It’s June 2014, and that means a new generation of newlyweds in The South will be racing past family and friends while being showered with frantically mating cicadas. What are cicadas you ask? Think really big crickets.
No, think grasshoppers on steroids.
Actually, think “Hopper” from A Bug’s Life.
For those who haven’t experienced cicada season, it’s easy to imagine if you keep one thing in mind: For six weeks, wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be doing it within the general vicinity of at least 200 cicadas, each of which will be participating in something generally reserved for late night cable. To make matters worse, thousands of male cicadas will be attempting to attract disinterested females by repeating a series of deafening mating calls, which entomologists, after years of research, have finally translated to mean: hey baby hey baby hey baby…
If the male cicada is unsuccessful in attracting a female with one approach, it will, like any male, try something totally different, i.e., the same approach but much louder. This continues until either a) He attracts the attention of a mate, or b) He attracts the attention of someone with a large boot.
When I lived in Georgia during the 1980s, many of the southerners I met were a little suspicious. Some of this was due to my West Coast accent. But mostly it was because my arrival had been accompanied by a plague of copulating cicadas. This phenomenon only happens once every 17 years, which is the only time these locust-like bugs emerge from the ground for their one chance to mate. As you can imagine, from a male cicada’s point of view, this is a pretty big deal.
Actually, this is a big deal from any male’s point of view.
Regardless, I’m sure southerners’ suspicions were confirmed when, as I stood in line waiting to set up electrical service and listening to the constant chirping of cicadas, I was informed that, in addition to a $100 deposit, I should know that two cicadas were getting to know each other on my shoulder.
My crack about “getting a pay-per-view discount” probably didn’t help matters.
Though I no longer live in The South, I feel a responsibility to utilize LAP’s vast information network (Tweets, selfies and multi-colored Post-Its) to share three tips on dealing with cicada infestation with those who are experiencing it for the first time. Assuming, of course, you haven’t already freaked out and moved to Arizona.
Helpful Tip #1: Remember that the constant chirping of thousands of cicadas can, over the course of six weeks, eventually drive you insane. If you were waiting for the perfect opportunity to call your boss “…A jackass with a chihuahua weenie…” now is the time. Just blame it on Temporary Cicada Insanity. Want to spend a week eating nothing but Ho Hos and Throwback Pepsi? Yep, it’s the TCI acting up.
Helpful Tip #2: Use the infestation of mating cicadas to set the mood for romance. During the next six weeks, love will literally be in the air. Possibly even in your hair. In the same way that watching Animal Planet can stir up those primitive mating instincts — anybody with me here? — being surrounded by sinewy-legged insects doing the nasty can be the final ingredient for a love liaison. Planning a romantic dinner? Make reservations on the patio and let nature takes its course! Whether that course is before or after dessert is up to you! And possibly how many cicadas you find in your salad. If that doesn’t work, there’s always the “End of the World” approach, which utilizes the power of the apocalypse as the ultimate persuader.
Helpful Tip #3: Use social media to establish a food empire built on hype over cicadas as a delicacy. The ingredients for success are already built in: Weirdness and Limited Availability. Those two factors alone will justify the most important ingredient: A Ridiculously High Price. Let the PEASANTS eat chocolate-covered crickets! I’ll be choking down and pretending to enjoy my $200-per-pound cream-cheese stuffed cicadas that were copulating less than 24 hours ago! Wait, that IS cream cheese, right? Who cares! If Jay-Z has a plate, I’ll have two plates! *crunch crunch, gag gag*
For those of you who are experiencing the cicada mating season, we here at LAP are thinking of you and hope these tips have been helpful. There’s no need to send a box of cream-filled cicadas as a show of appreciation. Really.
We still have leftovers from 1997.
(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and regular contributor at Long Awkward Pause. His first book, Humor At the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books or Barnes & Noble.
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