Friday, May 28, 2021

4729 Cicadas

 His name is Alfredd. If you write to him, don’t insult him by leaving off the second “d.” He has a lot of friends and a huge family, all of them sticklers for spelling.  And they know where you live.

 The invasion comes every 17 years. Tens of millions of ugly, noisy and harmless bugs emerge from deep underground and fill the air in the northeast with their chorus of buzzing.  

 

Seventeen years. How do they know?  The first thought is an internet calendar.  But this has been happening for longer than there’s been an internet and maybe longer than there have been calendars.

 

We know we’re not the only creatures who know how to count.  Monkeys know.  Some horses, too. Crows are said to be able to count all the way up to seven.  That’s pretty sharp for a birdbrain.  But bugs?

 

And not only do they count, but you can tell the boys from the girls.  The girls do not buzz. The male buzz is a mating call.

 

Can you speak Cicada?  To us, it all sounds the same.  But chances are the males are testing their pickup lines. “Hey, cutie, do you come here often?” “Miss, you look like a Pisces.”  “I saw you below ground. You’re looking fine up here.” “May I buy you a root?”  “Bartender, I’m drinking the same sap she’s drinking.”

 

The guys, being bugs, don’t come up with much that’s original.  The girls, being bugs, don’t fall for anyone they weren’t interested in to begin with.  But it’s easy for the males to find prospects because cicada women love “girls’ night out.”

 

Kids want to make them pets.  But they have to outpace cats who have an inbuilt recipe that starts with catching the insects, then tossing them like a salad so they land on concrete and are stunned.  Kind of like seagulls dropping shells on the highway to open them or you choosing a live lobster from a fish tank at a seafood joint.

 

Let’s get back to that timing and calendar thing for a moment.  The county that’s home to the Wessays Secret Hillside Laboratory is off schedule. Instead of this year, cicadas here are not scheduled to arrive until 2025, four years from now.  How did that happen?  Yeah, we’re generally behind the times here.  But still…

 

Makes you feel left out.  Makes you feel the same way you feel when you’re the last pick for the pick up basketball game.

 

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®

Any Questions? wesrichards@gmail.com

© WR 2021

 


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