"Because stings of the same magnitude don’t necessarily feel the same, Schmidt has written haiku-like descriptions for each of the 83 sting entries:
Anthophorid bee, Pain Level 1, “Almost pleasant, a lover just bit your earlobe a little too hard.”
Maricopa harvester ant, Level 3, “After eight unrelenting hours of drilling into that ingrown toenail, you find the drill wedged into the toe.”
Termite-raiding ant, Level 2, “The debilitating pain of a migraine contained in the tip of your finger.”
Club-horned wasp, Level 0.5, “Disappointing. A paper clip falls on your bare foot.”
~Avi Steinberg, in his fascinating article about entomologist Justin Schmidt from New York Times magazine. This is one of those pieces that cracks open the way you see the world to let the light in. So good.
"Pain helps a predator learn. Schmidt’s book is, in a sense, a memoir of one predator’s education..."
"Meeting a wild tarantula hawk, which is as visually pleasing as it is mysterious, I could understand why Schmidt talks about stings in the language of aesthetics, like a connoisseur. It isn’t about masochism, or machismo, but about the desire to grasp each and every molecule of a thing, even the sharp ones, which is, in that way, a bit like love. Seeing this flamboyant solitary wasp, whose venom helped keep it alive on earth many millions of years before humans first appeared, the beauty of the sting was self-evident: not for the pain it causes, but for the life it sustains."
This is a wild soul-book