Ah - the wonders of the internet and the anonymity it brings. So while I may not have the sang froid to sit and write to friends about this most enriching of experiences, the existence of a blog allows one to talk of such things with impunity.
Things I have learnt today, include:
- Girls will tend to get upset at the idea that there is a parasite stuck to your todger - avoid telling them if at all possible, especially when they are half asleep at half past seven in the morning.
- The little fuckers will come off if you pull them by hand - all this bollocks in the literature about using tweezers is crap, you cannot get a decent grip on the fuckers with tweezers.
- Ticks are arachnids, making them descendents of some of the very first land dwelling animals. Ever.
- Most ticks are sexually dimorphic - the male and female look different.
- Lyme disease is not very prevalent in Greece, although the main carrier, Ixodes Ricinus is.
- Top tip - don't go camping in a place where large mammals (cows) have been roaming around.
- It's like totally mind-blowing to feel that you have become part of one of these parasite life cycle diagrams showing many hosts and carriers and knowing that you were the human host in all this, man.
The whole experience this morning, well, part of it, brought back one of my most vivid memories of my brief but colourful military service. While I was serving in a guard house in the middle of nowhere, somewhere where I am not allowed to talk about, one of things I would do to pass the time when not reading translations of ancient poetry, would be to sit and record the markings on the turtles which lived within the confines of the barracks. They say that no two turtles have the same markings, and having a teenage head stuffed to the brim with Victorian idiocy I set about to record what we had onsite, in an effort to see whether any pattern would emerge potentially proving them wrong.
I still have the drawings, done in biro on the back of spent Gitanes packets. I remember being very pleased with them at the time, although I have no idea what I would think of them now. I think I know where they are, though.
Anyway - to the point - as payback for the poor turtles who would sit for maybe an hour at a time and model for me, I would flip them over and take out the ticks stuck to their legs and neck, poor hapless bastards. I am not sure I did not imagine it, but more than once, I think I heard the turtles sigh appreciatively as I would pull a tick from their exposed skin. These of course were ugly huge red ticks - not at all like the small black one I had found this morning - but the gasp of satisfaction I remember hearing coming from the turtles stayed with me. I too almost gasped in the same manner this morning, such was my own feeling of relief at being free from the tick. There had been no real pain or discomfort attached to my experience. The whole thing was more psychological than physical, but still, at that moment I had connected once more with my reptilian friend from fourteen years ago.