calling? Obtaining spiritual enlightenment by crushing
By Steve Shinney
September 22, 2006 | From philosophers of ancient Greece
to Buddhist monks of the Far East, many great and wise
men have dedicated their lives to obtaining true enlightenment
by understanding their true purposes in lives.
These people are losers.
I may not know the purpose of life in general, but
I know why I am here. I know exactly what my purpose
on this earth is.
I'm Steve Shinney; I kill bugs.
I reached this echelon as a child when I became a
bug bounty hunter. My mom would pay me two cents a kill
to protect her garden from grasshoppers and tomato worms.
It was those dry summer afternoons with the Idaho grass
crinkling under my feet and my yellow Wiffle bat in
hand that I learned the satisfying crunch of an exoskeleton
I learned that mankind is locked in an eternal struggle
with the insects for the fate of the world. They have
us massively outnumbered, but we were the first to master
the technology of rolling up a newspaper.
Some people say that cockroaches are going to outlive
us as a species. I say, not if I can help it.
I went through my trial of fire while in Australia.
I lived there for two years and each day a chance to
rise to the ultimate bug killing challenge. In America
I could kill bugs. In Australia, there's a fair chance
the bugs could kill me. I still remember my finest moment.
It was the day I rose to from the level of mere bug
killer to the rank of a full-fledged exterminator. It
was a hot January evening. My roommate Javon, a large
Maori boy from the land of the long white cloud, was
heading into the kitchen.
"Shinney!" he called from the hallway. (When you kill
bugs like I do, you transcend the need for a first name.)
I went into the hall expecting to pop a roach and
be done with it, and found myself staring down the biggest
huntsman I'd ever seen. Javon's eyes were as wide with
terror as mine were with excitement. This was the battle
I had been waiting for. This guy measured nearly a foot
from leg to leg.
Huntsmans are a large family of large spiders found
throughout the world. While only mildly poisonous, they
have long curved fangs that I could clearly see from
where I was standing down the hall.
I called out for a weapon. Javon handed me a push
mop, the kind that's really just a sponge on stick.
Not my first choice of weapon, but when you kill bugs,
you get used to making do with what you have.
Somehow the huntsmans of Australia have evolved the
knowledge that most people are afraid of them. When
threatened they rear up on their hind four legs, extend
their fangs and charge straight at you. As the spider
got closer, I tried to smash him with the mop. After
several vigorous thrusts I realized I was basically
just pushing on it with a damp sponge. Since I didn't
have time for the bleach fumes to take care of the spider,
I had to change my tactics.
With a quick kick to the back of the mop, I sent the
spider flying into the corner. While the huntsman was
stunned from this brilliant military maneuver, I whipped
the mop around and thrust at it with the business end.
A crunch echoed through the hall, bearing witness the
contest was over. Maybe future generations of spiders
will evolve the wisdom not to mess with me.
Why do I, a normally quiet and humble man, brag so
much about my prowess? Because before I learned of my
purpose as a bug killer, I felt that I had nothing to
offer society. Now I know the truth.
If any of you struggle with self esteem issues, try
delving into skills and talents that the rest of the
world may consider dumb. You just might find your true
And when you find your stupid talent that will give
your life meaning for the rest of your days, think of
me, Steve Shinney, the man who kills bugs.