mosquito trucks, ddt clouds, and me

southern people of a certain age will identify with this, for sure.

when i was a kid, living in a fairly swampy area of north florida, mosquito control was a big deal. in the county i grew up in (citrus), it was probably the main reason to have a government at all, other than keeping the jail open.

mosquito control consisted of a truck that prowled all the county streets and roads on a regular basis. the truck had a tank and a compressor or something, and it spewed a voluminous white fog that would spread through the neighborhood and ostensibly kill all of the mosquitoes. you could hear it coming from quite a distance, so you had fair warning of when it was headed your way.

and the kids in the neighborhood (me included) would hear the truck, and run out into the yard to await its arrival. when it came, we’d run behind the truck for blocks, playing tag and running in the dense fog, running and breathing deeply and heavily until we were bone tired and quit from exhaustion.

geez, louise. had we lost our minds?

or, more accurately, i suppose, have we now lost our minds?

and where were our parents during all this? did not one of them have the sense to tell us not to play in the fog?


so i was telling this story to kirk this morning, and i got to thinking about it. so i did what anyone would do.

i googled.

and by googling i found out that the thick fog in the late ’60s was ddt, and that louisiana still has to tell people not to run behind the truck, and that errol morris shows the mosquito truck in his movie called vernon, florida.

and i also found out that by googling mosquito truck ddt you can read about an entire generation of people who ran behind the mosquito truck like i did.

i hope that kids today are smarter than we were. i think they are.

and i think that, unlike us, they may stay that way. i think i killed a lot of brain cells over the years, running behind that truck. not to mention what all else might still happen in the future.

ddt. ddt. wow.