New Jersey, being not so far away from the area around Lyme, Connecticut where the disease of the same name was first recognized, has a lot of ticks. Some of them carry the bacteria that leads to Lyme disease. My mother has had it. It seems like I can't take my dog outside without him coming back with a tick on him. Sometimes they are the bigger ones, sometimes they are the smaller ones, which are the vectors for the bastard bacteria.
Among the creatures on earth that I loathe the most are ticks. Roaches really gross me out, and ticks used to. I was forced to overcome my disgust of ticks (somewhat) back in 2004 while I was living in England. This story isn't unfamiliar to many of my friends, but if you haven't had the pleasure to hear the full-blown account, I'll give you the abridged version here:
-Trail building for the 2004 Mountain Mayhem Course
-Fresh set of woods that I was allowed to design the course through (later known as 'Christina's Woods')
-Lovely bit of ferns with the makings of a trail already going through it
-Marking of said path as part of the official course, clearing bits of fern where needed
-Evening shower at the local inn/pub
-Scraping off bits of dirt that stuck to me during the day
-Coming across particularly resistant bits of dirt
-Finally getting one off only to notice that it had legs
-Continue picking until finally I had to shut the shower off and sit down in the tub for closer inspection
-Count the lineup of ticks that I pulled off and put on the side of the tub. Total: 36
-Address Chipps' concerns when everyone else realized that I'd been gone far longer than the 15 minutes I said it would take.
-Had Chipps look at my back, upon which he found 2 more ticks. Total: 38
Everyone was pretty cranky with me, I think, when they thought I was hoarding the shower. I had to pretty quickly get over the feeling of wanting to peel off my own skin in order to get away from the ticks, and buckle down and get them off me. It was quite a line of ticks on the side of the tub.
The problem with being in tick season is that suddenly every little hair, or piece of fabric, or twitch that is on my skin feels like it's something crawling on me. Every time a nerve fires off, or my head itches, I'm convinced that I've got ticks moving along my epidermis. Every freckle suddenly becomes suspect. Every location of a bite becomes something to watch for the telltale target shaped mark that indicates transmission of the disease. I'm tempted to shave my head.
I've decided that if I'm ever standing before the countenance of God, and was given one question to ask, it would be 'Why ticks?'.
Seriously, they serve no purpose. They aren't a food source for much of anything. And even if they are, there are far more of them than are needed by whatever it is that eats them. They are an absolutely pointless creature. I could say the same about the mosquito, really, but I think they are easier for birds to eat than the blood-sucking, belly crawlers.
I mean, they really are rubbish! They just hang out, waiting for something to come along that catches one of the hairy appendages they have. 'Oops! Hey look! I'm on something!' It's not like the tick jumps on. Everything about how a tick operates is accidental. They have no control over their legs. They can't let go unless they've done their vampire act and are heavy enough to fall off. They don't even have sense enough to realize what they are biting. I caught one today trying to burrow itself into Frazier's rain coat.
They are a creepy/crawly that should be banished from the earth. I really don't see how the butterfly effect could be detrimental if ticks were suddenly wiped clean from terra firma.