So there I was on July 20, sitting alone at home in my upstairs office playing that massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft, when my wife in the adjoining room starts flipping out.

I know, because when we play Warcraft in different rooms, we use headsets equipped with microphones and communicate through Vent. Short for Ventrilo, Vent is Internet-based, surround-sound, group voice-communication software.

Our son Joel hooked us on this graphics-intensive game where players control a character avatar within a game world in third-person view — with a cool option to play in first-person — exploring landscapes, fighting various monsters, completing quests and interacting with nonplaying characters or other players.

Worldwide, 11.5 million people play the game, so you know it’s quite fun, but very addictive. It’s also advertised on the online Sun Journal Web site.

But on July 20 in the early evening, reality loomed.

There we were, deeply focused in game-play, and suddenly my wife yells out my real first name, rising panic in her voice.

So I’m frantically looking around in-game to see what’s attacking her character, and I’m seeing nothing, but hearing obvious terror.

Granted, a monster or character from the opposing faction can suddenly whack your character when you least expect it, causing you to jump, but this was a different kind of terror.

Then I hear her yell, “There’s a bird in here!”

And she gets all panicky, and I still can’t find any attacking vulture or flying dragon in the game. But after about 30 seconds, she yells and says it’s in our house in her room.

Aha! I yank the headset off and dash across the way to where she is, white-faced, terror-stricken and staring at the ceiling.

My eyes follow hers, and I see not a bird, but a large bat, probably a large brown bat, since it was bigger than a little brown bat. Maine has both species and a few others.

“That’s not a bird. That’s a bat,” I say matter-of-factly.

Totally wrong thing to say to your wife, guys.

She starts freaking out more.

“Why’d you have to say it was a bat?” she screams at my taken-aback look.

She can read Stephen King and Mark LaFlamme novels and watch horror movies and not reveal fright. But like many people, she has this innate fear of creepy-crawlies like snakes, mice, spiders and such.

Me, I’m a naturalist. I grew up trying to catch them for educational purposes.

Anyway, I grab one of my shirts and catch the equally panicked bat with it.

“It’s just a bat, honey,” I say, trying to calm her down, color slowly returning to her face now that immediate Alfred Hitchcock-ian danger has passed.

I take the bat outside into a dark area of the yard and release it, hoping it will stick around and eat up our resident mosquito population.

All my life, I’ve been told to put up bat houses, because bats control mosquito populations. Yeah, right.

Doing research for a story this week on mosquitoes, I find this very educational Web site: the American Mosquito Control Association.

And guess what? Bats do eat mosquitoes, but prefer more nutritionally filling bugs like moths and wasps, so they’re an ineffective skeeter-population control solution.

And then I learn from the site and field biologist Chuck Lubelczyk of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute Vector-Borne Disease Lab in Portland that mosquitoes are attracted to humans because we emit carbon dioxide and move. They also like us because many of us drink beer.

But I’ll be darned if I’m going to give up what little beer I drink and stop breathing just to avoid getting skeeter-bitten. I’ll just don my DEET armor and hold them off with an IED — insect electrocution device.

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