Ponder the Common “Musca Domestica Linnaeus”



“Ponder, for a few moments, the humble housefly.

Well, first of all, “Musca domestica Linnaeus,” the common house fly, maddeningly common, is anything but humble. Unbidden and with no introduction at all, it will enter your home, light on your person, fly up your nose, or into your ear.

I was preaching last Sunday when, yea, verily, in my pulpit, a fly tried to light in my eye. It could have been worse. The act of preaching requires an open mouth, and the creature could have easily flown kamikaze-style right down my gullet. I’ve heard of such, even with a Scripture reference: “He was a stranger, and I took him in.”

I despise flies. The little pests “originated on the steppes of central Asia” (Wikipedia), but are now found—no surprise—pretty much everywhere that’s not frozen year-round.

Hard to imagine what a fly “knows,” but the little winged pests in my locale are quite aware that cold weather will soon spell their demise. Open a door for two seconds, and you’ll invite in four flies. Prop open a door—say, a church door—for any reason for very long and, I promise you, someone will be fighting flies all week. And these flies, at this time of year, are especially “sticky,” “clingy,” and as annoying as, say, two 2016 un-presidential presidential candidates.

I refuse to live with them. The moment I hear the infernal buzzing of even one of the little, uh, blighters, in my home or office, I’ll stop almost anything I’m doing and go on the hunt because I know there will be no peace until one of us is dead.

By the way, this is free: Flies “take off” backwards. If you’re aiming at one, aim a few fly-lengths behind him. (It pays to know the ways of your enemy.)

I’ve never known anyone to look at a close-up photo of one of these little beasts and feel warm and fuzzy. They’re disgusting creatures with filthy habits. They richly deserve to be swatted, squashed, spray-poisoned, systematically eliminated, and yet . . .

Why God created them, I’ll never know. But that said, how many decades of decades, if ever, would it take a gaggle of scientists and nanotech engineers to build anything even close to a fully functional and realistically annoying robotic fly? (Imagine what the NSA or CIA could do with a fleet of such. On second thought . . .)

We can go to the moon (well, in the past we could; now we’re reduced to hitching rides into space with the Russians). But building a functional fly-sized fly would be way more elusive than a modern moon-shot.

All of God’s creatures are amazing. Even the bacteria hitching rides on the feet and backsides of a flying fly. (I still wonder why we call flies flies and don’t call roaches “crawls.”)

As we ponder God’s creation, even the incredibly annoying common house fly should make us feel suitably small and lead to some much-needed humility.

But swat away! God’s got plenty of the amazing, disgusting little pests. It would be a blessing if they were much less common.


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Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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