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Trail

"If you think you are too small to be effective, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.”

— Betty Reese

Phew, the heat wave is over for now, and we get to actually enjoy the summer. I’ll admit that “enjoying” can be difficult for a man like me. I'm not against summer, but being Irish brings its own unique challenges when it comes to sunny skies.

On St. Patrick’s Day everyone wants to be in the green, but come tanning season, shamrocks get ditched for shades and the gold gets traded in for Coppertone. There’s a reason Dracula has the weakness of dying if the sunlight hits him, because the man who created him, Bram Stroker, you guessed it, was Irish. So, he was probably pulling from his life’s frustration instead of just fiction.

Now I’m not saying that the people from the Emerald Isle don’t get any color, it’s just that it takes a while for us to really see results. If we try really hard then it typically shows up around November, but not until after we have been burned several times over. You’ll know if one of us has bravely stepped out into the sun because our arms and backs are a patchwork of tan lines each one redder than the last. And forget sunscreen; SPF to an Irishman is like offering water wings to one of the passengers of the Titanic. It seems like a good idea but it’s ultimately useless.

With the humidity at an all time low I decided to not let the rays get in my way and ventured out on a nature trail. Personally, I consider myself a moderately handsome guy, but it wasn’t until I stepped foot into the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge that I realized how attractive I must truly be. Unfortunately, that attraction only involved mosquitoes that apparently have me confused with a Brad of the Pitt variety instead of Molloy.

What started out as a few slaps against my neck and arms soon turned into a scene where it must have looked like I was having a spastic fit or trying to develop my own dance moves as I waved around wildly trying to free myself from those flying hypodermic needles. To add insult to injury, before I started my walk, I applied bug spray, but I must have looked like too tasty of a treat, because with every step a new squadron of those blood sucking pests flew in for a taste.

By the time my little hike was over I looked like a pin cushion that had sprung a leak. There were so many little welts that a blind palm reader could have told me my fortune by just running her fingers along the braille on my arms.

But I'm determined to enjoy the season. I might start carrying a radio with me on hikes, because I figure if people hear the music they won't be scared by the guy flailing around like a madman on the nature trail. Instead, they'll just think I'm dancing — badly.

Recent columns by Brad Molloy

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Auburn native Bradley Molloy’s column appears here each Sunday. He can be reached at lovonian@hotmail.com

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