Bees are bad to the bone

Bees are bad
They make me so sad
Please leave me alone
Because bees are bad to the bone

Hm. I must have been twelve, secondary school was new, everything was new, admiring autumn leaves falling from an age-old oak tree in a playground so far away from home. Home, where i’d been dwelling for all those years, where i’d been happy unhappy, unhappy happy. I remember this English teacher asking us to write an essay about something that had really struck us during the summer holidays. An essay… or a poem. (Did this guy think we were girls? A poem, for God’s sake! Our bare knees started itching when we even heard the word.)

Myself, sat there, overwhelmed, thinking about that bee. That rotten bee that had viciously stung me while i was hiding on my belly in the August grass, paradise, hiding from my friend Mario behind some hibiscus shrubs. Or some other species... when you’re twelve this kind of wisdom can rust on your behind. Anyway, a shrub which was, upon closer inspection, full of bees. Now if there’s anything a twelve-year-old hasn’t quite mastered yet, it’s the mental state which brings along ‘closer inspection’. So: STING! Ouch. No: OUCH.

But, let’s look on the bright side: without that bee, the above ravishing, almost Nobel Prize winning, poem wouldn’t exist. Savour the delicate rhythm, the subtle Emily Dickinson feel! The alliteration! The multiple messages hidden between those four, at first sight, simple lines, bursting open like… orchids…! The title, btw, was ‘Sting’. And yes, the glorious years of ‘The Police’ had yet to come, by then.

And now, June 8th, 2019, i’m sat at my breakfast table, rifling through the morning papers, and, what do i read? You simply cannot imagine this. Bees actually are bad to the bone. And this makes me so sad. In what kind of world do we live, dear reader, when the last, very last, of the incontestable, irrefutable truths is being… contested? We all thought bees were beautiful, honest, sincere, darlings one could count upon, a necessary building block in our eco-system, and oh so cute when admired from afar, their buzzing - nectar to our ears. Well, nothing is less true: these sneaky sugar suckers had a second agenda all along.

And that secret second agenda was: to exterminate the human race. Yes, you read that correctly: to root us out like weeds! Okay – maybe they’re right to do so... maybe we are weeds – but hey, this is food for another article, let’s stick to this theme for now. This theme being - they are the bad ones.

Why? I hear you ask. Well, it’s this: honey isn’t any better than sugar. And i don’t mean you can’t keep on calling your sweetheart ‘honey’. Or ‘sugarbee’, ‘honeypot’ or whatever. No: i mean it literally: honey isn’t any better than sugar.

Honey is 80 percent sugar, and, on the glycaemic index, says this scientist popping up in my paper, it varies from 55 to a quite detrimental 80. In real white sugar this is about 65. And, says the scientist “one is inclined to eat more honey than white sugar”. “And what about  the ‘bio-active’ material in honey?” the interviewer asks. Well... “They’re so low that health advantages are almost zero point zero.”

This summer we’ll all be sat in our gardens, looking at these buzzing bastards with a completely different eye.

This is so sad. I can’t but think about this beautiful poem (1978) by the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade:

Mal du Siècle

As if the world of sorrow
between heaven and earth wasn’t enough
(especially on earth)
the agriculturist appears, discovers
the sorrows virus in the tangerines.

Prepare yourself for tomorrow's breaking news:

Strawberries are carcinogenic.
Goldfish are dangerous.
Swimming leads to early dementia.
More than 80% of the people called John are bastards.
Breathing isn’t always such a good idea.

(Just before this published i opened up the 10th of June morning papers, and what does my eye fall upon? A new headline: Are coffee beans carcinogenic? I kid you not.)

Modern times...

(Painting above ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by the hyper-realist Mike Dargas.)

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