A few years ago when I was in the hospital to have some weird body parts removed from my body, one of the ways I entertained myself was in contemplation of the Wong-Baker Pain Scale(see below). I practiced forming a parabola with my mouth, and then reversing it. I practiced flattening and tilting my eyebrows. Mostly, though, I just found it impossible to be sure that the pain I was describing was a whole lot or the worst when I could only feel one pain-set at a time. I was lucky too, in that I generally hovered between 2 and 3.
So imagine my glee when CSB returned from the beekeepers meeting last night with information about the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. It is to the Wong-Baker Index what Nabokov is to Dr. Seuss. I don’t know Justin Schmidt but I feel confident that in addition to being a fine research scientist, he is a poet manqué. His analogies for the pain inflicted by various stinging insects are nothing short of brilliant. It is like going to a wine tasting for pain.
* 1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
* 1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
* 1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
* 2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
* 2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
* 2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
* 3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
* 3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
* 4.0 Tarantula hawk: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.
* 4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.
(All bug pictures are from Wikipedia Commons except the honeybees, and they are ours. I couldn't find a picture of the Bullhorn Acacia ant, so beware.)