We’re all pretty quick with a flyswatter or folded newspaper. The instant we see a bug, we whack it. We aren’t picky about how, either. Insecticide, insect repellent, bug zappers, exterminators, a shoe, whatever it takes. While I’ve certainly done my fair share of squishing and swatting, I also have standards.
For instance, I draw the line at offing ladybugs and crickets. In my book, those fall in the catch and release category. I won’t kill crickets because it’s bad luck, especially in the house, and ladybugs get a pass because they’re cute and harmless. Their whole purpose in life is to zigzag around spreading cheer and eating aphids. What’s the harm?
Oh, and I don’t kill big, sinister bugs, either. I move.
Yesterday, though, I started to question my ‘squash first, ask questions later’ policy. I spied an ant on the stove, doing what ants do, scurrSMACK. I nailed him with a Kleenex box and buried him at sea — flushed him, actually. As he swirled in the bowl, remorse and guilt and second thoughts hounded me. I’d killed a bug for no reason other than being a bug. Had I turned a little family into a widow and orphans? Did he have life insurance? Should I send flowers? A casserole?
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, ‘uh, yoohoo, this isn’t Looney Tunes.’
Maybe not, but part of me clings to that sweet, goofy world. Where mice wear gloves and Martians have scrub brushes on their helmets. In that kind of world you survive calamities like exploding dynamite and falling anvils. Look at Wile E. Coyote, for Pete’s sake. Or Bugs (no pun intended) Bunny, he survived decades of an armed and bloodthirsty Elmer Fudd. Daffy Duck got his beak blown off in practically episode.
Our world, the very one we’re inhabiting, isn’t nearly as forgiving. So shouldn’t we try to be a little kinder? Nah — splat — Th-Th-That’s all, folks.*
copyright © 2016 the whirly girl
Okay, once more. This is a reblog from 2012. It was my breakout post, actually, the first to get any attention whatsoever. Who knew bugs would be a popular subject? I didn’t, I just thought it was fun. And you know what? I wish I was having some now. Fun, that is. Recovery continues at a maddeningly slow pace, although my head is healed and my lung’s in reasonably good shape. My ribs and shoulder are the lazy slackers. Stoopid, stoopid bones.
4 responses to “: the karma of bug killing :”
My philosophy is: I don’t go into their houses… they don’t get to come into mine.
bwahahaha. Pull up the welcome mat, brilliant strategy.
The folk I admire are the Jains who brush the path ahead and wear special shoes to minimise bug carnage … I always say sorry after I whack ’em, does that count?
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I’ve heard about the Jains and marveled at their commitment. An apology is well-meaning, too. In its own way. I’m trying to let them go on about their business … hoping they’ll show me the same kindness.
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