Hold on to your sanity and composure if you dare…as you read my fearsome tale of warfare, woe, and…wasps!
My son and I had a rather unpleasant confrontation with the inhabitants of a wasp nest one day. They clearly decided that we were a threat and were trespassing on their territory. In the ensuing battle my nine-year old, bearing the brunt of the assault, received ten stings, and I received two while attempting to rescue him. The event got me wondering how the wasp may have managed to “evolve” its own stinger, had it not been created. Here are one or two little “Just So” possibilities.
THE TALE OF WILLY WASP
Willy wasp was wandering winsomely through the warm wet forest one day, minding his own business, and whistling a song with wonderful words beginning with ‘w’ which he’d heard one week while watching Bert on ‘Sesame Street’. But as he skipped and fluttered gaily along his merry way he was suddenly gobbled up by a Lizow:
“SNAP!” went the jaws of the Lizow.
A Lizow, as you probably already know dear readers, is a creature which is no longer a lizard and not yet a crow.
“Good heavens!” whimpered Willy, as he started to slide down the Lizow’s throat:
“If only I’d evolved a stinger, I could stab this beast, and he’d have to spit me out!”
So Willy resolved that very minute that he would start evolving a stinger right away. There was only one problem…
As you can imagine, little Willy’s terrible misfortune was repeated billions of times over countless millennia, because all of his descendants had no defense against the Lizow or their other enemies. That is, until a wonderful waspy miracle happened…
THE TALE OF WITCHARD WASP
Wayne wasp watched in wonder while his wife Wanda wasp wiggled and writhed, until “whoosh!”…out popped little Wichard, their first baby wasp, weak, wet and wailing. Wayne’s joy changed to astonishment when he noticed a strange appendage on little Witchard’s bottom. It was a spike – a long thin pointed object actually growing out of the babe’s bottom.
“Well! Nature be praised!” said Wayne: “He’s got a stinger! And what’s even more wildly bewildering is that it’s complete with connective tissue, nerves and blood supply!”
It wasn’t long before little Witchard had his first opportunity to test the stinger. He was on his way to Grandma Wasp’s house one day, when:
“SNAP”- little Witchard disappeared inside Lizow’s mouth!
Slithering down the Lizow’s long, dark throat, Witchard put his incredible weapon into operation, and poked at the beast’s throat with his pointed bottom. But alas! The spike alone wasn’t enough to put the Lizow off his snack:
“Caw!” said the Lizow to himself, “This one’s a bit tickly in my throat! I wonder if he’s poking me with his newly evolved stinger?”
But Lizow breathed a sigh of relief and thought to himself, “It’s a good thing he didn’t evolve venom too!”
THE TALE OF WENDLE WASP AND WALTER WASP
Unperturbed by their loss, Wayne and Wanda gave birth again. As little Wendle popped out, Wayne’s joy was tinged with disappointment when he noticed that Wendle didn’t have a stinger. “Woe to us and all wasps, Wanda”, he whined: “Our DNA wasn’t altered to give our offspring stingers, it was just a miraculous and totally unique mutation event that gave poor little Witchard his stinger”.
Wendle was gobbled up by the Lizow while on his first flight to the dentist.
Heartbroken, Wayne and Wanda wasp decided to doggedly-I mean waspedly-continue their family, and Wanda was soon reproducing again.
THE TALE OF WALTER WASP…
As Wanda was giving birth, Wayne could see that another of those unique mutation events had occurred, for there, on little Walter’s face, like a huge, lonely-mountain shaped nose, was a stinger! However,Wayne’s joy quickly turned to panic when the brevity of the situation hit him. “Oh no Wanda!” He cried, “Little Walter’s eyesight will be blocked by the stinger! He won’t be able to see where he’s going!”
Sure enough, it was not long before Walter wandered unwittingly into the very glade where the Lizow just happened to be looking for his lunch. As the Lizow loomed leeringly towards our unwary waspling, Walter did see a large shadow moving rapidly in his direction, so fearing the worst, Walter prepared himself for battle. But there was a problem: not only could little Walter barely see what was going on, but his stinger was not connected to his nervous system-it was not operational. The Lizow, with his raven-sharp eyes, spied the unsavory looking appendage on little Walter’s face, and decided to just take his body and let the head fall to the ground. “SNAP…bonk”.
BACK IN WASPVILLE…
The Mayor of Waspville was animated and passionate.
“This must not go on!” he shouted to the crowd of wasps who had gathered at the annual meeting of Waspville’s citizens, buzzing with anger.
“Wallace, Wilson, Waylon, Willoughby, Wes and Juan were all eaten up yesterday by the dreaded Lizow! Our numbers are decimated! If we don’t act now Waspville will be wiped out completely!”
So that very day, the fearful but determined citizens of Waspville channeled their anger into action. Squatting in circles, they began chanting and praying that Mother Nature would give them stingers. “Not only do we need stingers with venom…on our bottoms and not on our faces…” they entreated, “…but we need loud, stripey uniforms to warn Lizow not to eat us in the first place!”
One million years later, Wayne yawned in boredom and looked around at the circle of wasps around him, all praising Mother Nature for finally causing some of their babes to be born with stingers, fully operational and loaded with venom, with bright scarey looking suits also.
Now, Wayne had always been a bit of a rebel who liked to speak his mind and stir up trouble, and today was no exception. So loudly enough for everyone else to hear, he turned to his mother next to him and said,
“Mom, if wasps need stingers and stripey suits to survive, how did we manage to survive for millions of years without them?”
Copyright August 11th, 2012 by Nick Fisher
This is an edited version of something I first published exactly four years ago. I offer it here in tandem with a recent, more serious post, “The Positive Negatives of Creation and Design” https://nickyfisher.com/2016/05/19/the-positive-negatives-of-creation-and-design/