The digger (aka Sphex) wasp is famous for a stylized sequence of behavior: sting and paralyze an insect, drop it by the entrance to the wasp's underground burrow, go inside to inspect the nest, and then come out to fetch in the insect. If the insect is moved a short distance away the wasp starts its little program all over again: moving the insect, then re-inspecting the nest even though that step is unnecessary. And if the insect is shifted away again, the wasp mindlessly repeats the same pattern.

Just so for me early one morning last week: after my shower I looked around the bathroom for my underwear and couldn't find it. So off I went, stumbling around the bedroom in semi-darkness — until I discovered that I had already put my underwear on! I thought of the wasp, and then of Uncle Podger in Jerome K. Jerome's hilarious Three Men in a Boat, when in Chapter 3 he complains:

"Doesn't anybody in the whole house know where my coat is? I never came across such a set in all my life — upon my word I didn't. Six of you! — and you can't find a coat that I put down not five minutes ago! Well, of all the — "

Then he'd get up, and find that he had been sitting on it, and would call out:

"Oh, you can give it up! I've found it myself now. Might just as well ask the cat to find anything as expect you people to find it."

(cf. ThreeManBoat (10 Jan 2002), ...)

TopicHumor - TopicPersonalHistory - 2007-11-10

(correlates: SheepMaySafelyGraze, LessonsOfTheMarathon, Comments on Kubota Logo Mystery, ...)