The green-eyed bane of our beach basking experience has a cure in a green bottle.
You have only a few days left to experience a Greenhead bite
No Cape vacation is complete without one, but we have a remedy
The August high tides this weekend will take with them this entire 2007 generation of Greenhead Flies, the bane of the boater and bather.
They appear during a similar tide in July, and stay around biting us for a month.
From the Cape Cod Canal to Ptown , anyone basking on our beaches between the full moons of July and August can pretty much be guaranteed a bite or three by the female greenhead fly.
The breed is resistant to insecticides and so plentiful that entomologists at Rutgers University have trapped them at a rate of 1,000 per hour. Luckily for us they are found in far greater numbers in that truncated cape to our north.
The first greenhead arrives with the first wave of school-free vacationers around the July Fourth weekend, and the last one leaves around now after a month of feasting on our flesh.
And despite our placing a man on the moon, winning the Cold War and having the "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, America has not yet found an effective repellent against this pesky, green-eyed carnivores.
That is, everyone in America except Stephen X. Peckham of Centerville and Nantucket.
God in His wisdom
made the fly
And then forgot
to tell us why.
~Ogden Nash, "Tanker A? What in darnation is Tanker A?"
Steve, the X stands for his language skills, has discovered the perfect, effective and eagerly sought preventative lotion.
And not just any gin, Tanqueray Gin.
No, this is not a joke. I am a teetotaler ("Lips which touch whiskey will never touch mine"), and I have seen the proof with my own eyes at Stephen Peckham's "Live Earth" party last month.
The greenheads weren't invited but arrived with the dessert, and soon the fair damsels, bare-legged as usual, were slapping away at these one-inch long, green-eyed insects.
That's when Steve brought out his bottle of Tanqueray Gin... and began to swab in all over the lasses' legs.
And they were instantly free from the Greenheads. Honestly, it works, or at least it works until you get pulled over by a State Trooper on your drive home and try to explain the gin stench in your car.
Ode to Peckham's Pest Punch
Since all great men need a Boswell, I'll be Steve's with the following limerick;
Said Peckham, whose first name is Steve,
"Greenhead bites are a cinch to relieve.
While I agree it's a sin,
To waste a good gin,
Tangueray works the best, I believe."