Jimmy and I were raised in the state of Alabama where I am convinced there are more wasps per square inch than anywhere on the planet. Somewhere along the way we picked up a phobia of wasps. The family always made fun of us about this particular phobia. But what I find intriguing is that Jimmy had the knack of being attacked by a wasp with me there while he was minding his own business and not bothering the wasp. I’ve never believed the story — “leave them alone and they will leave you alone.” No. They are all demon possessed! If there are any PETA people who think wasps are more important than people, you can stop reading now. Because in the stories below wasps are killed and I am not sad about it.

Two episodes of Jimmy being attacked come to mind in which I was forced to get involved by the end of the story. Both were while we were attending the same college class at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the early 1970s. We did not always take the same classes but sometimes we did. The first occasion was a history class with our favorite history teacher, Dr. William Lane Hull in the Humanities building on campus. I noticed a wasp flying around one of the fluorescent lights at the top of the high ceiling in the classroom. Then the wasp began to make a slow dive right toward Jimmy who was seated diagonally behind me on my left. I realized at that moment that Jimmy was wearing a bright yellow shirt that probably was brighter than the light the wasp was engaging. So the wasp probably thought Jimmy was a big old light bulb of bright yellow. Jimmy saw the wasp at the last moment and moved away from his desk slightly. The wasp then moved over into my zone. So like a defensive back covering a receiver in football, I had to take action which I did rather weakly. I swung at the wasp and hit him somewhat down into a desk a couple of rows over. Fortunately, no students were sitting there. But we couldn’t find the wasp. The class was now annoyed, but eventually he showed up hanging onto the back of a chair. I had not hit him very hard. The professor went back there and used his shoe to step on him saying “he didn’t feel a thing” and then we went on with class.

But later, and quite strangely, a similar thing happened to Jimmy. We were in a different building on campus taking a senior level math class in 1975 (both of us were math majors). It was a rather large class room. Most of the students were on the right side of the classroom next to the door. But in the large window way on the other side of the room was a big honking wasp who seemed angry and was darting around the window trying to get out. I thought nothing of it since he was so far away. The teacher was giving his lecture going through various mathematical proofs, when all of a sudden I hear behind me a “buzz, buzz, buzz” sound. Immediately, my blood pressure went up. Jimmy was sitting behind me to the left like he often did. When I turned to check out the sound, Jimmy was unbelievably oblivious to it with his focus on the professor’s lecture. But the wasp was about to land on Jimmy’s head coming in like a helicopter — and remember this is a BIG wasp! I blurted out — Jimmy! He turned toward me and when he did the wasp was right in his eyes. Of course, Jimmy was startled and immediately stood up in his desk. This, in turn, scared the wasp. So what does the wicked thing do? He backpedals over to me! I had my notebook in my hand and I hit him as hard as I could but it was in an slightly upward trajectory and a long, big classroom. The wasp stopped one inch from the wall and came back at me fast and in a straight line. Apparently, he did not like that little love pat I gave him. But I was ready and this time like a baseball batter I used my notebook to hit him downward. He hit a desk two rows over and then fell to the ground and was spinning around on his back. By that time the whole class was in on what was going on and the teacher raced back and stepped on the wasp to end the excitement. The class was annoyed. As for me, I had successfully defended my little brother.

Is there anything we can take away from these true stories? Yes. I hope wasps are not part of God’s coming kingdom.