05 February 2006

Wee Bastard! - The Scottish Midge

No academic work on Scottish weather and culture would be complete without mention of the ubiquitous Scottish midge. South America has the pirhana. Africa has army ants. Scotland has the Midge. The Scottish midge is a flying insect so small as to be virtually undetectable except when it bites you to suck your blood. When the midge bites it feels like a sado-masochistic nurse has used a rusty hypodermic to take a blood sample. The midge is one of the perils of Scottish life.

Midges come in two distinct varieties. First the lone kamikaze. This type of midge has no respect for its own life. Its sole aim is to hone in on your exposed flesh, bite you as painfully as possible, suck your blood and then heroically give up its life under the slap of your palm. At these moments traditionally one utters a Scottish meditative mantra designed to help one cope with pain “ya fuckin wee basta” (English translation -take that you nasty little illegitimate fly). There is some debate in the scientific community ( see for example McSporran and McCracken 1997 “Wee Midgies n ither nasty bastards“) about whether they kamikaze midge is a distinct species. It has been noted for example that almost invariably an attack by a kamikaze is accompanied some minutes later by the second variety - The Scottish Sociable midge.

The Scottish Sociable Midge shares the instinctive socialist tendency that is inbred into the Scottish character. The Sociable Midge likes to hang around with its pals when its “oot on the toon”. Much like Scottish Man the midge may drink alone but by preference it prefers to be carousing with others. And just like Scottish Man it has a tendency to get a bit loud, boisterous and argumentative when its had a few. The attack of the sociable midge is a thing to be feared. Your standing there rubbing the guts of the last kamikaze from your hands when the first squadrons land in town. They pop in for a couple of drinks and then rush back to tell their pals where the action is at. Next thing while your still rubbing your face from the last jaggy bite the whole airforce arrives and your being carpet bombed by Commander Midgie Harris. Not good.

The midge is, fortunately , only generally “oot on the toon” when the weather is damp. Unfortunately this is 364 days out 365 in Scotland. (See previous Chapters). In future chapters we will discuss the connection between the midge and Scottish outdoor pursuits.

1 comment:

Mrs.Biffo said...

I love this! Hope you don't mind me linking this blog on my own blog.