Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2004 / 27 Elul, 5764
How not to kill a skeeter
Offering further proof that some of our gene pools are in desperate need of chlorine, a Japanese man set his parents' house on fire while trying to kill a mosquito.
A condensed version of the story that originally ran in the Mainichi Daily News is, I'm sorry to say, disappointingly stingy with details and, if anything, raises more questions than it answers.
Tatsuo Onishi, 22, was, for some reason, taking a nap in his car, which was parked outside his parents' home. His slumber was interrupted by a buzzing mosquito, which he tried to kill with a few short bursts from an AK-47 kept under the front seat for just such emergencies.
Actually, Mr. Onishi did no such thing, although things would have almost certainly turned out better, at least from his parents' perspective if not the mosquitoes', if he had.
What Mr. Onishi really did was get out of his car and begin emptying what I'm estimating to be 864 cans of bug spray into the air around his parents' house. At this point, I'm trying to imagine what Mr. Onishi might have been thinking. Was he thinking: Yes, the mosquito is still technically inside my car, but perhaps if I spray outside my car, the mosquito will voluntarily fly out of the window and commit the insect equivalent of hara-kiri in the killing vapors and my car won't reek of Black Flag for the next 30 days.
Or was he thinking: The mosquito has already escaped from my car through an open window but has honorably decided to linger in the vicinity of my parents' house so I can kill it with 864 cans of bug spray and it can atone for the disgrace of interrupting my nap.
Either way, Mr. Onishi clearly believed that he had triumphed over the offending mosquito and so, to celebrate, he flicked his lighter to fire up a cigarette. Unfortunately and who could possibly know this, especially if you had just arisen from a nap? the vapors released from 864 cans of Raid had formed a volatile cloud which became a fireball when ignited by the spark.
Luckily for Mr. Onishi, he suffered only minor burns to his face and neck. Not so luckily for his parents, their house was reduced to ashes.
Proving once again that it is possible to find something positive in even the most tragic of stories, firefighters predicted that the mosquito "probably" perished in the inferno, assuming it wasn't still in Mr. Onishi's car, laughing the mosquito equivalent of its butt off.
I believe there are several possible morals to this story. One: If a mosquito flies into your car while you are sleeping, a few well-aimed bursts from a Russian-made assault weapon can be a surprisingly effective solution.
Two: Do not burn down your parents' house with 864 cans of Raid unless you are comfortable with them sleeping in your car with you.
Three: There are plenty more mosquitoes where that one came from.
Four: Going through a boxcar-full of Black Flag every week can get expensive.
Five: Smoking can be hazardous to your health.
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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.
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