A Dance With Three Shoes

Michael Grady | Sep 9, 2013, 6 a.m.

Don’t wear sandals—With sandals, you hit the scorpion, the scorpion falls off your whacking shoe and onto your bare foot with one sting left in the chamber. An hour later, the urgent care physician will be telling you to stay out of the sandals until your foot is smaller than a Volkswagen.

Don’t wear tennis shoes—White tennis shoe laces really jump under blacklight. So after carefully probing your walls and shrubs, the light hits your laces, which glow like a thousand scorpions and you crash into all your own patio furniture. This actually happened...to a friend of mine...

Take the Proper Gear—Blacklight in one hand, whacking shoe in the other. Don’t use a fly swatter. Your wife will mock you as soon as you leave the house, and the neighbors will think you are way too serious about flies.

Carry a whacking shoe—A scorpion’s natural predator is the shoe. But all your stealth and form can be undermined by a complicated shoe. If the scorpion you smack doesn’t die because he caught the hollow portion of a waffle sole, well, that’s just awkward for both of you. Use a flat, flexible shoe with a shallow squishing surface. Also, never use a woman’s shoe: the grip is wrong, the soles are too small and the woman it belongs to will heckle you ‘til you’re dead.

Scorpions don’t jump—Blacklight casts your home into a strange, purplish landscape. Kind of like walking through Prince’s home. White, nondescript objects will seem to “jump out” at you. Remembering that scorpions do not jump will keep you from swinging blindly at mattress tags, touch-up paint, bathroom caulk or your own shirt buttons.

Act natural!—Scorpions do not instinctively run when exposed to the blacklight. Perhaps the ultraviolet rays stun them, or perhaps they think they’re on a game show. Nobody knows. But they can be sensitive to people who point and shriek: “There’s one!” So, once you spot one, act casual. Like you’re looking for some other scorpion, or like you have a Led Zeppelin poster farther down. Then turn dramatically—like a TV lawyer—and swing. A scorpion’s last thought should be: “Hey! You’re going to k--”

Use good form—Wide stance, smooth stroke, use your whole body, etc. If you slap like a 5-year-old flailing at a party piñata, your scorpion will escape and then make fun of you with other scorpions.

Hit the scorpion about a dozen times—Scorpions, phone solicitors and Adam Sandler movies all have a way of going lower than you expect and then returning long after you thought you said goodbye. So, once you get a scorpion in your crosshairs, go flamenco on their pointy little asses. Smack ‘til your arm is tired, then switch arms. Remember, a liquefied scorpion is everyone’s friend.

Don’t get stung—You wouldn’t think I’d have to say this, but we live in a society where drive-thru coffee has to be labeled “hot.” So, avoid scorpion stings at all costs. If you are stung, wash off your wound, monitor it closely, and share your tale with the fine folks at Poison Control: (800) 222-1222. Minimal swelling and soreness is normal. If your vision blurs, your muscles twitch or the wound starts calling you “Margaret,” take it to your local emergency room and show it off. Right away.

Michael Grady is Valley-based freelance writer, reporter and playwright.

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