The $250 Mosquito

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Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned. Maybe not even close. The following incident vividly illustrates my point.
A few years back I took two daughters on what was destined to be a fun and pleasant fishing trip to Lake Metigoshe. The beautiful lake in the scenic Turtle Mountains contains bluegill, a fish that can provide plenty of non-stop fun. My girls were looking forward to it. I was too.

After launching our boat at wonderful Lake Metigoshe State Park, we motored to a favorite bluegill fishing spot. Soon both girls were flipping baited hooks dangling beneath small red and white bobbers with long, telescopic fishing poles in likely bluegill water.

The action was virtually non-stop, so much so that I quit fishing because I was too busy unhooking their fish and baiting hooks so we could watch bobbers slip under the water and catch more bluegills.

How many those girls caught I cannot say. We released everything we caught, including a few exceptionally large bluegills and some crappies to boot. We called it quits when we ran out of bait. Great fun.

As the temperature began to rise, we put the fishing poles back in the boat’s rod locker and commenced to take a tour of the lake. We even stopped at a friend’s cabin to say high. Although unannounced, the visit was well received and added greatly to our Lake Metigoshe experience. Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end. I turned the boat toward the ramp. A few minutes later I had the boat on the trailer, doing a final check in the parking lot while the girls enjoyed the very welcome air conditioning inside my Suburban tow vehicle.

A few moments later I was doing the same. However, no sooner had I sat down in the driver’s seat when I heard, “Dad, get ‘em. Hurry!”
That usually means a wood tick requires my immediate attention. Not this time though, the emergency situation was none other than a rather large mosquito buzzing back and forth across windshield.

Aha! An opportunity for Dad to come to the rescue! My chance to defend my family from an ominous beast!
Nonsense, you say? Hardly. You see, this was no ordinary mosquito. Not by a long shot. That buzzing, blood sucking critter, carrier of diseases unknown, proved much more challenging than any other of the swarming pests I had previously encountered.

Unflinching, I took the hat off my head with the intent of brutally ending the life of the winged threat. Which, when accomplished, would undoubtedly be seen, and remembered as a heroic and life-saving effort by my daughters.
I reached far to my right and delivered two slaps of my hat aimed at the ornery mosquito that was responsible for fear and agony. Incredibly, the mosquito withstood my attack. How, I cannot say, but now this endeavor had reached a higher level.
Enraged now, this trophy-size mosquito made the blunder of a lifetime. He, or she, began flitting across the windshield on a path that would place it directly in front of my driver’s seat where certain death was waiting.

As I sized up my opponent, my girls cowering in despair and uncertain as to the outcome and their fate should the mosquito thwart death again, I was wondering what taxidermist possessed the skills needed to preserve this specimen for family history purposes.
Hat in hand, I waited motionless for that mosquito to present itself directly in front of me where I had determined to inflict a final blow and reduce the threat to a pile of broken legs and wings and fractured proboscis.
Suddenly, with my hat, I struck a surprising and powerful blow with perfect aim at my adversary. Splat! Crackle! Pop?
No. It was, “Dad, you broke the windshield!”

Oops. Lost in all of this was the fact that the mosquito had succumbed to injuries I had inflicted. And, yes, much to my horror, the windshield was indeed shattered. So much for my heroic effort.

Now, the reason the windshield cracked in a spiderweb pattern, side to side and top to bottom, is two-fold. First, the windshield was ridiculously hot after sitting exposed in the sun for several hours. Secondly, there was a small metal buckle on adjustment strap on the back of my cap.

When I snapped that cap to slay the threatening mosquito, I inadvertently shattered the windshield. My girls quickly told me that was a high price to pay for a mosquito that might have flown out of an open window anyway. Pretty hard to argue with that.

Anyway, as fate would have it, I attended a banquet shortly thereafter in which one of the items on the “silent auction” table was a certificate from a local windshield installer for a new windshield in the vehicle of your choice. I sought the advice of several friends in attendance who told me the cost of a new windshield for my Suburban would be in the $300-350 price range, I determined that I would win the silent bidding.

That I did, with a winning bid of $250. I made an appointment to get my windshield replaced, was delighted with the work, and happily presented my certificate as payment. However, the bill for the new windshield, installed, was $220. Not the $300-plus I had expected.

So, I paid $250 for a $220 windshield. Some bargain. And that, dear reader, was the closing act in the episode of the $250 mosquito.

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