What’s Hot in Swat
This column was due to the publisher on Election Day, so I don’t know which side of the American populace is celebrating now and which is packing suitcases to leave for more civilized shores. (I have my hopes and hunches, but they are only that as I simultaneously write this and pray fervently for our country.)
Whatever the outcome, and with such weighty matters finally behind us, this seems like as good a time as any to discuss … fly swatters.
If a national election isn’t enough proof that we live in an amazing country, try searching for fly swatters the next time you’re on Amazon.com. You’ll get 1,052 results. I kid you not. You can choose from at least 74 different brands, a myriad of types and multiple sizes of the lethal gadgets. Even better, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can have your fly swatter of choice in only two days with free shipping. Is this a great country, or what?
According to fly swatter lore, the first fly-flattening device (other than a rolled up newspaper) was invented in 1900 in Decatur, Ill. Common sense would suggest that there are as many flies in Decatur today as there were then, in spite of the fact that we can now buy plastic fly swatters, wire mesh swatters, electronic zappers, swatters shaped like a golf club or a tennis racket, telescoping fly swatters, a fly swatter with molded finger grips on the handle. You can go retro and order an Amish-made leather fly swatter, or more high tech with the Koolatron Biteshield RZ02 Electronic Racket Zapper model.
While searching Amazon, it took extreme willpower not to add to my shopping cart the Martin Paul 100-75 Flyshooter Original Bug Gun with attached lanyard for retrieving the flying disc of death. Be still my heart.
Other models that caught my eye included “The Executioner,” “CatchMaster,” “Zapper Swatter Killer,” “InsectAside” and of course, the “Bug -a-nator 2” – which I can only assume is an improvement over the original Bug-a-nator.
I saw models with the classic simplicity of the Willert Home Products Model R38 all the way to novelty of a talking fly swatter. (Why make a fly swatter that talks, you ask? Because this is America, pilgrim. Duh.) I have to wonder what the thing says, however. If you score a direct hit and smoosh the bug all over the kitchen counter, maybe it shouts, “that was for the egg-salad sandwich you ruined, bucko!” Or if you miss entirely, does it sneer, “I’ll be back”?
After spending at least 30 minutes reading user reviews of the various fly swatters, it dawned on me that – for crying out loud – those are 30 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. As if it’s important what others think of different models of fly swatters. Besides, who in the world would take the time necessary to actually write a review of a fly swatter, anyway? We live in interesting times. I refuse to look, but I have no doubt that there’s a Facebook page for fly swatter aficionados or that right now somebody is tweeting about the latest and greatest tool to splatter Musca domestica with great malice aforethought.
Speaking of which, I recently read a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal about a guy who has invented “the better fly swatter.” It’s a $30 shotgun-like device designed to blast a pinch of common table salt from a few feet away at flies, spiders and small pests of all kinds. Apparently, it has a satisfyingly lethal effect on a fly, but leaves almost no trace of the salt ammo wherever you happen to shoot it. It’s inventor calls the invention the “Bug-a-Salt.” Get it? Believe me, as soon as that bad boy becomes available on Amazon.com, it’s going in my shopping cart.
Now, wasn’t this more fun than reading yet another post-election analysis?
I’ll see you ’round town.