September 29, 2004: Headlines: COS - Jordan: Internet: Blogs - Jordan: Scorpions: Personal Web Site: Ben in Jordan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Jordan: Peace Corps Jordan : The Peace Corps in Jordan: September 29, 2004: Headlines: COS - Jordan: Internet: Blogs - Jordan: Scorpions: Personal Web Site: Ben in Jordan

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit Post

Ben in Jordan

Ben in Jordan

Ben in Jordan

Scorpion Hunting
Filed under:

* General
* Peace Corps

— Ben @ 4:13 am

After waking up with a scorpion in my bed a few days ago and failing to kill it before it could retreat into a secret hiding place, I was left with the reality that I was cohabitating my apartment with a tiny insect that could kill me with a few stings. I did my best to play it cool. I went about life as if I wasn’t thinking about it so I could sleep, and barely mentioned it to the other people around the village. That didn’t do anything to stop a stream of would be pest removers from offering their services and advice.

The first visitor to my apartment was my landlord. In Arabic, he described that he would be willing to read the Koran as he circled my bed. This, he explained, would create a virtual force field around my sleeping mat and would keep me safe as long as I stayed within the appointed area. He repeatedly imitated a scorpion with a bent arm over his head, walking up to the line and being shocked as if it were being electrocuted. I did my best to contain my amusement in his shaking body because I knew he was dead serious about protecting me.

The day after my discovery another neighbor came knocking. He had heard about the ordeal and wanted to offer his services. A self-proclaimed “professional” scorpion hunter with a good command of English, he spent the first half an hour or so drinking tea and telling me how scorpions love to hide in peoples underwear. If we couldn’t find now it would mean one of two things he said: 1) it was waiting until we were gone to hide in my underwear, or 2) it was off somewhere making babies so it would unleash a litter of scorpions into my three room house. Before we could get started we were joined by his brother who had also located one or two scorpions in his day. Three strong, we set to work. We entered my room that was filled with random articles of clothes. After two months of living out of a suite case the first thing I did when I entered a space that was all mine was pull everything out of my bags and arrange them all around the room. That helped me feel like the apartment was lived in and provided a plethora of nooks and crannies for scorpions to relax, make babies, or do whatever scorpions do.

The leaders of the scorpion hunt went straight for the soft stuff. They shook out my pillow, my sheets, my mattress, and the rug. Every potential suspect was stepped on before it was investigated too closely so as to make all efforts to error on the side of safety. After about five minutes we declared the area clear of scorpions and moved on to piles of crap that I had strewn all over the room. They started with the shirts that I had hung on the windows. Each one was shaken vigorously, rung out as if it to remove excess water before it was hung dry, and then turned inside out. Once an article of clothing was declared free of scorpions it was thrown onto the bed. We went through each pocket of each of my bags. One by one we meticulously shook, squeezed, and then searched. The process was thoroughly out of my control. Realizing that there could be some awkward discoveries, I grabbed the bag containing my underwear, clean and dirty, and a few other groupings of personal articles and imitated the routine I had watched for the past 15 minutes.

Little by little the pile of scorpion free clothes grew to be larger than the potential scorpion having clothes. In an hour, we had shaken and crushed everything and still had not found the scorpion. The older brother told me he would call his friend who was an “expert” (not just a professional he exclaimed with an earnest look on his face, and “expert”) scorpion hunter and they would return in a few days. A little freaked out about the potential implications of our failed search, I decided to take drastic measures. I asked that everything, and I mean everything in my bead room be removed and relocated to the kitchen, the furthest room from my bedroom. After removing all of the furniture both soft and hard, I decided to make my room a closed space and take in only the bear essentials. I knocked the crap out of my mattress, sheets and pillow and returned them to the room. I jammed a pair of warm-up pants to seal the crack under the door, locked the windows, and slammed the door. It was depressing, bland, and empty, but I was relatively sure I would live through the next few nights, and at that point that was all I could ask for.

After thanking my remaining search partner, I turned to the only other major area of concern. I double checked each pair of boxers that I owned, shook and crumpled them, and then hid them behind the protective burrier of a two layer, double air tight, zip lock freezer bag barrier. If that scorpion was gonna get me, it would have to do so somewhere where the light shines. And that’s that way my house looked for the coming weeks: full of random piles of clothes. As soon as I took my eyes off one pile for more than a few seconds, it became a potential home to a scorpion. Each day I become less and less concerned. I no longer wore my pants tucked into my socks after two days, and stopped beating each sofa chair that I was about to sit in with a broom stick after the fourth day, and by the sixth day I even brought the rug back in to the room after a thorough shaking out. Now, just about everything has returned to normal, except of course, the double bagged boxers. I have a feeling that they may just stay in there for the next two years…

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Jordan; Internet; Blogs - Jordan; Scorpions



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