Monday, April 27, 2009

Bullet Ants

I’m a useless trivia junky. 

If there’s any way that I might find a piece of information useful in life, my brain puts it in the circular file.

That’s the garbage, in case you were wondering.

However, if there’s absolutely zero chance that I’ll need to remember something….my brain files that little tidbit in it’s super-safe-random-access-quick-load file. 

Thus, I can’t remember why I’ve gone to the grocery store but I can remember that earthworms are in the zoological sub-class oligochaeta.


Anyway…since I love random knowledge, when I see a link on the internet that says, “5 types of stinging ants”, I click on it.

I don’t just click on it....

I MUST click on it (and hope it’s not a virus).

So, as I was reading said list, I discovered that there’s a type of ant called a bullet ant.

This ant is so named, not because of it’s bullet like shape or it’s “superantian” speed, but because, when it stings you, you feel like you’ve been shot.

They live in Brazil which is why I won’t be going there any time soon.

But that same list had ANOTHER link which simply said, “manhood initiation” in the paragraph about the bullet ants.

That link was so compelling it clicked itself.

I was taken to a You Tube video posted by National Geographic. (the link is at the end of this post if you’re interested)

In this video, boys in their teens are initiated into manhood by wearing special mittens woven out of palm leaves and….

are you ready….

thousands of angry bullet ants!

Watching that video made me very thankful for my bar mitvah.

Klezmer music and semi-kosher food VS bullet ant mittens?

That’s a no brainer.

The boys have to wear these gloves for a full ten minutes.

But if they want to be warriors in the tribe, they have to do the whole thing twenty times.

That’s two hundred minutes of their lives spend with angry ants shooting machine guns at their hands. 

Now, lest you think that they are totally barbaric, the most interesting part of the video comes at the end.

This is when the head of the tribe is explaining why they do this. 

He says that it not only marks their transition into adulthood but it makes them better men.

“If you go through life without suffering anything or without any kind of effort, it wont be worth anything to you.”

I had to chew on that for a little while.

Especially considering my last post where I shared how much I hate losing/suffering/pain and how I’m a product of the first “t-ball” generation.

It made me think about American culture and how much we build our lives to avoid pain.

It made me think of how many people in the church are just like me and secretly have been believing that they should be exempt from suffering. 

Frankly, it made me think what a baby I am.

Now…I’m not about to go to the local ant store and purchase some gloves-o-angry-ants. 

But I do think that when suffering comes my way….and it will come…I’ll try to embrace it a little differently.

And hopefully, I’ll be a better man for it.

***Here's the link if you want to watch the video***


1 comment:

Ann said...

I'm not quite ready to view the video yet...but I probably will at some point. You've hit upon something I've been wrestling with the last year or so: our culture vs sacrifical service. We tend to prize our comfort and believe to some extent that it's our right and we deserve it (silly Americans!). Thanks for your insight. You are missed. Ann