It’s another day and another battle with the bugs. I’m armed with the vacuum cleaner, and I’m in stealth mode, but I’m not optimistic. It seems to me that a certain percentage of these beetles are intelligent, probably with an IQ higher than mine. Seriously, how many of them do you see dragging a weapon of mass destruction into a losing battle? The smart beetles are the ones that remember to put on their camouflage so that they blend in perfectly with the woodwork. They are the ones that could teach Waldo a thing or two about hiding. They are the ones with hearing so keen, that they hide when a vacuum cleaner is turned on in the neighbor’s house. They are the ones that dance just out of reach of the nozzle for long enough to wear me out, doing acrobatics in the air, before landing for even a moment. Then, when I make that desperate lunge to suck it in, I get the bug but leave a three-inch mark on the paint with the sweeper nozzle. When I turn around, I realize that I’ve been out-smarted. That energetic beetle was executing diversionary tactics, distracting me from the new troops that were advancing while my back was turned.
In my house, I also have trick beetles. They are the ones that play dead. This beetle is usually a loner, not hanging out with enough other beetles to warrant a vacuum cleaner raid. It can stay in the same place for hours, for days even, and when I’m finally tired of seeing it, and head to the other room to round up the weapon of great suction, it disappears. Completely. After a fifteen minute search, I can unearth a candy wrapper, a used dryer sheet, two pencils, and a quarter, but no beetle. Nada. Until I put the sweeper away and go back into the room. And there it is, just blandly sitting, and no, I don’t think it’s my imagination that it is shaking with laughter. Nor do I think I’m depraved for letting a beetle arouse such intense emotions. Let me just tell you how this one ends up. Is that a toilet I hear flushing? Bingo!
While these beetles are obviously not Japanese, some of them do have the same Kamikaze tendencies known to the Japanese fighter pilots from WWII. These are the beetles that flamboyantly taunt you when you think you’ve gotten the last bug in a room. Out of nowhere, they buzz down, into your face, into your hair, or into the refreshing iced tea that you are just taking a big gulp of. And, yes, I have had the misfortune of finding a small chunk of what I thought was ice in my mouth, only to bite down and realize, belatedly, that the texture isn’t quite the same. Barf! I’m sure that particular beetle is in beetle heaven chortling away at what had to have been a crowning moment in Beetledom. I had to clean up sprayed iced tea from the floor and cabinets, and I gagged for almost an hour. A year later, I still look at my tea before I drink it. Without fail. And this coming from a motorcycle rider who has had her share of bugs in her mouth. But you know? Everything belongs in it’s proper place. One can expect the occasional bug while riding motorcycles. I should never have to allow swimming privileges to a beetle in my own home, where bugs should not be.
I’m wondering if I should even discuss the suicidal beetles. These would be the only poor schmucks that I might feel sorry for, simply because I can relate. They are the Kamikaze beetles whose radar is defective, and when they dive, they go straight into the sweeper nozzle. These are also the beetles with the bright light fatal attraction. I would feel sorry for them, if I didn’t enjoy hearing them fry themselves on the light bulbs so much. There is little more annoying than a bug buzzing around a light when you’re trying to read or sleep. The sound seems to amplify itself inside the lampshade or globe. Buzz. BUZZZZ….sizzle…then there’s that last little pathetic buzz made with singed wings and burned off feet. My cruel streak reveals itself in the small smile that lights my face, when I finally enjoy the buzz free silence. I do feel shame for my behavior the next day, however, when I find the little carcass, on its back, legs no longer waving, under the light. I know that sometimes it’s not a good thing to be a few steps beyond normal!