We’re all pretty quick with the fly swatter and folded newspaper. We’ve got spray cans of insecticide, tubes of insect repellent, bug lights, mosquito netting, an entire industry dedicated to killing bugs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my share of squashing and swatting. I’m as anti-bug as the next guy, but.
I draw the line at offing ladybugs and crickets. In my book, they both fall into the catch and release category. I won’t kill crickets because it’s bad luck, especially in the house. Ladybugs get a pass because they’re sweet and happy-looking. Their entire purpose is to fly around spreading cheer. What harm is done?
Oh, and I don’t kill big, behemoth bugs, either. I move.
Yesterday I began to question my ‘squash first, ask questions later’ policy. I spied an ant on the stove, doing what ants do, scurryinSMACK. I nailed him with my sandal and buried him at sea, flushed him, actually. As he swirled in the bowl, remorse and guilt and second thoughts ambushed me. I killed a bug for no reason except for being a bug. Had I turned a little family into a widow and orphans?
What, I wondered, do entomologists know about the inner lives of the insects they study? How sophisticated are their brains, for instance? Do they even have brains? Do they have social lives? Do they take vacations? Do they have a bug language? Then a little voice muttered, ‘hey, dumbass, you’re not Disney.’
That’s right, I’m not, but a miniature part of me clings to that colorful cartoon world. Where mice wear gloves and Martians have scrub brushes mounted on their helmets. In that kind of world you survive calamities like exploding tnt and falling off cliffs. Look at Wile E. Coyote, for Pete’s sake. Or Bugs (no pun intended) Bunny, he survived decades of an armed and blood-thirsty Elmer Fudd. Our world just isn’t as forgiving, but shouldn’t I try to be?
Nah. splat Th-Th-That’s all, folks.