When you last heard from your intrepid humor columnist, she was freaking out about the cicadas…we join her, while she’s doing much of the same:
Over the last week, the song of the cicadas has been getting more and more quiet. But the sound of me screaming because of them has not.
Our friend and neighbor, Bert (not his real name), was in our kitchen just last week—at the height of the cicadas singing their mating songs.
“Listen!” I said to him. “Can you hear that? That’s how loud they’ve been. It sounds like there right here in the kitchen, doesn’t it?”
Then Bert slowly turned around to check and see if he accidentally carried one in on his laptop bag.
When his right shoulder got into view, I saw it: a cicada was on the front of his shirt and crawling up near his right collarbone.
AND JUST THAT ONE WAS MAKING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF NOISE.
Usually, as a former city girl now in the country, I am amazed by nature. Seriously. I will tower over a tiny iridescent-colored bug and watch it crawl around. I’ll look for the groundhogs that have a den in Bert’s yard. I even sit on the front porch every day of the summer for at least five minutes to watch the hummingbirds eat from the feeder.
But seeing one of these red-eyed, creepy, horror-movie inducing, Mothra-imitating, going-to-swoop-over-and-kill-me bugs—IN MY HOME—just a few feet away from me, caused me to literally freeze like a deer in the headlights. (Now that I live where there are lots of deer, they really do do this, as I can attest.)
Those few seconds seemed like hours, and then I began sputtering.
Because that’s what you do when you see something terrifying that you just know is going to fly off your friend, land in your big, curly hair, and cause you to drop dead at a way-too-young age.
The sputtering turned into stuttering, and finally, I was able to get out, “There’s one of those on you! It’s on you! That’s why we can hear it! It’s on you! It’s on you!”
Did I, um, mention, that the cicada had landed on Bert? Just checking…
Bert, who has grown up on farmland most of his life, looked down, and said, “Oh yeah. There it is!” As if a cute little chipmunk were on his chest instead of Bug of Chucky.
And then—and dear readers, I hope, I really hope I can get through this next part without fainting—he reached down…REACHED DOWN WITH HIS FINGER to try to put the cicada on it.
Come on—it’s not like it’s a butterfly. It’s not a ladybug. It’s not even a bumblebee (I like them because they’re nonstinging). It’s something from my nightmares.
It crawled onto his finger.
This skeezes me out so much that even typing that line made me get goosebumps. I kid you not.
He opened the back door—Bert, not the monster bug—and flicked his finger.
The bug fell all the way to the ground—or at least the deck floor.
That’s when I realized that when you live underground for 17 years, you’re not exactly the smartest of all bugs.
Why? It has wings, people. It should have just flown away.
But no. It came crashing down and then walked across the deck.
Hmmmm, I thought. Perhaps they’re not so bad after all. Maybe they wouldn’t fly into my hair. I could even learn to like them.
Or I could just wait until the young ones crawl back into the ground for another 17 years.
Yeah, that last one seems just right for me.
Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski, when she’s not keeping track of how few cicadas she’s seeing (or running, ducking, and screaming about them), writes “Wojo’s World® from Baltimore. She’s also the author of the award-winning humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box. You can connect with Wojo on or on .
Did you know that Wojo has a newsletter? It’s full of fun stories, facts, and contests. And she won’t spam you because she doesn’t know how, and it’s bad Karma. Email her at Wojo@WojosWorld.com to subscribe.