I’ve been playing God lately.
You know, deciding who lives, who dies. When to end a life, and whether by violent or somewhat more humane means.
And I have to say that, while it’s kind of empowering to play God, there’s a lot of guilt involved. I can’t say for sure if God feels any guilt about letting me live, while my two high school and college buddies died in horrific accidents. But I sure do.
I make most of my decisions about who to kill and not to kill in the spring. Because that’s when the natural world tries to invade my personal space.
This year, for example, I’m killing off carpenter ants by the thousands. Crushing them on sight without trial or remorse. I dispatch carpenter ants to the afterlife simply on sight, and without guilt.
Spiders, on the other hand, I take great care to capture in a drinking glass, under which I slip a stiff paper or or piece of cardboard. I try not to damage their many legs. What is that, 6 or 8, I don’t know.
Then I sentence the spider to the George Relocation Program, sometimes walking them all the way across the front lawn and flinging them into what could possibly be their preferred natural habitat in the neighbor’s yard. I only say to them, “You can’t live in my house,” and “You’re going to love this.”
Wasps die, usually by covering them in what looks like the foam in my Starbucks latte cup. I get too much foam at The Buck, and it kills me, too.
Bees live. I like bees. They aren’t mean like wasps. I think bees only sting you if you’re mean to them first, threaten them in some way. Wasps are like motorcycle gangs. They’ll sting you for no F-ing reason whatsoever, or because they’re drunk after gnawing up all that dried wood off your cedar fence.
Rats die, squirrels live. I kill a rat, there’s no remorse. But raised in a family of avid hunters, I made squirrels disappear by shooting gazillions of them with a 20-gauge shotgun. They would literally vanish. I still feel terrible about that.
Flys are dirty, so they die. Or as a friend of mine put it after a particularly hard day, “I just improved my outlook by washing windows and getting rid of all the smashed fly guts that were darkening my view.” Butterflies and most other flying creatures live.
You get the picture, right? I don’t feel remorse for killing living things that intend to harm my person or my property. But I take extra care not to harm living things that do me no harm.
Maybe that’s how God does it. I don’t know.
But I can say that if B.C. conservation laws allowed, I would gladly put the hit on every last deer wandering around my neighborhood like they own it. Urban deer are pests. They’re just big rats. They wander uninvited into your yard, chew up about $500 worth of plants, drop a pile of brown marbles and fall asleep on your lawn.
Oh, but the deer are so cute. The little deerettes have big doe eyes, and cute little noses. Horsefeathers. I like to think God would have kept Walt Disney around until about age 187 just to make more happy family films. But, no, Walt, had to go glamorize a little pest and named it Bambi. And he was punished.
And don’t get me started on the proliferation of wild bunny rabbits.
It gets serious for me when the B.C. government conducts misguided wolf kills, and allows trophy hunters to kill bears. There’s no excuse for big game hunters — like Donald Drumpf’s two sons — to shoot wild African animals. In fact, I don’t see the sense in most hunting these days, because for most people, hunting is for sport, not a food necessity.
And yet, in the time it’s taken you to read this, I’ve probably taken the lives of several carpenter ants and a few wasps. Is there a difference between what I do and what hunters or the B.C. government are doing? I think so.
Sometimes I justify my killing with the Bambi principle. Wolves and bears are cute woodland creatures. Ants and wasps are ugly … and creepy. But then, how do I make peace with my desire to murder deer? It gets confusing.
All I can say for sure is that if you believe in the afterlife and that you might be reincarnated as some fish or fowl, choose carefully before entering the universe under my omnipresence.