My weird little fascinations
So here it is a wild Wednesday night, and I’m not out there chasing all that wonderfulness, or looking at the stars, or feeling the wind on my semi-ancient face. Nah, I’m here. Workweeks are like that. Got back to Sac, sat in the back of a hot room for an hour, went out for pizza afterward — not that I need to eat pizza, having eaten it twice last weekend, once while being waited on by my lovely daughter at the Tahoe beachfront restaurant where she works, and again at Squaw Valley with my brother, his daughter and her husband, their two kids, and her cousin and her cousin’s husband and their two kids, got that — so I’m what my daughter’s mom used to call “slugbait.” And so, I type this.
I don’t talk a lot about my job, but I love it. Partially because it has nothing to do with the music business, or filling up the editorial well of a newspaper or magazine under the gun, and partially because it’s about bugs. I’m weirdly fascinated by bugs, especially the eusocial insects, like ants and bees and termites, the ones that live in huge hives that function like brains, or at least organisms with some kind of swarm intelligence. Plus, they’re trippy. Ants live in huge colonies, and some of the species, like the invasive Argentine ants, are big old metrosexual lesbian cities where everyone gets along and they do all this amazingly cool stuff, kinda like a big six-legged Lilith Fair concert that stretches out for hundreds of miles and involves billions of fans of sapphic folk music, while other species, e.g. the pavement ants, are like backwoods hollers filled with long-Balkanized clans of meth-sizzled arthropod hicks who mix it up to the tunes of Ynsyct Skynyrd and have huge stupid wars, shady lanes be damned.
Then there are the termites, which are kinda like a massive underground South Park episode involving Eric Cartman and a million of his clones, gobbling the wooden version of Cheesy Poofs and farting up huge storm clouds of methane. If you could run an engine on methane, you could like drop a log in the tank and make a bunch of termites fart and generate stinky fart gasses, which you could burn and run your SUV. I’m thinking that Al Gore might want to get on board with this, no? Termites have these humongous fat queens, too, that do nothing but lay around and push out termite eggs, and they have these really nifty-looking soldiers whose heads look like earwig butts with big-ass pincers, which come in handy when those crankster hillbilly ants come a-calling, looking to stir up trouble.
Of course, nearly everybody loves bees, because of flowers and honey and stuff, unless you’re allergic to their stings, or you don’t dig the buzzing. But you can you not love bees? Wasps, of course, are another story, especially the ones without any sense of noblesse oblige, who’ll take their profit from insect Wall Street with nary a concern for their fellow bugs or anyone else, either.
But lately, the talk among bugsters has been all about Cimex lectularius, otherwise known as the bed bug. These little bug snoids, about the size of an apple seed, are serious trouble, and if you’re unlucky enough to get an infestation of them, well, you’re not going to be happy about it. They get into your mattress, and onto your furniture, and in and around your bed, and then they wait. For you. When it’s dark, they wait for you to zone out, and then they zero in on the carbon dioxide you exhale, and they find you and they suck your blood. I shit you not. And then they poop your blood out all over your bed, and shed their exoskeletons between instars, and generally leave a mess. Bed bugs are bad neighbors, and it is readily apparent that they are soooo unkind. Fred Rogers would not approve.
But the worst part? Bed bug sex. No, they’re not all noisy like your horny neighbor, whose orgasmic cries and yelps infiltrate your dreams as the sound of animals being tortured. It’s just that their courtship defies rules of common etiquette and civilized behavior to the degree that even Huns and demented Visigoths might stop and take notice. You see, these bed bugs practice a form of sado-masochistic sexual behaviors called “traumatic insemination.” What that means is that, well, imagine a bunch of guys running around a nightclub with no pants on, and they all have boners, and those boners have been sharpened like swords. So these guys with dangerous pointed dicks are chasing all the women in the club, and when they see one that gets them all hot and bothered, they run up to her and jab their dicks right into her belly and start humping like some crazed gutter-pooch horndog on your leg. No decorum, no witty lines, no drinks bought — just stab, stab, stab, then blow a load.
All this helter-skelter horndoggery, sans secret messages from the “white” album, and the womenfolk of bed bugdom naturally try to do some kind of an immediate Houdini, as in get me the fuck out of this place like right now. Totally. Which is why entomologists who study bed bugs were initially perplexed at the random and bomb blast-like way that Cimex lectularius will spread throughout a living space, until someone surmised that all the members of these bed bug diasporas were females who wanted to get away from the obnoxious and dangerously annoying and uncooth to boot needledick males.
So, well, sleep tight, and don’t let these asshole bugs bite.–Jackson Griffith