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Wasps
7-11-05
Introduction

Imagine. You're sitting in lunch; you're talking amongst your friends when you spot Derek, your arch-nemesis approaching your table. "Hello" is the word formulated by his forked tongue. "Hello" you respond between your gritted teeth.

You see him eyeing your cup of apple sauce. You begin to sweat. If he only looks slightly to the left, he will find your Rugrats fruit snacks, which you know he cannot resist stealing. He begins to walk away, so you let down your guard, but suddenly, he turns! It was a fake! He grabs your fruit snacks and starts running for the door. "He's getting away!" shouts a bystander, so you muster up the deepest voice you can and say straight into the camera "not if I can stop him."

You reach into your pocket for your trusty paper wasps that you made in math class and whip the rubber band off your wrist. You load the wasp into your launcher and release. For a glistening second, this small wad of paper sails through the air. Time stops, then BULLSEYE! You smack Derek in the back of the head and he tumbles headlong to the ground. You saved the day! (or at least your day).

So, maybe this scenario was a little elaborate, but you get the picture. A wasp is essentially a wad of paper that, when handled correctly can be made into a powerful weapon.

What you need:
Rubber band

An excellent dramatic shot of an exemplary rubber band specimen
You can't really go wrong when choosing a rubber band. Just make sure that it isn't old and dry rotted and that it has plenty of flex to it.
Paper

Notice that this paper is already a little shredded RIGHT OUT OF THE PACKAGE!
The only thing you need to make sure of with you paper is that you don't use the crappy kind that you get for free when you turn in used printer cartridges at Office Max (you'll see why later). I would recommend Mead brand, or even better, that stuff that has the laminated holes (the kind that all the rich kids have).
"Hatching" your wasp
Preparing the paper

The first thing you need is a strip of paper. The regulation size for a wasp is margin width. The ideal method for cutting a piece of paper is creasing it back and forth several times along the line you wish to cut, then ripping the whole sheet in half and crumpling it up. On your second try, you may want to wet the crease with a swift lick of the tongue. This will aid in the tearing process. (be careful! A paper cut is no way to injure yourself before battle).


Careful....careful...
The wrong way to roll

The next step is the roll. Now, many wasp enthusiasts may tell you to start folding your strip of paper rather loosely. These are the kind of people that will eat a paper sandwich while they futilely try to retaliate. What this method saves in speed of production, it loses in inaccuracy. A wasp like this:


Will flutter to the ground a few yards after launch
The right way to roll
You want to make sure that you start your roll as small as possible. It should look more like a dent in the paper than a fold
Now, continue to fold this very tiny fold over itself as tightly as possible.

Once these folds start to become round, you should be able to simply roll your fingers over the top. Now you should have your roll completed:


Don't do drugs!
Completing your wasp

All you have to do now is fold it! This may be harder than it looks depending on the quality of paper used. You may have to bend it over the corner of your desk to get it started.

Here's a picture of a well folded waspThis is the first wasp I tried to make for this article with the aforementioned crappy paper. I didn't even think this was possible
Firing your wasp

This part will take plenty of practice. As mentioned in the over-dramatized opening of this article, it's probably best to keep your rubber band on your wrist. You can even paint it yellow to camouflage it.

When firing, if you are right handed, stretch the rubber band between the thumb and index finger of your right hand. If you are left handed, hold it the same way in your left hand then go to Dicks Sporting Goods and tell them to stop ordering so many damn lefty hockey sticks when nobody buys them.

Hold the wasp in your other hand so that the rubber band falls into the V of the wasp. If you made it well, you shouldn't have to pinch the wasp too hard, because its rigidity should hold it in place. Here's a picture:


Sorry that this picture is out of focus, but my third hand is not too articulate with a digital camera.
Now all you have to do is let go! Aiming a wasp is a little difficult, but with practice, you should get to be surprisingly accurate. Once in the 6th grade, I gave a kid a bruise the size of a quarter in the leg from 20 feet away.
Modding your wasp
I'm only going to briefly mention this. Some delinquents don't think that quarter sized bruises are enough. These people often like to engineer their wasps with an extra kick. Anything that is pointy can be mixed with a wasp to make a deadly weapon. I've seen people add paper clips, staples, and even 3/4 inch upholstery staples to their creations. This is extremely dangerous, and I do not recommend that you try it.
Conclusion
Well, there you have it. With a few of these babies in your pocket, you can defend yourself in classroom combat.