How I Was Nearly Mauled by an Ant: A True Story February 28 2012
In the grand scheme of things and of all the creatures that could have bitten me in Africa, I recognize that an ant is probably not that big of a deal. It could have been a crocodile, a lion, or a malaria-bearing mosquito...just to name a few. However, I'm not going to let a little detail like reality get in the way of my dramatizing an account of my near death experience. Despite what my Mother has to say about the matter, I don't have that many of them so I like to make the most of the ones I do have.
And these African army ants aren't your average ants. They're pretty much the size of my iPhone and also possess huge fangs. You just Googled that, didn't you? Dammit. I hate the Internet. Fine. They're slightly larger than normal ants. Maybe about the size of a dime, but not as fat. Not sure about the fangs. That could be true.
Apparently, these army ants are capable of eating entire chickens or goats. They just swarm the animals, bite them till they bleed to death, and then consume everything but the bones. Freaky, right? I didn't even believe that was possible till one bit me. Eric told us that they're fully capable of killing humans so you see how close I was to death?
It all started when, after a week of being in Buyobo, Perry and I decide to take a trip to Sipi Falls for a day hike. Eric comes with us, ostensibly to visit Sipi Falls, but really he's there to ensure that Perry and I survive the expedition. I stupidly wear flip flops because I'm from California and that's as close to real footwear as we get. Occasionally our guide turns back to us and points menacingly at the ground. Eric explains to us that this gesture means beware of ants. The first few times I hop nimbly over the line of streaming insects. The last time I'm not so lucky and despite an elegant leap over the savage beasts, one clings to my sandal and sinks his fangs or whatever into my toe.
I never imagined that something so small could cause so much pain. Within seconds one little black ant is causing a searing pain that pierces my entire foot, rushes up my leg, and sends adrenaline shooting through my limbs. My heart is beating rapidly as blood begins to trickle steadily from my toe. I hit at the ant furiously, but the thing is latched on firmly. I grab its body and pull its biter thingeys (technical term) from out of my flesh.
Eric and the guide are up ahead, looking back at me with mild concern. Fortunately, this mzungu was able to wrestle the vicious beast to the ground with very little blood loss. Frankly, the only reason I'm still alive is because I'm so hardcore. Anyone else would definitely have cried a lot more. I'm always impressed by my ability to rise to the occasion and handle these chaotic near-death experiences with so much poise and strength. Most people just fall apart. Not me. I kill the ant, pour some water over my toe, and despite injuries sustained during the attack, I soldier on for the rest of the hike.
I only complain for 3/4 of the rest of the way as I limp stoically back to the car. When I get back to Buyobo, I prepare to wash and dress my wounds, but first I want to show them off to everyone. Unfortunately, there isn't even a mark. That's probably just because I heal so quickly. I'm like some kind of mutant. It's possible that I have titanium bones. That at least would explain why I always set off the metal detectors in airports. They're always telling me it's because of my belt, but they're probably just trying to be polite by not calling attention to my mutant status. TSA, always so considerate.
At any rate, I'm currently in the process of pitching my story to all major media outlets. So far nobody is that interested in buying the rights, but I hear this kind of rejection happens frequently to those with my superior caliber of intellect and strength. That's cool. I wrestled an ant to the ground. I don't need anyone else to tell me how badass I am. I already know.