Il morso delle termiti

My headline this morning is from L’Osservatore Romano, a paper I frequently consult because the print edition is available for free as a PDF, and the graphic design is gorgeous. Too, I am curious what it will say, for instance this past week on the Viganò revelations. Alas, I could not find a single mention of them, but a headline in the centrefold of this morning’s edition seems somehow apt. It is over a long article on “the bite of termites” which, as ever, have been chewing away at the woodwork of various Italian shrines, of art-historical interest if no other.

Note my calm. Having lived many years in the tropics, I am familar with termiti; and having once paid what I thought an exorbitant sum for the repair of a verandah roof they had infested even in the temperate zone, I cannot be surprised by their behaviour. I will not indulge in the virtue-signalling that inveighs against the depredations of termites.

Indeed, from the POV of any individual termite, the scandal is that we are trying to interfere with their work. Termites, I imagine, find men a brutal and incomprehensible species, given to a monstrous bigotry against them. We are what they might call, “termitiphobes.”

A man of broad sympathies, I can understand their consternation. I must freely acknowledge that I have personally sinned, with respect to these innocent Isopterans, and would sin again if offered the temptation. Should they, for instance, threaten my books, I would exterminate them without mercy.

Well, gentle reader, make of this what thou wilt.