Bees and Bumblers

IMG_4547It is a little self absorbed (even by blogger standards) to think that anyone other than me would be interested in what I wrote 20 years ago in a spiral notebook.  But, hey, it’s Throwback Thursday, I have a 20th reunion coming up, and also my mom reads my blog. So here goes.

The entry is from a notebook I was using for a Constitutional Law class. Prior to re-reading the notebook, main thing I remembered about this class (which purportedly explored the concept of judicial activism as it related to public policy decisions of the early to mid 20th century) was how I had a crush on this guy in the class and I was always trying to figure out how to sit next to him.

Come to think of it, that was like totally wrong given that I was busy writing heartfelt, melodramatic love letters to my long-distance boyfriend at the time.   Don’t worry, I never strayed.  (Obvs! as if a girl who tried to make her move in a Constitutional Law class, would have any clue about that sort of thing!)

Anyway, my notes regarding the actual substance of the course are incomprehensible.  This is not surprising, given that I did not comprehend the substance of the course.  But, then there was this page about a time when we were interrupted…


A bumble bee came into class today and disrupted things.  The professor stopped his lecture and said, “We should get that out of here.”  So we all sat in our seats and watched it buzz around for a while.

It got confused by the lights on the ceiling and it kept bumping into the bulbs.  Someone turned off the lights, presumably to help the bee find its way out through the open windows.  Then the bee started buzzing into the glass, not quite finding an opening.

Then, suddenly, Chris jumped up from his seat and, to the cheers of the students, smashed the bee with his notebook.


I don’t remember who Chris was (or if that was his real name) but I know I have met him frequently in the 20 years since I’ve left college.  He’s a nice enough guy.  He knows how to seize a moment, to take action, to eliminate obstacles. He’s successful.  He can ignore distraction and focus on the project at hand.  Who knows, 20 years post graduation he might be spearheading, an effort to “save the bees.”  He might be hosting several black tie fundraisers in his Tribeca loft to advance this cause.  There are probably plenty of people applauding his efforts.

Still, I feel a little bad for the bee.

Worker bees like the one buzzing in the classroom that day are only allowed out of the hive at the end of their life cycle.  Before they are permitted to forage for nectar and pollen, they must first perform the duties of “housekeeper, nursemaid, construction worker, grocer, undertaker, and guard” (citation here).  So it is a little sad and pathetic that she was smacked down like that (to cheers!)–right when she was finally doing (albeit in a clumsy and incompetent manner) what she was supposed to be doing as a bee.

I know we are just talking about an insect here. But in reconsidering this episode, I see how the tendencies on display here are played out in other ways.  We often cheer on and celebrate those who are “good at what they do” without considering whether “they are doing good.”   It is easy to rally behind winners.  They throw better parties for one, and, “OMG, bumblers can be so annoying!”  

Still, it is important to remember that as awkward and circuitous as their route may be, the bumblers might be on to something.  Even if they are not, and they are destined to spend their lives noisily bumping into a window pane, they could use (and would definitely appreciate) a little encouragement.

About MotherJam

Trying to be insightful. But mostly just avoiding housework and ignoring my children.
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2 Responses to Bees and Bumblers

  1. Lorraine says:

    Molly, where are you???is all ok?? Hope to see u on 17th in Edge.

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