it be, but no, sir, I tell you it was only a matter of hours, maybe even minutes, before the freakish arachnid found its way onto my unsuspecting neck and bit into the soft flesh to lay its egg sack from whence hundreds of little spider offspring would consume me from the inside out. Nay, I say: If the beast is invading my house, my personal space, without prior invitation or warning, its hairy, eight-legged life is forfeit.

Apparently our president feels the same way.

During a recent interview with CNBC at the White House, a fly intruded on Obama’s conversation with correspondent John Harwood. The president gave the fly ample warning, telling it to “Get out of here,” but when it didn’t, our flyswatter in chief, on national TV, smacked the beast. “That was pretty impressive, wasn’t it?” he said. “I got the sucker.”

Impressive as it may have been, it sure pissed off the folks over at PETA. MSNBC reported that the group was sending Obama a “Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher,” a bizarre contraption that looks like a pooper-scooper, but in miniature scale. PETA’s Web site describes the thing as having a 9-inch handle (so you don’t actually have to get close to the bug) and trap-door action, so you can capture the sucker and then release it outside, where it’s free to pursue its buggy business.

MSNBC reported that Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman for PETA, said that “swatting a fly on national TV indicates he’s not perfect, and we’re happy to say we wish he hadn’t.” Now of course the president isn’t perfect; just look at how he flopped on issues like gay rights once he got into office. But there are plenty of worse things to get pissed about than the president swatting a fly on national TV. Like his counterrevolutionary adherence to brand loyalty in his choice of cigarettes and smartphones.

Now, I support most of PETA’s agenda. I no longer dropkick puppies and I attend a vegan cooking workshop on Tuesdays. But I draw the line at giving insects the right to vote. Sure, insects may make a tasty treat encased in hard candy on a lollipop for sale at the gift shop in the Museum Center, but distinguished entomologists from Iowa estimate the ratio of insects to humans at 200 to 1. If we don’t do something soon, we may soon find ourselves bowing down to our new insect overlords.

I’m all for the ethical treatment of animals, and if we could tap into the insect demographic, that might just be the push the newspaper industry needs to stay above water. But until they learn to read and hold down the minimum wage jobs required to afford a subscription to The Cincinnati Enquirer, I will continue to stock my house with Raid. And now maybe astringent.

Image: President Obama protecting America from its fourth-biggest threat (behind North Korea, Iran and aliens)

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