A Calling

Andrew - New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe it is my mission in life to destroy all mosquitoes. It’s a daunting task all southerners are instilled with at birth, yet few heed the call. I don’t know where to begin, who to consult, or how to go about doing it, but I will not be deterred. They will die.

I know the feeling, the sensation. I feel the hair on my skin brush briefly, like a prowling leopard submerged in savannah grass. My nerves go into shock – Code Red! I raise my hand up quickly, then slap my leg like it’s been cheating on me. I’m left with a swollen red leg, and if I’m lucky, a miniature corpse stuck against my thigh.

New Orleans is known for being a cultural gumbo rich in diversity. While many fight and struggle to coexists, everyone can agree on one subject – Mosquitoes. While it may seem like we invaded their humid territory, we’re the ones really under occupation. I can’t enjoy a brisk summer run without a bite on the arm, nor a soothing shower after a long, stressful day without being the victim to the bloodthirsty predator who dodges streams of shower water like arrows. I can recall many lazy, rainy Saturday afternoons spent on my porch swing, where after five minutes I’ve been bitten at least six times. It’s a crippling experience. I could feel panic set in as my arms and legs literally began to go numb, swelling around the bleeding epicenters. Mosquitoes are uncanny at nipping me at least once on each limb, before going for the more inconvenient spots – backs of shoulders, under the knees and elbows, ankles. I’ve tried the nets, the oils, and the repellants. Either my skin is immune to DEET, or they’re just too tricky. The mosquito trucks that drive by jetting pesticides like Mardi Gras doubloons seem completely ineffective. I cannot live under siege any longer. It has to end.

What’s to lose? I’m pretty sure all the people suffering from malaria and West Nile virus aren’t going to complain. Not to mention all the allergic reactions, scars, and scabs that fair-skinned southerners such as myself are susceptible to. Everybody wins. I’ve heard the scientific polemic – circle of life, food chains, ecosystems, too much human involvement in nature, but we as humans are at the top of the food chain, so shouldn’t we get to decide who stays and who goes? In a city surrounded by gross crime and political corruption, who’s going to notice?

I take no pleasure in the killing of mosquitoes. It’s a nauseating and discomforting process, but everyone, and I mean everyone, kills mosquitoes. The Dalai Llama, champion of pacifism, admitted to killing a mosquito during his trip to New Orleans. With all the struggles the city has endured recently, I for one think I am entitled to some kind of break. Because honestly, I think it’s the least I could do for myself and my city.