Throwing Muses
Kristin Hersh
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"Ant Rant" by Kristin Hersh, June 30 2006
(Originally published on

We came home a few weeks ago to a house full of ants. Ants were eating our food, drinking our beer, wearing our clothes. Ants do this. They invite themselves over and refuse to leave. They make pests of themselves. Also? They bite. They bite me, anyway. Billy says that’s because I’m not patient. His theory is that ants only pester impatient people as a little reminder to them to be patient.

I guess. But the only thing I’m really impatient about right now is getting these ants out of my house. They bit Wyatt, too, our 9 year old, and he’s pretty goddamn patient. He’s our Charles Wallace. He can catch any animal (“Can I keep him, Mom? I already named him–I call him Angry ’cause that’s what he is!”) and grow any plant. Right now, we have no real yard to speak of, yet he’s growing lentils, sunflowers, blackberries, dill, roses, a cactus, beets, cantaloupes, irises, basil, blueberries, aloe and a Venus fly trap.

But ants can get to anyone. They’re really annoying. When the ant bit Wyatt, he yelled, “If Nature was a guy, he’d be crazy!”. This from the kid who said, “Instinct is biological education”. I tried telling him that the ant bit him instinctively and he answered, “Yeah, I know. I hate him.”

Well, I have to say, I hate him too and I hate all his friends. I’ve gotten very good with my squirtgun full of Trader Zen (a Trader Joe’s cleaning product that contains grain alcohol or something else I might drink, so it kills them instantly). And still they send wave after wave of little soldiers onto the battlefield of the kitchen counter — why? Hardly anybody ever returns from these missions. Idiots.

Ryder, our 14 year old, says they must think it’s some sort of insect Valhalla. That no one ever bothers to come back because it’s so great there. Maybe. Idiots. At least Vikings understood that you had to die first.

And don’t tell me not to hate ants. Whenever I say I hate ants, somebody tells me not to. They usually quote T.V. — “I saw a nature special on ants once; they’re very advanced. They have war…and…slavery…”


By the way, I heard the completed solo album for the first time last night. Nine months in the making, like a big, fat, angry baby. Joe’s finished mastering it (again!) and it is brutal–in a good way. I gotta call everyone who worked on it and thank them. It’s a real gift to be completely happy with a record; it almost never happens. I owe them all “five bucks and a candy bar”, as Martin says.