Godzilla vs. Cicada


“We need an exterminator.” ~from “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”

My life has become a Godzilla movie, sort of.

Right now I, along with my friends, neighbors and co-workers, are under attack from a menace which appears once every 13 years. The invaders bear the collective menacing name “Brood XIX,” which is not a Swedish death metal band. Most have red eyes and prehistoric-looking outer shells. They fly, and seem attracted to bright colors and interesting smells. Did I mention they can make a sound as loud as a chainsaw or a KISS concert?

They are insects of the genus Magicicada…cicadas. And I’m pretty much weirded out by the little bastards. This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with them; they also emerged 13 years ago when I first arrived in Tennessee. At the time I thought it was some evangelical preacher’s idea, perhaps, to re-enact one of the plagues of ancient Egypt. The noisy things got everywhere: underfoot, on the car windshield, in my hair.

I’m trying to think of anyone who might welcome their triskadekian return. Entomologists, I’m sure (I have one pen pal in England who would no doubt be thrilled) along with curious kids and, perhaps, gourmands looking for a creative source of extra protein.

Personally, I can’t wait for them to go back underground and come back a few presidential administrations later. Why?

They’re just scary. I will confess to my readers that I have a nearly paralyzing fear of insects crawling on my skin. Snakes, I can handle…but put one tiny bug on my arms and I’ll start jumping and screaming like a Pentecostal drinking Red Bull. I look at a cicada and I see an insect with red eyes, shiny wings, and an unearthly screech. In my mind I know it’s harmless. I also know clowns, Shirley Temple movies, and Maltese are harmless, but that doesn’t help my irrational fear of those things either. The other day a cicada got in the car when I was driving down a busy street. Had it not been for a lucky break, I might not be here writing today.

Oh, the noise, noise, noise! For those of you in states without cicadas, imagine a constant, 100-120 decibel sound somewhere between a flying saucer in an Ed Wood flick, white noise, and atonal jazz. That you can hear through windows and walls, and which doesn’t stop between dawn and dusk for six weeks. It’s the sound of male cicadas trying to find mates. If you ask me, they need to shut up and just watch bootleg Dutch porn like the rest of us.

Crunch, crunch. Walking through a parking lot or driveway filled with the dead suckers is like navigating a minefield. Another “ick” factor for me is stepping on bugs. I don’t care if they’re already dead. It’s the damn crunch which gets me. Somewhere in between the title characters of Stephen King’s  Langoliers and poor little Ray getting skooshed in The Princess and the Frog. Umm, no thanks.

I would never have relations with a fokkin’ creature. Might be a bit of a stretch, but cicadas remind me rather uncomfortably of the “Prawn” aliens from District 9, which has become one of my favorite movies. They also remind me that District 10 is likely another two or three years away. I’ll have to see what’s become of the Prawn-ified Wikus van de Merwe. Damn you for making us wait, Neil Blomkamp! And damn you, cicadas, for reminding me!

All in all, as plagues go, it’s a harmless one. In seriousness here, this is written to get a few laughs. I shouldn’t complain about my car getting covered in brown goo when tornadoes and floods are sweeping people’s entire lives away right now. If you want to do some good, why not send the Red Cross or another worthy charity some money if you can? A lot of folks in Tuscaloosa and Joplin and Cajun Country could use your help right now. Just don’t send them any cicadas, no matter how much protein might be included therein.

In the meantime, I’ll rub my hands together and wait for Brood XIX to fall right back asleep until 2024. By then, I hope to have done one of the following:

a) written my own book(s) and moved to a location that is certified cicada-free by the Surgeon General,

b) developed my powers to a point where a body-protecting and car-protecting force field is feasible,

c) created a script to pitch reviving Godzilla against Magicicada (it has a certain ring to it),

d) finished my Underground Lair(tm) which is impervious to just about all outside forces anyway.

So, since none of those are on the radar, I’ve got about three more weeks with millions of cicadas. They should be disappearing right about in time for my birthday. Which means I can crank up my Swedish death metal and enjoy my life in peace…again.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on May 25, 2011.

One Response to “Godzilla vs. Cicada”

  1. I think Hannibal should play “Magicicada” in the film “Godzilla vs. Magicicada”!

    I agree with you about crunchy bugs. I don’t even want to have to squish them with a shoe.

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