Fears and panics come and go. SARS, swine flu, killer bees, Justin Bieber…
What ever happened to the dangerous moth epidemic which assuredly must have been rampant back when our grandparents were packing away their clothes many decades ago? If pop culture is to be believed, a sweater put away for the winter would instantly turn to rags when left to itself. But Grandma and Grandpa fought back with an array of mothballs and mothball products. Which I suppose fought off the angry moth invasion, but left just about every stored item unusable due to the foul smelling poison. Our family has had items passed to it that still reek of this foul substance. And it’s been what, 40 years? And I thought cigarette smoke never seemed to go away. Did people break out these mothball-infused clothes every fall and winter and actually wear them? Without passing out? Or making others sick? I’m sure whatever is in there has probably been declared a carcinogen by the State of California (but to be fair, most of my favorite products are on that list).
Well, for many excellent reasons obvious to all, we don’t use that ridiculous crap anymore. Saving a sweater is not worth breathing in that suicide-inducing smell. But wait… Where are the moths? When I pick up a sweater when winter comes around…to my surprise, it’s actually an intact sweater. No matter what happens in the cartoons. (And worms CANNOT eat an entire house or restaurant in 10 seconds either, makers of SpongeBob!) It’s not a few scraps of cloth accompanied by a taunting note from a moth. It’s exactly like it was when I put it away.
What has happened to these destructive moths? Have their numbers dwindled? No, I still see them flying around my outside lights. Did they teach future generations to stay away from clothes or risk certain death by noxious mothball? Perhaps the moth has been unfairly maligned by an insidious wave of propaganda. And what is a moth, but just a dark butterfly? Everyone loves butterflies, but moths were the target of a systematic attempt at genocide, possibly due to skin color alone. Never again!