In my conversations with other members of the retro pop culture journalism community, we often talk about our childhood. To be more specific, we ONLY talk about our childhood. Often the topic strays away from the carefree subjects of toys, cartoon and vintage cereal and creeps into less happy places. What scared us and more importantly what scared the whole of these United States of America when we were young? It seems universal, that people I talk to always name one thing; commies. The communists, specifically Russia was a huge threat and it seemed like, for these folks, the possibility of nuclear war was always just around the corner.
This tells me two things about them. One: Man, they’re old! Two: they didn’t live the kind of down and dirty, street level, salt of the earth existence I did as a kid. You see, when I was a lad, the Russians were basically reduced to cheesy movie villains, the globe still labeling them “The USSR”, and this guy:
What I’m trying to say is that the fear that haunted those moments of childhood introspection for me wasn’t the Red Scare. It was the Orange and Black Scare. I’m talking about KILLER BEES.
See as a kid I used to spend a lot of my time hanging out with my cousin. He lived in the country and I lived in the suburbs so to my mind he knew EVERYTHING about nature and how the world really worked. He taught me about tree frogs and how Indians used all parts of the animal and the nobility of nature. He was like this guru who lived in the sticks. Even though he was only about a year and a half older than me, sometimes it seemed like an entire lifetime.
So you can see my alarm when one day he looked off into the distance with a troubled look on his face like a sailor watching an approaching storm and said “Claymation Werewolf…the Killer Bees are coming.”
Over the next few days I worriedly listened as he told me what we were up against. Like a man who had been there (and not at all like someone who had fabricated an entire narrative over a half-heard news story) he filled me in on the killer bee situation. Some misguided, and maybe even mad, scientists had hoped to create a bee that would produce super honey…or lots of honey…or something, I can’t really remember but I think it was honey related. They decided to cross breed African Honey Bees with, I guess regular honey bees? And what they got…was a monster!
Far from being a producer of super honey, they were only good at producing super body counts. And they were huge! Bigger than a bumblebee but not as big as a hummingbird because that would be ridiculous and the sight of them could send chills up your spine. They werent the iconic looking cereal box-worthy honey bees we were used to.
Killer bees were grotesque and disturbing to look at!
It turns out the bees had killed all the scientist and broken out of the lab. Breeding with local bee populations they began to rapidly grow in numbers. After breeding all bee descendants or “bee-scendants” took on all of the angry, blind murderous rage characteristics of the original killer bees. They wiped out livestock, pets and people; sometimes killing entire towns as they spread they only got smarter and more aggressive.
They were tracking their spread through Mexico and then the southern United States. Both of these regions, I began to assume were now totally devoid of human life as everyone had been wiped out by the evil orange and black swarm. And for all I know they were! After all if they could invade your farm, public parks and even your house what could you possibly do to defend yourself?
Plus I mean, really. They’re a giant swarm of millions of hyper violent bees. What were you going to do…beat them up?
I knew it was only a matter of time. At best we would live the couple of years we had left before killer bees overran Ohio as well. At worst, the top minds in our government would develop some kind of carnivorous, blood thirsty sparrow with razor sharp teeth in the hopes they would wipe out the bees. But of course the sparrows would immediately turn on us and wipe us out ten times faster! Like it or not, the future was clear and that future was Killer Bees.
So I suggest that all of you do what I decided to do that day. Live your life to the fullest!
Ride your bike down that scary hill that doesn’t seem safe but will feel awesome once you’ve done it!
Take your limited edition glow in the dark, holograph, lazer-etched action figure out of it’s box and play with it! That’s what it’s there for!
Make yourself a peanut butter ice cream sundae with Hershey’s syrup, REAL whipped cream and crushed peanuts! Calorie counting is for suckers!
But most of all, enjoy yourself because soon we’re all going to be stung to death by an unending swarm of the most horrible black and orange striped creation ever to be conceived of by science…and it’s going to suck!
I’ll see you next week with more words of warning for the hot months ahead until then be careful out there. And remember, Summer can’t last forever!