In reference to Bob Mount’s column last week about yellow jackets, my inability to avoid these painful stingers led to my decision about 15 years ago to retire from yard work.

In my last two years as a “yard man,” I was stung more times than a flea hops.

I did not know at the time that jackets mark their victims in the sense that they can smell you coming if they have stung you before.

I hope Bob Mount reads this and will correct me if I’m wrong, but a fellow codger told me that he checked it in Wikipedia: Once a Jacket stings you you’re marked as an enemy of the state, and when you make this sting list, you’re stung at will.

Yet another codger told me that jackets, unlike bees, can just keep on stinging.

A bee can sting only once because its stinger hooks onto the victim. When the bee tries to pull its stinger out of the victim it is pulled from the bee’s body instead, causing it to die.

You might say a bee’s sting is its last fling.

The jacket, on the other hand, has a smooth stinger. It can pull out with no problem, and is ready to sting again immediately.

And so it was that after retiring from yard work, I was freed from the sting, but that wasn’t all.

I also became free from asthma. I did not realize this for a long time, but I don’t have asthma

any more. I cannot say for sure that giving up yard work got rid of my asthma, but the truth is that I don’t have asthma anymore.

I guess I could just as easily say that avoiding the stings of the yellow jackets cured my asthma, but that doesn’t make any sense.

It makes more sense to say that when I stopped mowing grass, trimming bushes, chopping weeds or doing anything that created dust or stirred pollen, I alleviated some of the causes of asthma.

The truth is, however, that I did have a problem with asthma during cold months as well as hot months.

Years ago a doctor told me that in some males asthma develops at the ages of 10 or 14 then fades

at 20, but returns at 40. That was pretty much my pattern, so I guess you could say my asthma simply

faded away at 65.

I do not, however, believe that my asthma just faded away at 65, but the truth remains that here I am at 78

without asthma or the stings of the yellow jackets. So my advice to every one is to retire from yard work immediately.

Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at