Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Column: A most natural hallucinogen, the bee sting

  • Bee stings have led to some wild and crazy nights.
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  • For one bizarre, unforgettable couple of hours, I was just like Jason Patric.
    Right about now, there's a more than decent chance you're wondering, who's Jason Patric? And who could blame you? I haven't seen him on the big or small screen for years, at least not in any film or TV show that was made in the past decade or so.
    Patric is an actor, and when the film "The Lost Boys" was released in 1987, he was seen as a real up-and-comer, one of those actors that was featured on those popular "hot" lists. (Even though he had to sort of play third fiddle in the teenage vampire flick to the two notorious teen heartthrob Coreys of the day, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman.)
    There's a scene in "The Lost Boys," shortly after the girl half-vampire, played by Jamie Gertz, nibbles on the neck of "Michael," played by Patric. He starts to feel and behave a little like a half-vampire, too, and one night is awoken from his slumber not by a hound from hell snarling and barking at his feet or a bat squeaking outside his bedroom window, but by his ceiling.
    Michael's hovering, you see, and he doesn't wake up and realize it until his face is squished into his bedroom ceiling. He freaks out, naturally, and flails his arms at his curtains and his lamp to try to get back down to the floor. It's a huge struggle, but Michael's screaming wakes his brother, played by Haim, and when he rushes into the room, Michael crashes back down to the bed.
    That was me, one night, not too long after "The Lost Boys" was released.
    It had been a real scorcher of a summer day, and I was playing basketball with some friends on the court by where Eugene Field School used to call home in Sampson's Addition. We took a break to chug some water and pop we'd brought along, and that's when my friend gulped down half a squeeze-bottle full of water, pointed at my arm and calmly announced, "Bee."
    My eyes tracked to where his finger was pointing, at one of my arms, and there, right in the inside crux of my elbow – where a nurse would poke you to draw blood – was the biggest, baddest, fuzziest, yellowest-and-blackest bee I'd maybe ever seen.
    My brain instantaneously in overdrive, my fight-or-flight extinct kicked in and I decided to fight. I slapped down on that bee hard enough to kill its entire colony, and in the process I either pushed its railroad-tie sized stinger into my flesh, or else in its final, dying moment it decided to fight as well, by stinging me.
    Either way, it hurt. But, being a tough guy, I dumped some cold water on the red, raised area on my arm and commenced with more hardcore basketball in the heat.
    Page 2 of 3 - And, that night, I woke up from a deep sleep when the side of my face pressed into my bedroom ceiling.
    I'm not delusional, or at least not entirely delusional, so I know that I was hallucinating and not actually hovering. But I've never experienced something so real that I know was impossible. And it went on and on and on. I kept trying to get back down to my bed, but when that didn't work, I sort of crawled around on my ceiling in search of a way to get down.
    When I awoke the next morning back in my bed, the site of the bee sting was warm, red and swollen. I iced it down and normalcy returned.
    Until last week.
    After filling the backyard bird feeders, I noticed some yellow-jackets, wasps or whatever they were coming and going from under our shed door. In significantly foolish fashion, I moved a broom out of the way to get a better look, and the chase was on. I did a fast-motion, sort of backwards dance that became my best version of an all-out sprint, and just when I thought I was in the clear, I felt the unmistakable pierce of a bee sting in my leg.
    I rubbed an ice cube on it for a minute or so, and then went golfing in the 90-degree heat.
    That night, while sleeping, I had a dream, about what, exactly, I have no clue. But something in it made me laugh, possibly only in the dream at first, but then it became a real-life laugh, and a full-on hysterical laughter soon after. It woke my wife, who did her best to fully stir me from whatever dimension I was occupying at that particular moment, but I don't think I fully came to. I was awake enough to know, however, that I couldn't stop laughing. I had a bad case of the giggles, to the point that tears were streaming down my cheeks.
    The next day, the sting site on my leg was red, warm and swollen. I iced it down and normalcy returned. When my wife woke up, I mentioned the “crazy night” we’d experienced, with me laughing so hard and all, and she stared at me blankly.
    I’d snored yet again and she’d nudged me a couple of times to get me to roll over, my wife reported, but other than that it was an uneventful sleep for both of us.
    A couple of nights later, I covered myself in heavy clothing from head to toe, ventured into the shed and emptied a can of Raid wasp killer on that nest. My fears that they’d flee the nest on a sole mission to kill me were largely unfounded, as they all died in rapid fashion.
    Page 3 of 3 - I couldn’t help but hope, even just a tiny bit, that I’d get stung again, just once, to see if I’d experience a third wild and crazy night in bed.
    I know a lobbed a softball with that last sentence, but do your best to hold the jokes.

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