In Tune With Nature: How Not to Catch a Buzz

September 15, 2008 | By | Comments (4)


You know how when you’re drinking tequila, people dare you to eat the worm? It’s a stupid thing to do, but chances are, if you’re surrounded by people who have been drinking tequila, “stupid” is no longer considered a criticism.

Well, I can do tequila drinkers one better. When you’re drinking beer, swallow the bee.

Ah, you say, how can I do that? Beer doesn’t come with bees.

Yes, but you can always add a bee. I did. Let me explain.

Ralph Anderson, Rose, Nguyen, and I had just finished the perfect photo shoot at John and Marsha Warren’s home in Cashiers, North Carolina. Fall colors were peaking. Mountain music from John’s band filled the crisp air. Friends of the Warrens had dropped by to enjoy good times, good food, and and some very good adult beverages. I, being a naturally agreeable sort, opted to join them.

Fortunately, I was prepared. Ralph and I had purchased some excellent microbrews earlier in the day and were cooling them in the mountain creek that runs past John’s house. I popped one open, then left it on a rock for a few moments while I assisted Ralph with something. Not wanting to miss the party, I went back, grabbed the beer, walked into the Warrens’ house, took a deep, long swig, and discovered…

…..there was a big yellow jacket in my beer.

Or, to be more precise, there had been. Now it was in my mouth.

Turns out yellow jackets don’t much like being in people’s mouths. Makes ’em kinda ornery and spiteful. I discovered this when out of deep compassion for every living thing, I spat out the bee, and the savage little creep stung me anyway. Right on my lower lip.

My lip starts inflating like a tire at Pep Boys. Marsha somehow feels responsible (and she should — after all, it was her bee), so she immediately gets some ice to put on it. Great — now I’m sitting in the middle of a party with an ice-cold tire growing on my face.

I basked in group sympathy for 10 minutes or so, which ordinarily would have given me a swollen head, but that train had already left the station. Then I told everybody good-bye. My wife was expecting me at home that night, so if I hoped to get there before midnight, I had to leave now.

About an hour later, my cell phone rings in the car. Marsha is calling. I can hear lots of laughter in the background. Obviously, people are still having a good time. Marsha asks me where I am.

“I’m just now crossing the Georgia state line,” I tell her. “My lower lip crossed two minutes earlier.”


  1. Allison

    I love Karma! LOL!

    September 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm
  2. Grumpy

    If the object is to have a vine that never attracts bees, you should plant a non-blooming one, such as creeping fig or Boston ivy. The problem is, most ornamental vines that you can buy are popular precisely because they have showy flowers. This shouldn’t cause a big problems with bees, however. Most vines, including the coral honeysuckle, bloom only for a short time or sporadically, so bees aren’t around all that long. And as I said before, the bees aren’t interested in people and shouldn’t cause any problems. I realize that some people deathly scared of bees and no argument I could make will change their minds. If they just can’t get past the idea of bees around the arbor for a week or two, plant creeping fig (Ficus pumila). Grumpy

    September 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm
  3. Judith Tye

    I think it was about bees that I consulted you…as in what vine, suitable for an arbor at a kind-of cafe (the Gospel Cafe in Waco, as a matter of fact) would NOT attract bees. We seem to have decided on Coral Honeysuckle, based on the fact that I have one and haven’t seen bees around it. Of course, in Texas it’s much too hot to be fiddling around outside looking for bees…for about four months out of the year, anyway. Still….

    September 27, 2008 at 8:00 pm
  4. Wade Kwon

    Steve, you’re killing me. The only true remedy for a situation like this is more beer.

    September 15, 2008 at 2:24 pm

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