Yes, I have many skills. I am able to get an extra week or two out of a tube of toothpaste my kids deemed empty. I know how to fold a fitted sheet, though I choose not to. I’m also very adept at sharpening color pencils with both powered and manual hand held sharpeners. I can practically hear your “firework reactions” already. “Oooooh. Ahhhhh. WOOOOAH!”

This summer I decided to take up a new hobby. I’m now an official “Ant trainer.” This is not to be confused with “Aunt trainer,” which I was a master of at a young age. I learned very quickly how to deter some of my wonderful aunts’ desires to pinch my youthful chubby cheeks. Typically, my great speed of foot was all that was necessary, as long as I detected the pinch in advance. In the event I was distracted by a heavily frosted cake, a baseball, or a developing game of Capture the Flag with cousins, and didn’t notice a stalking aunt in time, I’d refer to my fine acting skills. Simply pretending to be nauseous and bending at the waist always did the trick. Unfortunately, it also removed my eligibility status for partaking of cake for a time.

No, this type of training, the training of insects, requires more than just acting skills. It requires patience, a plot of grass, and a brain at least twice the size of an ant. Two out of three is sufficient.

A careful eye will see a finely manicured path leading through my lawn. Like north and south going sneetches (Dr. Seuss reference), you’ll also notice ants following the path in either direction with near flawless obedience. The positive implications for this form of training should be obvious.

At this point in my training, the ants are merely transferring items that are beneficial to their own lives. Tiny edible crumbs and small fragments of dried grass for nesting are most common. Soon, a subtle transition will occur. I’ll gradually increase the size of their cargo, so as not to alert them to my grand design. If all goes as planned, these unsuspecting ants will be moving and stacking firewood for me by autumn.

As to be expected, every group seems to have a bad apple. This is the little guy that thought the path was an “optional” route across my lawn. He’s spending a brief time in isolation until his attitude is adjusted. Defiant little creature.