Setting out on a hike through the woods one day, I was soon attacked by a pesky mosquito. As it lit upon my arm, I dispatched him with a smack. But it reminded me that, foolishly, I had forgotten to apply insect repellent before I left the cabin. Before long, I was beset by a whole swarm of mosquitoes. Although there was a nice breeze rustling the leaves of the trees overhead, it couldn’t penetrate the forest canopy, leaving me an easy target in the still air of the forest floor.
Now the annoying, buzzing “eeeeeeeee” sound made by their tiny wings was all around me. I flailed at them in vain, unable to keep all of them from lighting and biting. I cursed my foolishness and simultaneously prayed for God to deliver me from this awful swarm.
Suddenly, the wind in the treetops died and without the sound of the rustling leaves, the forest became quite still. The sound of the mosquitoes was now clearer and, to my amazement, seemed to emanate not from their wings but from tiny voices. I rubbed my ears in disbelief, but the voices seem to grow clearer. They seemed to be chanting something and I listened closely.
“Freeeeeeeeee trade!” “Freeeeeeeeee trade!” they all seemed to be chanting in unison. “Why do you keep chanting ‘freeeeeeeeee trade?'” I asked the mosquitoes, not really expecting a reply because I was sure I had gone mad at this point. But to my surprise, a very eloquent mosquito replied “because freeeeeeeeee trade is a wonderful thing for us.” He went on to explain: “Through freeeeeeeeee trade with you, we sustain ourselves by feeding on you, and you can sustain yourself by feeding upon us.” “That’s not really true,” I replied, now beginning to itch profusely. “While you can sustain yourselves by sipping my blood, you don’t have enough blood to sustain me, even if I were to eat all of you whole,” trying to ignore the distasteful picture I had just painted in my own mind. “That’s your problem,” replied the mosquito. “For us, freeeeeeeee trade is wonderful! Freeeeeeeeee trade! Freeeeeeeeee trade!”
Then I became aware of another mosquito’s voice that seemed slightly out of tune with the others. He perched on the leaf of an overhanging branch and seemed too sick to fly. I listened very closely. “Freeeeeeeeee trade is bad!” he was saying. I asked the eloquent mosquito why this one seemed to be in disagreement with the rest. He explained, “that one is beset by microscopic mites which are feeding on his blood.” “For him, free trade isn’t working out so well.” I asked, “But you said that free trade is wonderful!” “We only say that when it works to our advantage,” he replied.
Now I became angry and, while drawing back my open palm to take a swipe at this deceitful little pest, I suddenly remembered – as though my prayer had been answered – that I always carried a tiny sample bottle of mosquito repellent in my shirt pocket for just such emergencies. But before applying, I was curious to know what it was that was so effective against the diabolical pests. I checked the label and found the words, “Contains D.E.E.T.” “What exactly is D.E.E.T.?”, I wondered. Squinting at the fine print in the parentheses following that abbreviation, I read the words “Dynamic Economy-Energizing Tariffs.” I applied it liberally and watched the cloud of parasitic freeloaders vanish like magic, their chant fading once again to a faint “eeeeeeeeee” as they went in search of some other D.E.E.T.-less fool! I continued on my way, freed of this pestilence and feeling more healthy and alive than ever, taking in and enjoying all the wonderful sights and sounds of the forest.