It takes a lot of bees to make a small quantity of honey and I know why this is; it is because they have such small nipples
. I picture them, in my mind, with eight nipples apiece in two rows of four, lying on their backs, waggling their bee legs in the air. Just as a happy female dog
might lie on its back, with its legs in the air, showing her nipples to all the world without shame. I keep my nipples
hidden, they do not produce honey, not like a bee's nipples.
The process of extracting honey from the bee animal is a complex one which involves tiny metal tweezers, and this is why the Roman Empire was so famed for its intricate metal-work; the only sweetness in Italy and the Mediterranean at the time of Christ came from the honey bee, because Sugar Puffs had not yet been invented, because tea had not yet been imported from China and there was no incentive for the ancient Romans to extract sugar from... the sweat of the Honey Monster. Can you see how the path of human invention is made up of little connections? Without the invention of tweezers, there would be no way to fondle the breasts of the bee, just as without the invention of rope there would be no hangman's noose, and beneath the pavement, there is a beach.
Leather was, of course, widespread at the time of Christ. The Bible has many accounts of Jesus' leatherwear, of the straps and harnesses he wore whilst building houses and painting things and so forth; it is often forgotten that the art of carpentry is a tough, physical art, a direct art of the heart, and Jesus would never have attracted the following he did without his carpenter's hands, his strong hands, like a doctor's hands. There is much in common between the two, Jesus and Howard Dean, the one a doctor of houses, the other a carpenter of general medicine. I mention leather because it was often used to strap the bees down, lest they sting the milker. This explains the origin of Blue Öyster Cult's most famous song, "Don't Sting the Milker", a big hit in the late 1970s. I have never seen a blue oyster, neither have I been part of a cult.
Sadly, whereas a cow can be milked again and again and again - I have seen this, and I know it to be true, the cows love it, they love it - a bee can only be milked once. It then enters a period of deep depression, after which it dies. If only they knew to what good their honey would be put; they would be glad to give it up. I personally am not a fan of honey; when someone mentions the word, I tend to think of the word in the affectionate sense, because I have more experience of affection than I do of honey. Perhaps it was my upbringing, perhaps it is Britain, but honey is not as widespread as it was. It is extracted nowadays from peanut oil and tree sap, there is no longer any need to milk the bees, indeed the skill has withered away; the human limb for bee-milking has atrophied.
I had never really thought to question it, until now; a breakfast snack called 'Sugar Puffs', advertised by the 'Honey Monster' - surely sugar is better than honey? Why is the monster not called the 'Sugar Monster'? This will mean nothing to my American audience. To those people I say, go here: