Day 28: April 29th 2014
A recent addition to my endless list of fears, here in East Africa, is the unidentified cause behind Andre’s recent outpatient needle operation. You see a bug, we don’t know which bug, but some bug stung our in-house German comic and laid eggs in his arm. Andre, being the kind of strong, able bodied man he was, capable of weathering anything Africa had been able to throw at him, settled right into denial. He wrapped gauze around the swelling and decided that if he didn’t look at it, it would go away. Unfortunately for him, this protuberance began to get infected which inflated his entire arm like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade blimp, admittedly on a significantly smaller scale. Little did he know he was actually pregnant, rather like a male sea horse, with nasty little insect spawn instead of cute little seahorse babies. This incidentally is the precise plot of Junior, where Arnold Schwarzenegger had been impregnated by the Fly, played by Jeff Goldblum, and had the movie been steered by the writers to the more obvious and sensible conclusion, Schwarzenegger would have been the proud parent to a clutch of winged varmint. Alas the script writers lacked real insight into the governing dynamics of Arnold Schwarzenegger being pregnant in any dimension, perhaps they should have come to East Africa for inspiration.
After mulling over it some, I figured, one couldn’t really blame the insect for picking Andre, she probably thought to herself, he looks reliable, well-fed, tall, and maybe mom’s right, it’s time I settled down and started a family. If only she hadn’t resulted in an inter-species abomination in the process, plus the man is taken, she basically coerced him to commit infidelity as well. Pretty aggressive for a female I’d say! Daniel and I have come up with a new scientific term, the Baumgarten effect, which can be defined as follows, “Humans with an innate chemical signature and physical appeal to invertebrates within the arthropod phylum that are likely to turn on any critter with a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen).” Andre Baumgarten, the man responsible for our discovery of this truly remarkable phenomenon, is happy he took one for the team, to advance field science.
Andre wanted to get his arm looked at, but the timing always seemed to be off, and his work commitments kept steering him away from his personal welfare, until he finally caved to the pain and found the time to see a doctor in Arusha. The swelling, by this time, had morphed into a monster boil, that was bulbous red with pus and was hurting him so badly that he didn’t even ask for anesthesia when the doctor probed the wound with a long sterile needle to release the pus and eggs. Apparently it was a relief to have the gunk extracted, it was also unbelievably disgusting, as can be expected of any birthing waste. I don’t think you need to be an artist to visualize the yellow critter cavier that oozed out of his inflamed arm. Had these creatures been allowed to hatch, they would have fed off their host’s healthy tissues, i.e. Andre, during their larval stage, before they matured from a thoroughly diseased arm, took wing and inflicted the same hell upon another mammal. His wound although clean now, has been regularly brimming and draining all kinds of bodily fluids that I don’t much care to expand upon. Just when I thought I’d come face to face with my worst nightmare, Joy, the girl who was doing my Mani-Pedi, informed me of the harrowing experience endured by her previous client. Turns out, the woman she had given a manicure to before me, had a weird scab on her arm, which was caused by an entirely different type of insect laying an egg in her, because she too exuded the Baumgarten effect. This particular compound eyed perpetrator’s progeny (fee fi fo fum, a bot-fly perhaps) likes to crawl beneath one’s skin, possibly just to get their knickers in a bunch! You can actually see this bug’s larvae writhe and move beneath your epidermis, how charming is that? If this terrible fate were to ever befall me, I would probably go catatonic from bearing witness to it, so feel free to euthanize me thereafter.
Now that time has passed, and Andre is still sore from having been knocked up by a bug, we have all decided to be sensitive about his affliction and make the following kind observations:
Daniel: “The republicans will not be happy about this Andre”
Me: “Fortunately he is an east-coaster, you go on and exercise your right to choose Baumgarten, don’t let DC politics prevent you from deciding when and where you’ll bear young!”
Daniel: Does it still hurt?
Andre: The hole just has something hard in it now, and it feels stiff (I laughed so hard at his response I fell off my seat)
Me: That’s what SHE SAID!!! Omg, he makes this too easy! Well Baumgarten, what can I say, the bug probably thought, “Mmmhmm I’d like to tap that!”
Daniel: It’s the Baumgarten effect, don’t tease him about it! He can’t help that’s he’s attractive to insects!
Me: How close is too close? The full story on E! later this evening, where Andre Baumgarten will give us a first hand account of being forced into parenthood by something a fraction of his size!
I must add here that an insect is called mdudu in Swahili, so it also gave rise to potty humor, a series of wise cracks about being doodoo’d upon! As it turns out, we are a bit too immature to process the great sacrifice Andre has done to aid the conservation of a species that could have been named after him, had he let his young mature. We were all quite upset over his early termination, especially because this meant we couldn’t get interesting Nat Geo photo ops of the day they flew from the comfort of Andre’s arm.
Ah, and so it seems, there are a myriad adversaries to embrace here in the Serengeti, fortunately the good has, to date, far outweighed the ugly, scary and the wish-I-were-dead. On the positive, the demonic pests, native to this ecosystem, have helped me maintain a healthy level of paranoia and hypochondriacal concerns for my body in the ever sizzling expanse of the Savanna. It has also given us a whole new genre of inside jokes to laugh about at work, over camp fires and by the swimming pool on idle Sundays.