If I could come back in the after-life � a la Shirley Maclaine ��it would be as one of those tiny insects, scurrying around in search of something to carry to my nest.
Of course, I wouldn't want to be a pismire or odorous one to be squished underfoot by some careless clodhopper. And I would try to avoid aardvarks and other long-tongued ant-eaters, looking to make a meal of me.
I think it would be kind of fun being a scavenger. I would be an environmental nut, picking up bread crumbs and other tid-bits dropped by rambunctious diners.
I could attend picnics and barbecues, and never have to bring a salad or baked beans. And there'd be plenty of food to keep me and my ant-friends busy.
I was never able as a person to lift anything bigger or heavier than a bowling ball, but as an ant I could become a muscle man without steroids.
I could heft many times my own weight, and the girls would think I was cool. I could pick up a boulder-size crumb like it was nothing, and I wouldn't be afraid to show off a bit.
Words are not necessary to have a conversation with another ant. All we would need is antennas or feelers.
When one ant meets another, a little rubbing or stroking with the feelers will tell all sort of things. I'd like that. Not having to think up what to say would be a blessing, don't you think?
Actually nobody has been able to decipher the ant language, and that's a good thing. All we need is one more DaVinci Code!
For your information, here's an imaginative scenario of two ants conversing:
One meets the other and rubs its feelers. The message it imparts is: "Hey, Bill, I found a big, juicy piece of meat, and it's too large for me to handle alone. Can you help me?"
The second ant (assuming his name is Bill) responds with his antenna which is interpreted to mean: "Okay, let's go!" � and the two of them head off toward the blubber.
Nobody knows how this is done, or how they'll find their way home. It's the secretiveness of the process which enthralls me and makes me want to become a part of it. The same thing happens to guys and gals who want to be spies for the CIA, I guess.
Needless to say, I haven't discussed my thoughts of incarnation with my wife because Phyllis hates ants. All she cares about is how to get rid of them.
She also doesn't care whether some outdoor ants are beneficial or not. I would be one of the good guys of antdom, not the carpenter variety. I might even aerate the soil or spread wildflower seeds, too.
But despite our differences, I've continued to be captivated by ants. It's a failing, I assume, one which I don't understand.
� 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz