I'm bicycling down a street in my neighborhood and come across a group of young boys throwing baseballs into a tree. I stop and ask them what they are up to. There's a wasp nest hidden inside the tree, they tell me, as big as a basketball. They haven't been able to walk or play near that tree all Summer. But with Summer fading, and the wasps less active, the time has come for a settling of accounts.
I roll over to the tree and assess the situation. A giant copper-colored hive, looking like the spawn of a drunken potter, far too deformed for any kiln, perches quietly in the tree.
No worries, I tell the boys. I've got this. Riding back home, I get a broom, a ski mask, and a pair of driving gloves. Coming back, I don the gloves and mask and launch a fearsome frontal assault on the hive, delivering the last couple of blows with my face averted, my back turned, and in full strategic retreat.
Returning breathless to the scene of battle, I stand over the decimated hive, sweating in my ski mask and holding the broom in my gloved hands like a Quidditch-playing cat burglar. It was only then we discovered that the hive had already been abandoned.
Laugh, my little friends, yes go ahead and laugh. But try crying "Wasp!" at me again next Summer.