File spoon-archives/phillitcrit.archive/phillitcrit_2000/phillitcrit.0010, message 56

Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2000 19:07:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: PLC: Lack of Wasp Activity??

On Sat, 28 Oct 2000 wrote:

> Very latest (and possibly most definitive) version....
> There was a boy who had been around the old wood pile so often that he felt 
> he knew the wasps perhaps even better than his own (obstreperous, to be sure) 
> family. Wishing not to see yet once again the terribly undignified spectacle 
> of all those innocent wayfarers stung in ignorance, he picked up an old 
> shtick and dared the wasps to be their old waspy selves.
> Oddly enough (for the behavior of wasps is inscrutable, if also somewhat 
> predictable) as quickly as they had descended upon him, the wasps left.  Lo 
> and behold, he felt he had learned a good deal and perhaps saved a few people 
> some exasperation in the process. (To say nothing of the demands on the local 
> emergency medical room, in an economy with already strained resources.)
> The boy, spying the nest, shook his reed one more time and said (before 
> toddling tranquilly home), "And that's how you rob the wasps of their sting!"

There is another version in which several boys get in a scuffle over
the woodpile, and each runs home and, fearing chastisement, tells his
family he got scratched up when wasps chased him out of the

And there is still another for those who, having once been boys, don't
find moral distinctions between wasps and boys so clear. In
that one a community of wasps is
building their home in a woodpile, when all of the sudden along comes this
boy--no, several boys-- and they start poking it with a stick.   Some of
the wasps, predictably, engage them.  It turns out, however, that 
the boys' skin is quite thick, and the finer the stinger, the less
chance it is even noticed.  Eventually both the wasps and the boys 
run out of gas, with neither side spectacularly victorious. However, the
boys do feel they have been handled unjustly. After all, the woodpile
belongs to everyone.  This is the only version in which onlookers tend to
identify first with the wasps rather than the boys.

 A variation on this makes it harder to tell which are wasps and which are
boys because the entire battle is on email, so that onlookers perceptions
of "wasp" and "boy" may evolve in terms of what kind of claims they think
worth defending, and how.  (Who was the wasp and who was the boy in the
Bush/Gore debate, according to the polls?) 


PS I am not insinuating anything about REg and theeah, who haven't been
either bad wasps or innocent boys on this list.  I am just exploring the
possibilities inherent in the wasp/boy story. 

PPS just because I am not insinuating anything about Reg and Theeah
doesn't mean I am not insinuating anything.  ^__^

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