(March 2001) When I was ten we had a five-foot hedge bordering our yard. My father decided to cut it down to two feet, so he pulled out his heavy-duty hedge clippers and set about the job. When he was three quarters done, he hit a wasp's nest and cut it right in half! The wasps, as you can imagine, were not happy.
My father made it to the end of the driveway, yelling and running every step of the way, before he passed out. Our neighbor rushed him to the hospital, where they counted 134 separate stings. During the next four days, he stared at the hospital wall while he hatched a scheme to rid himself of those confounded wasps forever.
When he was released, he returned to the hedge and saw that that the wasps had repaired their nest. It was a hot Saturday afternoon, and the insects were away from home and about their business. He poured a small cup of gasoline on the nest, and tied a gas-soaked rag to a 10-foot pole.
He was squatting on the ground, three yards from the nest, and I was standing behind him. We were both unaware that a cloud of gas fumes had collected in the hot, still summer air. When he held a lit match to the rag, a huge fireball erupted in the yard!
I have a vivid memory of flames chasing up the corner of the garage. My father was knocked back on top of me, which saved me from the heat -- but not him! The fire burnt out immediately, and the garage and I were undamaged, but my father lost his mustache, eyebrows, eyelashes, and half his hair. Back to the hospital he went!
For months after that, anytime he was asked what happened to his hair, he would only say "G-- D--- wasps".
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