Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Letter

To the Ants I Killed Yesterday,

I was only doing my job. You have to understand that up front. I have to keep that bathroom clean for the students who use it, and a small colony of insects living underneath the urinals is not traditionally the sign of a hygienic bathroom. I'll admit, I'm still not sure why it was so important I got rid of you. Your kind doesn't traditionally carry diseases, and none of you were stealing any food or really, doing anyone any harm as far as I could see. You're all black ants, so probably not the biting type. But, like the dirt in the corners and the soap scum on the counters, you look dirty, and are unwelcome in a modern, clean restroom.

And so I sprayed your corner with poison.

Did it hurt? Did you scream? Did you die instantly or did you suffer and struggle first? Did some of you run frantically, looking for loved ones, hoping they'd survived?

Do ants love? Do they have families? Were the stragglers all alone and desolate, having lost their friends?

Or is your colony all one consciousness, with the queen still safely inside the walls, having only suffered the loss of a few mindless appendages?

In other words, was this a tragedy that befell a community, or an injury inflicted on a single organism?

I do not apologize to you. Given the choice, I would repeat my action. But still, I hope desperately that there isn't a giant somewhere who will someday say over my shattered planet,

"I was only doing my job....I have to keep this galaxy clean for the gods that use it, and a small cluster of humans orbiting a star is not traditionally the sign of a hygienic solar system."

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