Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson: Changes may be coming for Georgia's 'Gnat Line'

When I was a child, which was literally months ago, few things were more annoying than gnats.

Sure, homework was also pretty annoying, but it at least supposedly served some kind of purpose -- or would have, had I chosen to do it. But gnats really serve no purpose. Sure, some scientists will insist they are vital to the food chain, but they're really only eaten by talkative bicyclists. And as far as I'm concerned, any animal that's not big enough to be made into a McNugget doesn't belong in the food chain.

Besides, scientists are the same folks who tell you that there's such a thing as man-made climate change and that the sun is 93 million miles away from Earth, as if someone has a measuring tape that long. (If they do, I suggest being very careful reeling that sucker back in.)

Everyone who's not a scientist and has spent any time in Georgia south of a line from Columbus to Macon to Augusta is well aware of how annoying gnats can be. They'll swarm you and visit icky places like your nostrils and ear canals, which makes you wonder what exactly they're looking for and what they're gonna do when they find it.

Beyond the great mystery of what gnats want is the Gnat Line, created by an act of the Georgia General Assembly way back in 1926 by powerful Atlanta-area legislators who didn't want annoying creatures like gnats or New York Yankees fans anywhere near Atlanta. In order to pass the legislation, they had to enlist the support of other city slicker lawmakers from Columbus, Macon and Augusta, who agreed to host the start of the Gnat Line and prevent gnat immigration to the northern part of the state.

The Gnat Line also is known by some as the Fall Line, which is where the ocean reached way back 6,000 years ago when dinosaurs like the Kudzusaurus and Okefenokeedactyl roamed Georgia, but that is purely coincidental.

But gnats are no longer just South Georgia's problem, thanks to State Sen. Skeeter Thompkins (R-Providence Canyon), who pushed through S.B. 1693 while all the north Georgia lawmakers were on a bathroom break, a move now known at the State Capitol as McKoonery.

If signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who is still evaluating to see if there's any personal profit to be made, the Gnat Line would be moved to a boundary running roughly from Rome to Gainesville to Toccoa.

To his credit, Thompkins included provisions for training those in the formerly gnat-free zones of Georgia in gnat tolerance techniques, such as how to poke out your bottom lip and blow upward to shoo them away for a moment.

The art of shooing away gnats will be especially important for Atlanta's new minor league baseball franchise, the Braves, who will take on many major league teams this year (mostly populated by ex-Braves sold off during this past offseason). Otherwise, our new Braves would never be able to hit one of Craig Kimbrel's devastating sliders with gnats in their eyes and nose.

Connect with Chris Johnson at or on Twitter @kudzukid88.