WARNING: if you have a phobia of insects or arachnids, close this window, the Rangers lost 12-1 and that's all you need to know.
Okay, you've been warned.
Have you ever heard of a Tarantula Hawk? Don’t look it up if you haven’-- ahh, you’ve looked it up already, haven’t you? I tried to warn you. It’s a big scary wasp that goes around getting into fights with tarantulas, creatures that the rest of nature generally avoids on account of them being gigantic hairy spider-creatures. I know there’s a difference between spiders and tarantulas (tarantulas are basically the gorillas of the arachnid world) but we’re getting off-topic. The tarantula hawk is a behemoth of a wasp; a flying helljacket the side of a hummingbird, and its two favorite activities are:
- drinking fermented fruit and getting intoxicated (seriously)
- stabbing tarantulas with its needle-backside and paralyzing them, but not killing them. At least not yet...
The tarantula awakens from a fight with a demon wasp, probably hung over, and struggles to remember what happened. There was a wasp, yes, that much is clear. There was excruciating pain, far beyond what it ever imagined possible. Then everything went black for awhile. It is still black, though he does not know why, and never will. He is inside a now sealed-up tunnel, having been dragged there by the wasp while he was paralyzed.
Had he bitten the wasp? Perhaps. It does not matter now, it is evident that he had lost the fight. But why had the wasp not eaten him? If not for sustenance, what purpose could the fight have held? Are these wasps just mean-spirited ne’er-do-wells? The tarantula already lives in a cruel world, but that world proceeds according to an order, at least. There are fights for territory, there is death that leads to food, and no one violates or questions the order of it all.
But the sting and the subsequent unexpected awakening are in the tarantula’s head now. If he was not food, what was he? A conquest for a meaningless show of power? The confusion cannot subside, as the tarantula remains in a black nothingness. He cannot move, and it is blackness all around him. Is he in hell? Is this tarantula hell? The sharp pain soon gives way to a dull ache in its abdomen. Is this the dull ache of defeat, or is it something more? This has something to do with the wasp, he knows it, but he can’t place why.
The pain grows worse and worse until soon the tarantula cannot take it any longer. Needless violence, needless pain. Curse that wasp, and curse its offspring, he thinks. But the epithet is ironic, for at that moment, from inside his own abdomen springs forth a quickly-growing BABY TARANTULA HAWK WHO HAS BEEN EATING THE TARANTULA FROM THE INSIDE, SAVING THE VITAL ORGANS FOR LAST SO AS TO KEEP THE HOST ALIVE WHILE THE LARVA FEASTS.
The violence was not random or needless, the tarantula realizes. He has been a living incubator. He is angry, but he is at peace, knowing that there is order and a purpose to his death. He closes all eight of his eyes and submits his will to the universe.
This seemed less horrifying than a traditional recounting of the Rangers' 12-1 loss to the Orioles. You can draw your own connections between the story you just read and the game if you wish, but I will not be making that effort. It was a painful-- OH WAIT
I got it.
Because that's an important part of the tarantula hawk's profile: If you, a human, are ever stung by a wasp, know that you are not being weak; it is the most painful insect sting in the world. Doctors advise that you just give up, lay down, and scream, since the pain is comparable to being struck by lightning. (no, really). But take heart: you will not be paralyzed, the wasp will not lay eggs in you, and the worst of the pain only lasts a few minutes, unlike tonight’s game, which took three hours and twenty-three minutes to play.
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