Lions and tigers and ticks, oh my!

Say hello to my little friend.

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, is it because everyone’s afraid they’re going to get lyme disease? Probably. This summer, the tiniest of insects are public enemy number one and people are avoiding the woods in droves.

Good! There were too many people in the woods anyway, especially in those stupid droves of theirs. When I go to the woods, people are the last people I want to see. So thank you, deer ticks.

Everyone’s afraid of tick-borne lyme disease this summer, even people whose only exposure to the woods has been photographs in Sport Illustrated’s 2013 pinecone-themed swimsuit edition. (Favourite portfolio: “Strapless But Not Sapless.”)

That’s because lyme disease is this year’s Ebola scare, which was 2014’s H1N1 scare, which was 2009’s West Nile virus scare, which had a good run there from 1999 to 2007. (Get your West Nile 10th Anniversary T-shirt today!)

If you believe the hype, the woods are teeming with ticks, hanging out in little tick gangs, swinging little tick chains and snapping their little tick fingers. They make lewd tick comments as hikers stroll by: “I’d love to embed my head in you, baby!” and “Mmmm, check out the bare shin on that one! I feel myself getting engorged already!” They drop down from the trees like ninjas. Or they push you out of your drove and tackle you to the ground. Next thing you know they adhere themselves to you; they tick.

Ticks are gross, of course, and they’re terrible conversationalists too boot. It’s natural to hate them. No one wants another creature plunging itself headfirst into your body, unless it’s Scarlett Johansson. But the truth is most people wouldn’t know a tick from a tock. In addition, surveys show that 2 out of 7 Canadians have no idea what lyme disease actually is. Another 3 out of 5 Canadians believe those statistical figures that I completely made up just now.

We recently learned that our dog has lyme disease. Symptoms include sleeping a lot, climbing on furniture, smelling bad and pooping on the basement floor when we’ve left her in the house too long. In other words, business as usual. The only change is that twice a day we have to give her two big pills, which we hide in a piece of juicy chicken or a soft chunk of cheese. So the dog and lyme disease? Big fan!

Not that I’m making fun of lyme disease. It is a serious illness. I think. I’m 2 out of 7.

But to get back to the woods, people love to have something to be afraid of, especially if it’s an excuse not to go outdoors. But in fact, everything carries some risk. People have been killed using treadmill machines but you don’t see people avoiding the gym. Well, this people does, but that’s not due to a fear of death but a general fear of humiliation with an overarching sense of laziness.

If you think about it, lyme disease is just the tick of the iceberg. Here are other things you should fear in the woods:


Steep hills.

Things with teeth.

Poisonous mushrooms. Sure, you say, just don’t eat any mushrooms. But what if you trip and fall mouthfirst onto a Freddy Kruger skullcap or an amoral morel?

Tetanus. Recently we had our roof done, and our daughter stepped on a nail. It punctured her skin, which is how you get tetanus. Also Roofer’s Syndrome, which is similar to shingles. Anyway, we checked our records and her tetanus shot was up-to-date, so it turns out this isn’t a very exciting story. But, tetanus is in dirt, the woods are very dirty, and much like this story, tetanus is bad.

Bengal tiger traps. (Not available in all woods.)

Bengal tigers. (See above.)

Treadmills. Dangerous in gyms, doubly so in swamps.

Teddy bear picnics. If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise: botulism. Teddy bears put out a great spread but have no concept of refrigeration. Avoid the teddy bear creamy coleslaw and stick instead with the teddy bear bean salad. Also: never ask for a bear claw.

Seniors. They walk super slow, they weave all over the woods, and they never use their turn signal. A menace of the woods on par with the Bengal tiger.

Falling trees. The silent killers.

Arboreal extremists. They hate our lifestyle, and they hate our protein gels. And rightfully so.

Of course, chances are you’ll stay perfectly safe this summer. Them’s the odds. But if you do end up with lyme disease, remember: treats!


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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39 Responses to Lions and tigers and ticks, oh my!

  1. Letizia says:

    Those darn deer ticks (shudder). We come in from gardening and are like monkeys checking each other for ticks as we get bit every year. Hope your dog gets better soon (ours is vaccinated against Lyme as it is so common here).

  2. “Falling trees. The silent killers.” – You are in fine form today!

    I tease a friend of mine – when we take walks in the wilds of Rondeau Park, only he is covered in ticks at the end of the tromp. I call him a tick magnet.

  3. ksbeth says:

    and of course, my personal fear, big foot. though i might like to share a campfire meal with him.

  4. I actually ate in a teddy bear café once, it’s a fad in Taiwan, supposed to be cute, but it was terrifying, all those enormous glassy eyes watching you eat,
    “Roofer’s Syndrome…similar to shingles.” Fleeing into the forest from this, it gave me the wood shakes.

  5. Hipsters. They usually only go hiking as a novelty (like bowling) so they are woefully unprepared for absolutely everything they encounter out there, from moths to direct sunlight. For this reason, they are twitchy and should be given a wide berth on the trail. Don’t worry, the preceding clouds of marijuana smoke and Axe Body Spray will alert you in time to find a safe place to let them pass while they mumble down at their phones, “This place sucks. How are we gonna find the pub?” Be safe.

    Other dangerous groups here:

  6. Kimball says:

    Bigger the tree bigger the silence…..

  7. I see a lot of people leaving in a huff. They might be more protected from the ticks, though.

    Great post, Ross.

  8. jpankovitch says:

    I checked myself for ticks after a jaunt in the long grass on Franconia Notch in 2011. Two weeks later, while talking on the phone with my friend Lynne, I felt something behind my ear and pulled out a tick. I freaked and flushed it. When the left side of my face went numb, I quickly printed a pic of the tick and went to see the doc at the clinic by the Hotel Dieu. Luckily, he gave me the right antibiotic, the first I had taken in a decade. It did the trick. I have not been to Franconia since and I am hyper alert to the sneaky little buggers.

  9. pinklightsabre says:

    I like the tick gangs paragraph best, could see that. Had a nice, cartoon quality. Like you, punk!

  10. Shannon says:

    Being a city girl, this made me laugh. My husband and I just moved back to where he grew up in rural Kentucky to be near family for when our firstborn arrives. The other day I found a tick on my belly and freaked, more worried about the little nugget growing inside of me. I removed it, and had my husband check it out, since he’s a medic in the military. You can’t even tell I was bitten now, and this happened at maybe the beginning of the week. Definitely a scare, but blown up a lot more by the media.

  11. beeyourselfk says:

    Wow – pretty clueless. Only someone who has never gone through this debilitating illness or seen anyone go through it can be this oblivious, glib and trivializing. Next, you should try writing a droll little article making fun of rape or terrorism, 2 darn persnickety problems just waiting to be mocked lightheartedly.

  12. You must not be from around here (here, being Virginia). Lyme Disease is so 2016. This year, the celebrity tick of the summer is the lone star tick which spreads alpha-gal allergy which is an allergy to mammal meat which is spreading like e-coli down here and terrifying everybody (except the cows). As a vegetarian, I was getting a good laugh out of this. Until I learned it would also mean no cream in my coffee. Which is insane. So back to my indoor barricade. Thank you for making ticks funny … who knew?

  13. What the hell is lyme disease, anyway? Did the pharmaceutical companies just invent that? Because I don’t recall it being around when I was a kid. Gluten, too. Another contrivance that didn’t exist when I was young. What a bunch of soft babies we’ve all become. Looking for something to hurt us and if we can’t find a danger, we invent one. We’re like ancient Rome before it fell.

  14. Ahdad says:

    I would add hungry lions, pissed elephants and nudists to your list,

  15. rachellevanderwyst says:

    I can’t wait until you get it.

  16. Extremely funny tick rant is pooped on by reality. Acch. Another thing to be sensitive about. It’s a tough time to be satirical. You should have taken my past advice and picked on old people. The only disease we spread is inviting you to all those 70th-anniversary parties and such. “Want another date square, hun?” We are the disease of “can we leave yet?”.

  17. Pingback: Lions and tigers and ticks, oh my! — Drinking Tips for Teens – Black Collar Cult

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