I was sitting around somewhere recently where I had to wait. Probably a doctor’s office or the oil change place or something. This is usually the only chance I have to actually pick up a magazine and thumb through it. At this particular hurry-up-and-wait location, I picked up a back issue of Texas Monthly to read the article on fire ants. Oh, that was a mistake.
It seems that those wacky researchers at Texas A&M have discovered that there is this certain type of fly that will lay eggs in the neck of fire ants. The larvae then start to feed on the fluids of the fire ant’s body until it gets to the brain. As it devours the ant brain – and what a gourmet meal that has to be – the ant slowly becomes a zombie. The ant zombie then mindlessly wanders away from the mound forgetting that it has important work to do, like organizing commando raids on innocent gardeners.
Eventually, far from the mound it use to call home and completely devoid of brain function and bodily fluids, the ant’s head finally just falls off and the new fly emerges.
First of all, this whole thing has a gross-out rating of 38 on a scale from one to 10. I hate fire ants as much as the next guy, but fly larvae who live in ant necks and eat their brains is disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, just because it’s disgusting doesn’t mean I’m not all for it. I just think that there’s a B-horror movie script in this: “Attack of the Zombie Ants” or “Lord of the Brain-Eating Flies.” Feel free to pause here and come up with a few of your own.
Secondly, what super nerd A&M scientist happened to be tagging along behind some pregnant fly to discover she was planting larvae in ant necks? Or did he work backwards? “Hey, where did all these headless zombie ants come from?” Either way, there’s a guy out there who probably needs a make-over on several levels.
What is completely alarming, though, is that more and more I find myself wandering into a room and wondering why I’m there, sometimes feeling dehydrated … Could someone please come check my neck?!?!
(Originally published in The Source Weekly May 6, 2010)
Am I the only one that thinks this whole Elf on the Shelf thing is creepy? As I understand it, the Shelf Elf is in your house to watch you. Then it flies around the house at night while you’re sleeping. But don’t touch it, because you’ll ruin the magic. Personally, I have no interest in having a doll that looks a little too much like a cleaned up version of Chucky from all those horror movies in my house watching me and waiting for me to go to sleep so he can move around and do whatever. I’m sorry, that’s creepy.
First of all, you’re supposed to name your elf. Okay, sure. Name him Chucky! Then put a heavy duty lock on the knife drawer and remove the fire arms from the residence. I’d even sleep with one eye open just to be sure he isn’t taking samples of your hair out of a brush and collecting your fingernail clippings so he can assume your spirit in a crazy elfin voodoo ritual.
It seems like everyone I know is posting pictures of their elf on Facebook. One family woke up to find the elf in a deep embrace with Barbie! What they didn’t mention on Facebook was that the elf’s name is Vladimir, and he was actually sucking plastic blood out of Barbie’s neck! Ken was just standing by helplessly, of course. He probably didn’t want to mess up his hair or soil his golf pants.
Supposedly the elf flies off each night to report to Santa on your every action and movement. Let’s get this straight: it’s not okay for the government to monitor your internet activity, but it’s perfectly acceptable to have complete in-home surveillance by a small, creepy doll. No secrets. No privacy. No hiding from the small, creepy doll because it also has access to every corner of your house.
What’s worse, everyone seems to be okay with the small, creepy doll watching their children. If I were a little kid, I’d have nightmares wondering what was going to keep Chucky the Elf on the Shelf from coming into my room to smother me in my sleep after reporting to Santa that I copied answers for my math homework out of the back of the book.
I get it that this is intended to be cute. Rudolph is cute. Frosty is cute. This Shelf Elf, I’m sorry, is just creepy.