GARY SMITH: Salt gun a "fly" gadget

Insect assassin among spousal-assigned duties

Posted: August 24, 2018 at 1 a.m.

I think anyone who knows me knows if there is one thing definitely true, it's that when it comes to my marriage, I have very much outkicked my coverage.

The Lovely Mrs. Smith and I have been married for more than 30 years, so there's quite a bit of hang time on that kick. But if there's one thing that span has taught me, it's that there's really not much I can contribute to the day-to-day operation of our house and/or life that can't be done better, with less mess and probably with less effort by my decidedly better half.

There is, however, one exception: It is my responsibility to kill and dispose of (in that order) the bugs.

Yes, I know. Women calling upon their male significant others to kill insects and dispose of the remains is an incredible ccliché. But you know why things are clichés? Because they're true.

Before you start believing for an instant her reluctance to end an insect and to, instead, dispatch me to do the dispatching is some indication of shrinking violet status, let me share a bit of family lore. My wife has run her own business for years while having four children, without medication. For the childbearing or the business. The last child was born exactly four days before she attended a work-related meeting.

So, the bug-killing? More a division of labor, where the person who has actually been in labor gets to make the division.

And the actual dispatching doesn't exactly follow a cliché-inspired path. There's a lot less standing on furniture, hysterically screaming for me to get rid of the big bad bug and a lot more of an icy directive. Think Vito Corleone in a dark library while holding a cat.

"There's a bug in here and it needs to sleep with the fishes."

Now, just because it's my job doesn't mean I'm particularly good at it. Which means there's much slamming and thrashing around with maximum impact on floors, walls and thin air with very little body count, insect-wise.

In fact, the key to all of this may be accomplishing one of two things: either killing the bug or chasing it out of sight while assuring the Lovely Mrs. Smith that it's dead and its reappearance is actually that of one of its relatives. I'm not sure she buys it.

All of which leads me, periodically, to wonder: From an actual cost-benefit, is the secret to my marriage the fact that my wife lacks better extermination options?

There is, of course, one exception. Thanks to a Father's Day gift from one of the children, I've found a way to up my bug-killing game and my overall value with little or no effort.

In fact, that gift may have led to perhaps the most purely Southern thing I've done all year. The Lovely Mrs. Smith and I were sitting outside, enjoying breakfast one morning recently when she mentioned a fly had landed dangerously close to the cantaloupe.

That's when I reached down, pulled out my trusty Fly Salt Gun and, without really looking (but being careful to point both the gun and the ensuing salt blast away from my wife and the cantaloupe), took care of the situation.

Sort of like Clint Eastwood, except, not really at all.

For the uninitiated, the Fly Salt Gun is the latest iteration of attempts to make insect-killing into a fun family activity. Think battery-powered fly tennis rackets and bug zappers in general.

The "gun" blows a burst of air through a chamber of salt that becomes, in effect, bird shot. For very tiny birds. It's pretty effective and, unlike actual bird shot (at least in the hands of certain vice presidents and other folks a little quick on the trigger), not particularly harmful to the general population.

Aim well, pull the trigger and all that's left is a tiny streak of white powder that we're going to say is all salt. Because, well ... yuck.

Apparently there are options, but my particular Fly Salt Gun comes in a nice camo scheme. Because you need to hide your weapon from small flying insects that only live 24 hours and can't see color.

The beauty of this, other than the fact that , well, really cool camo, is that the Fly Salt Gun has tremendously improved my overall fly dispatching efficiency (and yes, I'm willing to shoulder the psychic load from painlessly killing flies).

Which means that, at least in the eyes of spouse, I may only have had one job. But it looks like I can do it.

Commentary on 08/24/2018