By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
Anyone wanting to become a reporter should be asked this hypothetical question:
You’re out covering a story about the removal of a large bee hive. You’re standing close enough to take decent photos, but not right on top of the hive. Do you a) go sit in your car and wait until the bees are gone, b) stand very, very far away regardless of how bad the photos will be, or c) not worry about it, assuming the bees will recognize your status as an independent journalist uninvolved in the violence being done to their hive?
I chose “c,” and it was not the right answer, although I’m still unsure of what the correct answer is.
Sure, a couple of the bees came and buzzed around, checking out my camera, but they flew away. Then one of them decided to kill the messenger and stung me on my top lip. This happened Monday and it wasn’t until Wednesday that I started to look human again. Imagine less Angelina Jolie and more the Elephant Man’s daughter.
People’s reactions have been interesting. Several women in my office have been examining my face each day like amateur scientists to see the degree to which the swelling was receding.
A bunch of people have wanted to compare bug bites or stings, to which I’ve generally pointed out that it was my lip. Lips are very sensitive, especially girl lips. You can only top my sting if yours was on your eyeball or in your pants, but nothing less.
OK, there was a guy out in Kerens who got stung a bazillion times by angry bees, I’ll bow to him. But you with your fire ant sting on the elbow, or a scorpion sting on the toe? Go to the back of the line, Chuckles.
I’m not sure when I became competitive about bug bites, though, which is just irrational. I blame it on the bee venom in my head.
Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve done something stupid on the job.
When I was in Austin, one of my jobs on the night shift was to chase tornadoes. I’d get in my car and navigate around fallen power lines and tree limbs as my editor would tell me via cell phone which way to turn in pursuit of this huge whirling engine of death in the dark.
Of course, I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d ever managed to catch one. I was a writer. I could have drawn a nice analogy, perhaps.
Here’s one: Getting stung by a bee in the face is like slamming your finger in a car door — a lot of pain initially, a lousy lingering ache for hours afterwards, and then it’s just numb and sore.
Except, of course, it was my lip.
Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at
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