Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts

Monday, February 10, 2014

An Early Childhood Memory

My earliest memory is this:  I am three years old and playing in the front yard of our old house on a spring day.  I spy a bee crawling lazily in the damp, warm grass. 
Early portrait of a dangerous feminist

"Don't step on the bee," my mother warns.  "It will sting you."  

I consider my mother's warning for a moment.  Up to this point, I really haven't even thought about stepping on the bee, but now that I've been warned not to, I can hardly resist.  I don't know yet what it feels like to be stung, and my curiosity outweighs my fear.  I raise one fat, pink, bare foot over the bee and press down tentatively.  

The bee stings me and I burst into tears.  

My mother scoops me up, deposits me inside in my high chair, and removes the stinger with a pair of tweezers.  "It was a bad bee," I wail.  "Don't worry," my mother says grimly.  "Now it's dead. Bees die once they lose their stingers."  This information triggers a fresh volley of tears, as I am now filled with remorse over the fact that I have not only been hurt by, but have myself killed, another sentient creature, simply to satisfy my own relentless curiosity.

I share this memory with my girlfriend yesterday over a late lunch, and she rolls her eyes.  "You haven't changed much, have you?" she says.

Indeed, I have trundled through my entire life recklessly squashing bees, and have sometimes regretted it.  Fortunately, all the bees I've trod on have had very small stingers.