The Mosquito Man...the Pied Piper of my childhood. Why, oh why, was it so much fun to ride our bikes behind him, lost in the dense poisonous fog he sprayed throughout the neighborhood to kill the mosquitoes?
But there's no doubt it was one of the highlights of summer...just the words "Mosquito Man" caught our attention, sent us searching and listening for the distinctive hissing sound as much as the dinging bell of the other favorite visitor, the Popsicle Man.
Sometime in the late 60's or early 70's someone realized the spray was toxic to humans as well as to mosquitoes, and as a result, the Mosquito Man only paid visits to the neighborhood late at night, when little children were supposed to be tucked into bed and there was less danger of a fan club trailing along behind his truck.
But the damage was done. Millions of us inhaled the toxins and I'm sure many, like me, are now wondering what effect it had or will have on us. That's why a recent article in the Schafer Autism Report (which I read for my job) caught my eye: "Study Singles Out Pesticide in Parkinson's Report."
My older sister Brenda has Parkinson's, another reason why this article caught my eye. It says genetics can play a part, but environmental factors can, too. And we share both. We are sisters, growing up in the same house, the same neighborhood, near the same chemical plants and sprayed by the same mosquito man.
The article also says scientists have actually pinpointed a specific chemical that is related to Parkinson's and that perhaps, at some point in the near future, individuals at high risk could be tested and given drugs to protect their brains.
God bless scientists! And Mosquito Man, wherever you are, I forgive you. It really was fun.
photo courtesy of my 'brother' Don Barrett, who found it somewhere in cyberspace I'm guessing...and who also used to follow the 'skeeter man'...