Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unlucky Crickets

Back at the dawn of time, the race of crickets must have hired one heck of a p.r. firm.  Think about it.  What are our mental images of grasshoppers?  Irresponsible fiddlers who participated in the Dust Bowl and the plagues of Egypt.  Crickets, on the other hand, are associated with good luck and Walt Disney, not to mention their glorification in The Cricket in Times Square.  Does this seem skewed to anyone else?

Until recently, I was fairly neutral on the subject of crickets, but for some unknown reason the cricket population in our neighborhood exploded this year; every time we go outside at dusk, we risk being pelted by a fusillade of insanely chirping insect life.  Still, this was bearable until they decided to stage a home invasion.

Partly this was our fault.  In a moment of penny-pinching insanity, Barry discontinued our extermination service this summer, and half the insect life in the area took that as a personal invitation to move in.  Among our new tenants - an apparently endless supply of crickets.

They moved into the front bathroom first.  At night I could hear one cricketing away in there, apparently in the ceiling.  At the time I thought it was kind of cute.  Then they started spreading out.  Now they chirp all over the house, day and night, and it's only a matter of time before they start gnawing holes in everything we own.  Occasionally the cat catches one or I beat one to death with a broom, but they're crafty little devils, generally heard but not seen.  The sound is really beginning to grate on my nerves - like the jungle drums in a B-movie ripoff of Heart of Darkness.

Unfortunately, the chirp of a cricket is smack in the middle of the range of sounds that Barry can't hear, so he can't understand why I'm getting so tense about this.  He also doesn't feel as strongly as I do that one's home should be a refuge from leaping critters, not a haven for them.  He feels no need to evict our insectile visitors.

image of cricket
This is October, though, and even in Arizona the nights are getting colder.  All the heat-loving insects who politely remained outside during the summer are starting to look for a cozy place to spend the winter, and that includes the rest of the restless cricket population.  As soon as I pick up my paycheck today I'm calling the exterminator.  I can't stand any more "good luck" than we already have.

“Too bad when I was a kid there wasn't a guy in our class that everybody called the 'Cricket Boy', because I would have liked to stand up in class and tell everybody, 'You can make fun of the Cricket Boy if you want to, but to me he's just like everybody else.' Then everybody would leave the Cricket Boy alone, and I'd invite him over to spend the night at my house, but after about five minutes of that loud chirping I'd have to kick him out. Maybe later we could get up a petition to get the Cricket Family run out of town. Bye, Cricket Boy.”

 Jack Handy

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