“You found a WHAT in your bathroom?” I shouted to my brother over the phone.
“A scorpion,” he said, rather nonchalantly.
Although he did not seem too bothered, I found this to be rather disturbing news. My brother does not live in the middle of the desert, on a prairie, or in the rain forest. He lives in a modern home in a tony Malibu California community, surrounded by palatial homes, beautiful people, and apparently, also, scorpions.
“Don’t they look for these kinds of things during the house inspection?” I wondered, referencing the fact that he had just moved into this scorpion-friendly home.
“They look for leaky roofs,” he said. “Not poisonous arthropods.”
My brother and I grew up in the suburbs of New York so this scorpion thing was new to us. But my brother’s wife was from the area, so she was used to dealing with stuff like this. A week prior they had discovered a large, hairy tarantula (are there any other kind?) knocking on their front door. When the big, burly cable guys refused to work at the house because the tarantula blocked their path, my sister-in-law gave them a withering look, put on a pair of oven mitts, and flung the tarantula into the next county. She is slowly getting my brother acclimated to the wildlife out there, although he has yet to take up tarantula tossing, but we think it’s just a matter of time before she teaches the baby to wrestle alligators.
Although my brother and sister-in-law seemed unfazed by their houseguests, I was definitely not. Having been to LA a number of times, I was used to seeing some odd things. But the scariest thing I’d ever seen were celebrities who’d clearly had too much plastic surgery.
“What does Uncle David have in his bathroom?” my son asked, overhearing my shriek.
“A scorpion,” I whispered, covering the phone.
“COOL! Can we get one?” asked my son, grabbing at the phone.
“NO!” I shouted. I uncovered the phone.
“So what did you do with it?” I asked my brother.
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“The scorpion!” I yelled.
“Oh. We brushed it into a shoebox and dumped it outside.”
“You dumped it outside?” I repeated incredulously. “It could come back. Or it might have a mate. Or maybe the him-scorpion and the her-scorpion came inside to breed. Maybe she laid a bunch of scorpion eggs in the house and they’re going to hatch and you’re going to end up with hundreds of little baby scorpions all over the house, and they’re going to climb into your shoe, because that’s what scorpions do, and then when you put your shoe on, they’ll sting you on your big toe.” I stopped to breathe.
My brother paused. “Are you done?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said calmly.
“We’re not worried about the scorpion.”
“You’re not?” I repeated.
“No. Getting stung by a scorpion is usually like being stung by a bee,” he assured me.
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, that’s a relief!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “We’re more concerned with the rattlesnakes in the backyard.
©2009, Beckerman. All rights reserved. For more Lost in Suburbia, visit Tracy Beckerman at www.lostinsuburbia.net, and check out her hilarious new book “Rebel without a Minivan” at Amazon and www.rebelwithoutaminivan.com