Right now the East Coast is being inundated with cicadas--"Brood X," it's called. Sounds like a horror movie, right? Well, it is, like Beginning of the End, which is about Giant Grasshoppers That Tried to Eat Everyone.
The only good thing I can say about Brood X is that they over there and not here.
The last time a cicada brood hatched in my area there must have been a trillion of the little heinous beasts. They're harmless, but they're the dumbest bugs in the universe. If they fall on their backs, they can't even right themselves. They just lie there and wiggle their legs.
I don't mean to bash all bugs. I like ladybugs, but then, who doesn't? But what good are lice and ticks and cockroaches? And cicadas? I've seen cockroaches three inches long. There are supposed to be some in Madagascar that are six inches long and whistle like teakettles.
It was worst in the past. A lot worse. Ancient cockroaches (known as "Bugs of Satan") were two foot long. I know, because I saw models in a museum. Can you imagine opening your cabinet and finding one?
Bob: OH MY GOD!
(Hissing sound of Raid can being emptied).
Bob: RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
Cicadas are about the size of your thumb, black, with a red eye on each side of their heads. The fact they have eyes on the side of their head is why they are prey. Predators, like humans, have eyes on the front of their heads.
Cicadas make buzzing sounds like lawnmowers, and will fly at anything vertical. Why? Because they think anything vertical is a tree, and they want to land on it. That includes your head. Or the back of your neck.
The buzzing sound is a mating call the males make. The females hang out in the trees. The males land on the trees to find females. That is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. Either the males should be stationary while making the buzzing sound, so the females will come to them, or the females should make the buzzing sound while they're stationary, so the males will come to them.
The buzzing sound is so bad in the woods I had to put my fingers in my ears. How in the world did people sleep in the past?
And what possible good does it do for the males to make the buzzing noise while flying around? It makes no sense at all, but it's funny, because they are the only bug in the world that will fly to people to be squashed. These things are completely without offense or defense. Or brains.
I can just imagine one of them thinking, "Oh, baby, you are fine-looking, even if you do look like a rolled-up newspa--."
Find a cicada and put it on the ground. It will crawl toward you. Move around, and it will follow you. It thinks you are a cicada-babe. Be warned that if you smush one, they goosh but good.
Everything eats them. Cats, dogs, fish. They will stuff themselves on cicadas, so be warned if your cat or dog barfs on the living room carpet.
The last time they hatched in my neighborhood, I was driving with a little girl in the back seat. I heard a buzzing sound in the car, looked down, and saw one on the seat next to me. The little girl in the back seat leaned forward, looked at it, and said, with wonder in her voice, "Oh, there it is."
Then it flew in the back seat.
There was a nuclear detonation of screams. "IT'S GOING TO STING ME! IT'S GOING TO BITE ME! I'M SCARED OF IT!"
I explained to her that it didn't have any biters or stingers, or clawers for that matter, but it did no good, because she was shrieking. I pulled over, she flew out of the back seat, and I popped Mr. Amorous out the window. Girls and bugs do not mix.
If you think that's bad, I know a grown woman who puts a blanket over her head and waves a flyswatter around while running from the house to the car. She sounds like this: "Oh oh! There's one! Oh oh oh! There's another! Oh oh!" When she kills spiders she hits them ten times with a swatter, yelling, "YA! YA! YA!" each time she hits the spider.
When I was a kid, I caught a cicada once, tied a string around him, and flew him in circles like a little model airplane. It was fun until he went headfirst into a tree. I felt pretty bad committing bugicide, but not as bad as I did when I tried to keep a toad in a donut box as a pet. I didn't know toads didn't eat grass or drink out of a bottle cap. He lasted three days before he gave up the ghost.
When I was little, an older kid told me the cicadas were just babies. When they were grown, they were six feet tall, and would sneak into children's rooms at night to stick a straw in sleeping kids' ears and suck their brains out.
When I grew up, I was worse. None of those wussy six feet tall cicadas for me! I told kids the cicadas were twelve feet tall when grown, and flew away with kids dangling in their beaks. This led to scenes like this:
"Grandpa! Grandpa! Uncle Bob says cicadas are twelve feet tall and will carry me away in their beaks! Is that true?"
Sisters were no better. "Julie! Julie! Uncle Bob says cicadas are twelve feet tall and will carry me away in their beaks! Is that true?"
Julie: "Remember your older brother?"
"I had an older brother?"
Julie: "The cicadas got him. They didn't want you because you were too ugly."
Grandma: "All three of you shut up about the cicadas!"
I once asked a woman if she would eat a cicada for one million dollars. She said no. I would, if I could toast it and cover it with honey. Locusts and honey, you know. Like in the Bible. I hear they're good eating.
Place cicadas on a cookie sheet and dry-roast for 10 to 15 minutes at 225 degrees. When cool grind coarsely and use as a nut substitute on ice cream.
That's a real recipe, by the way. A cicada-licous one!
know, I still prefer cicadas to politicians. At least cicadas only bother
us for a few weeks, then disappear for 17 years.
Editor's note: Thanks to Bob Wallace for a nice plug (The Good, the Not-So-Good, and the Really, Really Ugly) at Lew Rockwell! See Bob's archives there.