Schmidt Happens!

Posted on April 29, 2010


Native to south-eastern everywhere, neurologists (Neurologist neurologia) are naturally shy creatures who feed on physical sources of pain. Funnel-web spiders (Atrax robustus), meanwhile, are aggressive dicks that, contrary to popular opinion, are found as far north as Queensland (Hadronyche formidabilis) and as far south as Tasmania (Hadronyche pulvinator). As the name indicates, these little bastards are formidable and they live in trees and pulverise drop bears for breakfast.

A starving neurologist is not a pretty sight. Desperate for some form of nutrition, the gaunt beast will impulsively pin its victim down using its hollow, metallic claws to inject a glowing venom into the prey’s veins — turning them the colour of bruises — before secreting the intended meal away in its tube-like burrow and stunning it with loud doof music. (Neurologists have learned many of their prey-immobilisation techniques from the US military, but were not able to get the rights to Barney the Purple Dinosaur at time of press.) As you can no doubt tell, in many ways the neurologist is like the funnel-web spider.

In many more ways, the neurologist is nothing like the funnel-web. Neurologists can’t fly planes into buildings or claim the dole under false pretenses, for one and two. On the other hand, funnel-web spiders answer all your questions. ALL of them. Provided your questions are 1: OH HOLY JESUS WTF, YOU’RE KILLING ME??? and 2: ARRRRGGGHH, THAT FKN HURT YOU ARSEHAT!

Obviously, funnel-web spiders are bad at grammar. That is one of the things they have in common with neurologists, who can’t spell. Also, neither neurologists nor funnel-web spiders have yet to make it onto the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which is an oversight.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index is the Richter scale of insect bites. Named — in a clear slap in the face to Stigler’s law of eponymy — after entomologist Justin O. Schmidt, who let a bunch of bitey, stingy things bite and sting him in the name of pain-naming. Schmidt’s Sting Pain Index ranks sting-pain on a scale from 0 (goldfish shoals nibbling at your toes) to 4 (Ha ha ha, it will melt your nervous system and laugh at your unspeakable pain ha ha ha). More importantly, it reads like the wine list at a Barossa Valley kegger:

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 WC 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 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath (if you get stung by one you might as well lie down and scream).

4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail in your heel.

As noted, the Schmidt Sting Pain Index lacks detailing of the pain caused by a neurologist bite. Empirical evidence suggests this pain to rate a score of 3.5: Lacerating and melodramatic, like having a superheated ARIA Award shoved through your temple and not having any “physical” answers as to why.

The funnel-web, meanwhile, is thought to belong to a local chapter of the Bandidos, and is believed to be carrying a 9-mm pistol and a .22-caliber handgun. Police warn that the fearsome arachnid is still at large and is considered extremely dangerous.