I remember going on joyful killing sprees with my brother on our visits to Calcutta in the seventies. The nightly ritual of eradicating mosquitoes from inside the net was an exotic adventure to us. Clapping mosquitoes to death was just challenging enough to be a exciting. The simple goal was to get every last one. Stalking them within the cube of the net required poise, patience, keen eyes and quick reflexes. The sense of achievement was clearly painted on our palms in our own blood. And it required lots of leaping about on pillows and mattresses.
Olivia Judson wouldn’t waste so much energy. She coolly describes her idea for the ultimate swat.
Why not? Human beings have rendered the smallpox virus pretty much extinct. And look how much happier we are than we have ever been. Why shouldn’t we conquer the next great hindrance to our untrammelled multiplication across the face of the earth?
Anyway, here’s my next object. A cupboard full of stuff that no-one’s had the time or resources to do much with in the last hundred odd years…