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Posted by on Oct 10, 2023 in Retirement Humour |

Living Retired — ‘Bugged!’

Living Retired — ‘Bugged!’

Living Retired — ‘Bugged!’

By Gary Chalk.

Long ago, Hamlet said, “To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

Last weekend, Jan said, “Gary, if you step on stink bugs do the squished stink bugs stink?”

“Jeez Jan, I don’t think I can even say what you just said!”

“Gary, all I am saying is we have to get rid of these stink bugs. We need to step our game.”

“Jan, I believe you meant to say we need to step down our game. These stink bugs are all over our patio. Although I guess if I stepped from the ground up onto the patio, I’d be stepping up our game.”

Jan sighed. “Whatever Gary. Just step on it.”

This all happened last Saturday. For a few days small, brownish-coloured bugs drove us, well, bugs! As fast as I flicked them off the patio door screen they were back. As quick as I whooshed them off the patio furniture they were back. What are they?

I Googled, ‘small brown pesky bugs in October in southern Ontario.’ Up came ‘Ontario insects (1197 found.)’ OMG! I can’t mention to Jan there over a thousand insects that look alike out there!

Sunday it was worse.

“Gary, look over in John and Barbs backyard. You can see them everywhere in the air. It’s the swarm of the stink bugs.”

My question to Jan was, “If you step on a stink bug is it squished or squashed?”

“Gary, it is dead and that’s all that matters.”

The best thing about stink bugs — other than seeing them dead on the patio — is they don’t bite like mosquitos do which is good for Jan because for some reason mosquitos are attracted to her.

“Jan, mosquitoes always seem to hit on you — you know like I hit on you back when we were in high school.”

“Gary at least when I swoosh a mosquito away from me it leaves. When I worked part time as a cashier at Woolco, you were always in my line buying a single pair of shoelaces! What was with that?”

“Jan I was looking for an excuse to see you and shoelaces were the cheapest thing in the store.”

“Gary, but every ten minutes for an hour you would be standing in my line with another pair of shoelaces. I should have known then!”

Jan and I enjoy spending our summer evenings outside on the patio. We pour some drinks and read and listen to the Blue Jays on the radio. Jan wraps herself up in her mosquito-resistant wardrobe: long leggings, socks up past her ankles, a long sleeve top that covers her neck, and a hat. Down near her feet is one of those galvanized citronella pails. In her hand, an Off! Mosquito Repellent Coil sends smoke over her head. In her other hand she holds a glass of wine.

Within five minutes…

WHACK! Jan smacks a mosquito with her book.

WHACK! WHACK!! More mosquitoes meet their match.


Jan soldiers on until she is forced to the tipping point: a mosquito landed in her wine glass. It is swimming in her Sancerre.

“Thats it Gary! I’m going back inside.”

“What can I say Jan, you’re a mosquito magnet.”

Bug zappers and insect sprays may do their job, but nothing is as effective as David Baldacci’s book ‘Total Control.’


Living Retired is written by humour columnist Gary Chalk.