Issue #52 (December 1985)
Membership in the International Apiary Society is surprisingly inexpensive and includes many side benefits. One of these is The Grand Tour, funded by the Museum of Natural History, the National Geographic Society, The American Anthropological Society, and the current Nigerian military government.
[quoteright]Since this tour takes between twenty and thirty years to complete, it is necessary for all participants to have a full set of inoculations before leaving, to obtain a certificate of overall health from a physician, to be able to communicate in at least four languages, to be pregnant or at least capable of siring children, and to possess the killer instinct.
Tours take off annually from Lagos, Nigeria. The entire army shows up for this festive occasion. Bands play, bees dance in the streets, banquets are given, and speeches are made. Then everyone throws out the netting and thanks the gods for ensuring another year's survival.
The flight across the Atlantic Ocean is made as comfortable as possible for the tour participants. Honey is provided, as well as an array of appetizing insects. Should travelers become drowsy, recordings of buzzing bees are available to lull them to sleepyland.
The destination of the flight is — Brazil! Here, tourists may view a wide variety of species, including the species they just waved good-bye to in Nigeria. Also on exhibit are red-skinned, yellow-skinned, white- skinned and mahogany-skinned subspecies of the original black species. All of these come with blood that is delicious and nutritious.
Innumerable varieties of flowers and animals can be viewed, sampled, and devoured. Amazonia was created specifically for this purpose. While wandering among orchids and exotic birds, the visitor should also take note of the phenomenal number of extant indigenous peoples. Of course our ancestors saw many more, but if they were too dumb to get out of the way of the killer bee from Africa, what can I say?
The Grand Tour continues through Colombia, where all may try the local cocaine, across the Panama Canal and into El Salvador and Nicaragua, where the natives, the CIA, and the KGB have better things to worry about than killer bees, up to Mexico, where tequila should be consumed rather than water (but who has ever seen a killer bee with the runs?), and then over the border to the Home of the Free and the Brave (although not many are truly free and there are very few Braves left) — the USA.
It is here that touring bees must be most careful. The human species in this part of the world seems bound and determined to eliminate anything that flies, buzzes, or stings. Anything that kills is in double jeopardy. Therefore, extra shots are required at the border to ensure survival in both hot and warm climes. The cold areas you wouldn't want to visit, anyway.
The society's membership fee is a mere ten fatally-stung victims a year, and can be paid in installments — two or three bodies a season. The Grand Tour is absolutely free to members in good standing. Details are available from the Nigerian Military Coup Committee, Lagos, Nigeria. They're just dying for the next flight!
Susan Packie teaches anthropology at Malcolm-King College, which is located in America's premier anthroplogical site, New York City. She has had her work published in more than 80 magazines.