By Lisa Earle McLeod www.forgetperfect.com
The Ant Man cometh.
And apparently he disliketh his job. Or at least the part that has anything to do with bugs.
My Ant Man encounter began at 6 a.m. as I stumbled downstairs to fuel up on coffee before a morning of phone interviews. Leading the glamorous celebrity life that I do, it was no surprise to enter the kitchen, flick on the lights and find an army of ants traipsing across my sticky, unkempt counters.
The little black buggers had assumed that a few drops (well, OK, a small puddle) of spilled pina colada mix was an open invitation to come party at my house. The scout ants had discovered the mother lode of gooey, alcohol-laced sugar on the McLeod countertop, and they’d invited every ant for miles to come join in the fun.
Now, we’re no strangers to ant infestations. Years of leaving partially licked lollipops and empty Yoo Hoo bottles strewn about have enhanced our reputation in the ant community as a great place to hang out. However, in recent years, as my children have grown and I’ve begun enforcing stringent housekeeping standards (no half-eaten food left out for more than 24 hours), we’ve become slightly less popular on the ant party circuit.
Now they’re back. Our late-night blender-bender had lured the littlest party animals back to their favorite watering hole to guzzle down the precious remains. An emergency call to my pest control company brought the Ant Man to my door in under two hours. Upon observing the ant revelry, his first reaction was, “Christ almighty, look at all these ants!” He proceeded to mutter this exact same phrase under his breath every time he came upon more ants. A crowd of ants circling the crusty cough syrup lid, slurping down the Robitussin PM: “Christ almighty. Look at all these ants!” A throng of ants bellied up to the top of the Triple Sec bottle: “Christ almighty. Look at all these ants!” Every time he saw more ants, it was the same disgusted grumbling and muttering.
After about five “Christ Almightys,” I realized the Ant Man was not praising God’s precious little creatures for keeping him employed. Rather he was cursing their very existence. He was completely appalled that they had the audacity to make merry in my kitchen. As best I could tell, the idea that ant infestations were the very foundation of his employment had never even occurred to him.
The fact that he was so overwhelmed by their sheer number made me wonder how well suited he was for his profession. I’m not denying there were probably a few thousand ants roaming my kitchen. But compared to the gingerbread house fiasco of ’98, this little ant party was practically an intimate gathering.
Thankfully, the Ant Man overcame his ant aversion long enough to stick little bait boxes under all the cupboards. The surviving ant scouts sent word back to the colony that drinking the Kool-Aid at the McLeod house gave you a hangover to die for, and the ants eventually took their festivities elsewhere. But while the ants, or at least some of them, will live to party another day, I have to wonder if the Ant Man will ever grow to appreciate them as the source of his paycheck.
I’d chastise him, but I was once the sales trainer who complained about sales reps who didn’t know how to sell. And I’m married to the former finance guy who used to grumble about the people who couldn’t manage money.
If the Ant Man and the rest of us had a better perspective, we’d thank God for the conditions that create our jobs, instead of cursing about it. Next time the Ant Man is called, perhaps he’ll have the grace to proclaim, “Christ Almighty, I love all these ants!”
Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of “Forget Perfect” and “Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear.” Contact her or join her interactive blog at www.ForgetPerfect.com. .
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