A few interesting facts I acquired this summer that I did not expect to learn:
- Bats are disgusting little creatures
- Bats are everywhere, especially in Georgia and Michigan
- Even a little exposure to bats means you might have rabies
- Rabies, once symptoms are onset, is 100% lethal in humans
You ask, why do you know this, John??? Allow me to explain.
One of my first nights back in Atlanta, I was staying at my parent’s house. My friend and colleague, Travis Todd, was also there, as we were in the midst of a week of meetings. Around 3am, I was awoken by the sound of a bird trying to get into the window. . . or so I thought. This seemed strange, but I tried to blow it off and get back to sleep. Instantly, I heard the sound of violent wings frantically fluttering above my bed.
I stumbled to the door, flipped on the light, and saw a bird (later found out it was a bat) flying hysterically in circles around the light/fan in the middle of the room. Being the man of bravery that I am, I chose to shut the door and deal with it in the morning. I retreated to the next room to salvage what was left of a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, I got Travis to guard me as I opened the door, fully expectant of a vigorous bird attack. To my surprise, there was nothing. No bird. No feathers. Nothing in the line of evidence of what I saw that previous night.
Upon telling my family of the bird invasion, they basically laughed it off. I am a notorious sleep walker and talker. It began as a child and has followed me into adulthood. My family passed off my night-time bird sighting as a vivid dream. I was certain of what I saw, though. . . at least 80% certain.
The following week my parents hosted “Camp Meme and Pops” at their home for three of my nephews. The three day extravaganza included such things as Stone Mountain, movies, tons of junk food & Wii, and a trip to Lego Land. I jumped in on the Lego Land portion of it, as is pictured above.
Back to my bat story. . . by this time, I had basically gotten past the whole bird in my room thing. Even I began to doubt myself, as everyone else had taken to joking with me about (what was obviously) my delusional sleep visions. The second night of “Camp”, my nephew Stephen told us that he also woke up that night to the sounds and sites of a bird. He opened his bedroom door and saw it fly out towards John Robert and Nathan’s room. Now people FINALLY believed me. Apparently Stephen is more trustworthy than I am in my family’s eyes.
Still, we didn’t think much of it. So a bird is loose in the house. . . no big deal.
Three days later, I was back on the road to return to my Asian home. On my way back to Asia, I stopped off in Petoskey, Michigan to meet up with my close friends Rankin and Morgen Wilbourne. Rankin has become among my best friends and is the pastor of a church in Los Angeles, Pacific Crossroads Church. We try to get time together whenever possible. This time it was perfect since I was flying out of Detroit and they were vacationing close by.
The first night of two that I was with the Wilbournes, we were enjoying the Olympics and good conversation. Morgen went to check on their children, Jack and Emi Bea, only to find a BAT flying over their cribs while the kids were fast asleep. Seriously?!?!?! They followed me to Michigan?!?!?!
Morgen, one of the most composed persons I know, yelled suddenly to Rankin. Rankin tore up the steps to the rescue and called for me to join him. Problem. . . we quickly realized that neither of us particularly like animals and both are rather creeped out by things such as rats, bats, and snakes. However, it was time to do battle with this revolting little critter, no matter what we thought of bats. Upon seeing the bat fly, I was now CERTAIN what I saw in Atlanta was, in fact, a bat.
The first round of the Bat Battle was on. . . and it wasn’t pretty. We did get the kids out of the room fairly quickly. That was good. We were left with a fairly angry seeming bat doing kamikaze swoops all over the room. That was not good.
Rankin and I prepared a plan.
- craw across the room and open the window in the dark
- exit the room, also in the dark crawling across the floor, and get out on the roof
- shine a light, my iPad actually, into the window so the bat would fly out on his own
Seemed simple enough. Though it was sloppy and a little cowardly, we executed the plan. It was complete with the bat flying all around us as we fumbled in the dark to open this awkward window in an attic room of a house built in the 1890s, but we did it. We positioned ourselves out on the roof, turned on my iPad, and waited for victory to come swooping by and out into the night air.
Problem was that there was now no longer the sound of the bat coming from within the room. Surely it didn’t exit in the 10 seconds it took us to get out of the room and to the roof! We two proud warriors went back into the room and discovered NOTHING. Like in Atlanta, no sign whatsoever of a bat or anything resembling a bat.
We assumed the best, went to bed after a little more Olympic coverage, and felt assured we had come out on top of the Bat Battle. We were wrong.
A few hours later, I was in my room reading when my door swung open. The bat was back and this time was flying over Rankin and Morgen’s bed!
The second round of the Bat Battle was on. . . Rankin, Morgen, and I crouched outside of their bedroom door looking in through a slight crack. For a third time in two weeks, I sat outside a door looking at a bat frantically fly inside a bedroom. Not cool.
We quickly decided upon the first strategy again, as this room was a similar setup. We flipped off the lights, shut the door completely, and waited a bit to compose ourselves, assign roles, and gather our courage.
We ripped open the door and crawled as if enemy fire was whistling past our heads. We opened the window, but then realized that we didn’t hear the bat at all anymore. We turned the lights back on and scanned the room. Randomly enough, the little repugnant varmint was laying on Morgen and Rankin’s bed barely moving. I would like to believe he was in shock over the terror of seeing Rankin and me.
We put a trash can over the little menace, slid a long, flat children’s book under the bat and trash can, and immediately threw all three out of the window of this two-story vacation home. This adventure was over. . . or so we thought.
Rankin told the story in his latest sermon. He is hilarious in telling it. He tells the story at the 12 minute mark of the sermon (click here for the sermon). The sermon itself, as is the case with all of Rankin’s sermons, is tremendous. I strongly suggest you listen to the sermon and any others that Rankin does.