A very important issue that we all need to be concerned about is global warming, and we will get to that shortly, but first we need to discuss the issue of what happened the other night in my kitchen.
It began when I was in the bedroom, where I was flossing my teeth (I keep my teeth in the bedroom). Suddenly my wife, who is not normally a burster, burst in and said: "There's a bat in the kitchen!"
A good snappy comeback line would have been: "No thanks! I already ate!" But snappy comebacks are not what is called for in this type of situation. What is called for, by tradition, is for The Man of the House to put down his dental floss and go face the bat.
So I went to the kitchen, passing en route through the living room, where my wife and her mother, who was visiting us, were huddled together, protecting each other. Neither one made a move to protect ME, the person going to his doom.
I opened the kitchen door and peeked inside, and, sure enough, there was a large black thing flitting around, banging itself against the ceiling. This was a perfect example of why — no matter what you hear from the liberal communist news media — private citizens have a legitimate constitutional need for machine guns. No single-shot weapon is going to bring down a flitting bat in a kitchen at close range. To stop one of those babies, you need to put a LOT of lead into the air. Yes, innocent appliances could get hurt. But that is the price of freedom.
Unfortunately, the only weapon I had was a broom. And to get it, I had to get to the other side of the kitchen, which meant going directly under the bat. You know how, in John Wayne war movies, when it's time to go into battle, John Wayne gives out a mighty whoop and charges boldly forward with his head held high? Well, that is not how I crossed the kitchen. I scooted with tiny mincing steps, hunched over, emitting a series of high-pitched whimpers designed to assure the bat that not only was I harmless, but I was also willing, if necessary, to bear its young.
Reaching the other side, I grabbed the broom and turned to face the bat, at which point I made a shocking discovery: The bat was a butterfly. It was totally black, except that it had, I swear, red eyes, which were GLOWING. I realize that you may not believe me, so I at this point I am going to bring in a trusted American icon to corroborate my story.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Dave is telling the truth. It was a large black butterfly, and it had glowing red eyes.
When Abraham Lincoln and I say that this butterfly was "large," we are not whistling Dixie. This was by FAR the largest butterfly I have ever encountered. Are you familiar with the 1961 Japanese movie "Mothra," in which downtown Tokyo is attacked by a 230-foot-long, 20,000-ton moth, played by the late Ethel Merman? Well, the butterfly in my kitchen could have used Mothra as an ear plug. (Assuming that butterflies have ears.)
So anyway, when I saw that the bat was, in fact, a butterfly, I knew exactly what to do. Specifically, I yelled: "It's a butterfly!" This was for the benefit of my wife. I'm sure the butterfly already knew it was a butterfly.
"Oh! Then don't harm it!" answered my wife, in an alternate universe. In the present universe, she answered, "Well, KILL IT!" Women have a reputation for being gentle and nurturing, but in my experience, they pretty much want to wipe out every creature on the Great Tree of Life below the level of poodle.
So there, alone in the kitchen, armed only with a broom, I went head-to-head with the Giant Demon Butterfly from Hell. It clearly was not afraid of me. It flitted right at me in the aggressive, confident manner of a creature that, in the wild, preys on wolverines.
How well did I handle myself? I certainly don't want to toot my own horn.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Dave was very, very brave.
In the end, I broke the broom, but I also sent the butterfly to that Big Cocoon in the Sky. So now our house is quiet again. But I am uneasy. I find myself wondering: Where did that thing COME from? What if there's ANOTHER one out there?
I frankly don't know how anyone can think about global warming at a time like this.
Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Write to him c/o The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami FL 33132.