If you’ve been reading “Sunny Side Up” for any time now, you’ll know that I do my best to never complain about life in Central Florida. I despise writers who waste perfectly good real-estate in our papers by stooping to mindless rants. They’re lazy writers who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a good word.
So, on an extremely positive note, I thought that I’d address deer flies. I’m not sure if I indeed am writing about deer flies because I don’t do research on the principle that most things I find out are way less reliable than what I already know.
Let me introduce you to this amazing specimen of fly. It looks exactly like a yellow-breasted canary. The only notable differences I’ve observed between the yellow-breasted canary and the deer fly are that, instead of the canary’s two adorable eyes, the deer fly has a gazillion eye-balls (all better to see you with). And in place of the canary’s lush feathers, the deer fly wears wiry little slimy hairs. And instead of a delicate beak used for pecking seed, the deer fly has a plethora of jagged teeth dripping with blood, usually your own. They’re both the same shade of yellow.
These beautiful yellow blurs around our ears are in abundance this season. Mayhaps, we’ve been blessed with a triple hatch of the little guys. Their mothers must be so proud.
And in this time of social distancing, deer flies have amazing instincts. They can break up a group that’s standing too close in the time it takes to say, “I hate reading writers who rant.” On these occasions, my wife, who has the disagreeable trait of liking people enough to talk to them at length, will turn her conversations with neighbors into a dance. I marvel at her ability to slap her thighs, spin, run, and talk at the same time. The neighbors always join in the fun.
Speaking of fun, my daughter asked me to build her a perch 10 feet up in one of our cypress trees. In doing so, I got to dance my wife’s jig with a drill in one hand, board in the other, and a ladder between my toes. Riverdance legend Michael Flatley, AKA Lord of the Dance, has nothing on me. (Side note: I’ve never seen any male glory as much in their chest hair as Lord of the Dance. He must love the way it bounces as he jigs.)
While in the tree, I observed that deer kisses mostly occur on parts of one’s body that force one to let go of ladders. There were two pecking away on my left elbow, and there was nothing I could do about it. Those cute little rabble-rousers.
All in all, these flies have what it takes to thrive in the wilds of Florida. If you can’t barb, sting, choke, bite, kick, maim, or cause an individual’s skin to burst into whelps of all colors, you probably won’t live long here.
And I’m not sure why the deer fly is associated with deer, but I’m pretty sure it’s the little hooves and horns. The fact that the deer fly often dons a red fork and cape sets them apart from what I know about deer, which of course is everything.
Ah, life in this blessed landscape. How amiss our sticky, sand-swamp land would be without this glorious winged addition of terrifying, blood-sucking, disease-spreading, big-gulp-of-protein-for-cyclists piranhas of the sky.