Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bite Me Not.

Wear your stripes to freedom.

There is good fly news for hikers, especially felons.

You know how it is when they wake you from a sound sleep and say you have to go? And then they turn you loose in that striped shirt and matching pants? And then everybody points at you?

Hey. Embarrassing.

But pretty soon now you can scram out of the city, take to the trails, and fit right in. Because the smart backpackers will be dressed like you, in black and white stripes.

Sure, it's still not great. You go from living in a cage to living like a stray cat, but stray cats get to run around. And they don't ask questions.

But there has been another problem. Flies. Flies?

Right. You didn't see all that many in jail, but if you start living on the trail you find out pretty quick what hell is. Oh, boy.

Flies. All over.

In your hair, in your eyes, in your food, up your nose, your pants, your shirt. Everywhere. But not if you're dressed right.

Because ClegWear, the first name in prison garb, is branching out to hiking clothes.

Why not those cute little white tennis dresses or something?


If ClegWear can sell to trail rats they figure they have it made. Bicyclists, golfers, and tennis players are smarter than backpackers but they are less ornery and not so cheap. And anyway ClegWear has a secret weapon for backpacking clothing.

It's Fly-B-Gone Hike Wear.

Hikers are known for dirt, sweat, body odor, food stains, and habitual slovenliness, all of which make them just about irresistible to any and all flying things with biting parts.

But ClegWear's purely scientific research using painted wooden decoy horses and expendable test hamsters has resulted in a sort of zebra-stripe clothing. Which is neat because (get this) stripes turn out to be naturally disorienting to flies.

Flies like horseflies, deer flies, gadflies, breeze flies, zimbs, march flies, hairflies, midges, biting midges, true midges, black flies, gnats, stout-bodied biting flies, eye gnats, gnat bugs, sand gnats, sand flies, no-see-ums, Adirondack black flies, white stockinged black flies, buffalo gnats, turkey gnats, dark-winged fungus gnats, and even punkies. Which are the worst.

When wearing stripes you'll see fewer of the vicious hairy buggers but will still find some in your beer. If you drink outdoors. Which is where you will be if you are backpacking and happen on some trail magic like a full cooler sitting on the trail with a sign saying "free beer for hikers".

What you actually get is really a mix of beer and flies, like drosophila melanogaster (beer flies). Plus the swarms of biting flies that followed you.

Sure, the best way to avoid flies in your beer is not to drink any, but that's a pretty shabby way to live, and does nothing about the bites.

But now, whether recently-freed from a cell or decked out in one of ClegWear's oh-so-affordable Fly-B-Gone hiking ensembles your worst fly problems are over.

The bad news is the beer flies. Which will still be there.

Once they smell beer on your breath they'll spend hours trying to get at it by flying up your nose or crawling between your lips, and being completely brainless and having no perspective whatsoever they will keep doing this a lot longer than you can fight them off.

But it's still better than being lunch.

More: Zebra stripes evolved to keep biting flies at bay