You Know You're a Redneck When . . .
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I woke up this morning with some nasty red spots clustered in an unlikely place.  I recognized their provenance immediately.

A careful scrutiny of the bedsheets located the culprit ? a flea.  We've had a lot of thunderstorms lately, terrifying for the family dog.  My tender-hearted wife has allowed him to sleep in the bed with us.

As the ancient saying goes: You lie down with dogs, you get fleas. Toby is supposed to have had some preventative treatment from our vet, but I guess it wasn't 100 percent fleaproof.

I poked the flea with a finger.  He did that amazing thing they do:  a huge (relative to his size) and perfectly instantaneous jump, just disappearing from sight.  I easily located him again, though.

Off to the bathroom for a bar of soap.  Wet soap under faucet.  Return to bedroom.  Locate flea.  Zap! ? and there he is stuck in the soap.  Back to bathroom faucet, bye-bye flea.

Over breakfast I reflected, not without satisfaction at my own modest advance in life, that knowing the soap trick for dealing with fleas is a sure sign of humble origins.

These teeny creatures, who I suppose have been companions to Homo sap. for untold millenia, have left a teeny trail through Western high culture:  at least one good poem,  one episode in a play by Goethe, and one fine song Mussorgsky composed using Goethe's text.

(Here's the song in its Russian original if you like.  I personally like it very much.  The Russian for "flea" is blo-KHA ? hard "l" trending towards an English "w," the "o" close to a short English "a.")

Amateur pest control, inverse snobbery, and slavonic phonology:  only on


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