Thursday, February 05, 2009


It's raining today.

I love the smell of rain. Well, I guess it's actually the smell of the wet dirt. But you know what I mean.

Totally takes me back to our ranch in Texas. Walking across the muddy roads in our cowboy boots, checking the fence for broken barbed wire. And always right after the first rain came those little red furry bugs. You remember? They were the cutest little things, bright crimson spots zipping across the cattle trails. And if you could manage to catch one, it'd scurry all over your hand, tickling you until you just had to drop it, and then off it would go again to bury itself in the muck until the next rainstorm.

Well, come to find out the little f*ckers are actually called Red Velvet Mites. And while they are, to be fair, very good for the environment, THEY. ARE. STILL. MITES.

And since I'm apparently on a bug kick today, do you also remember those other tiny backwards crawling thingies that lived in these little inverted sand cones? Well, they're called Ant Lions. Who knew? This site has a ton of videos of the little suckers digging their pit, capturing and killing their prey, and sucking out every last little drop of life: The AntLion Pit.

I can't even count all on my fingers and toes how many of those predacious creatures I cupped in my hands and tenderly poked and prodded into digging itself, butt first, into the crook between my fingers.

Oh, oh, oh, and what about those doodle bugs?!?!? AGGGHHHH!!!!!

Oh, wait, you know what, according to The AntLion Pit site referenced above, the AntLion is actually also known as the doodle bug.  Hm.  But for us, a doodle bug was that little black beetle that rolled poop for a living with its hind legs! And that's all they did. Morning til night. From the cow patty to the other side of the road and back again. Rollin', rollin', rollin'.

Come to think of it, maybe we called it a "doo-doo" bug.  Hmm...  Now that would make more sense.

Okay, the Gods of Google have kindly revealed to me that it is actually called a Dung Beetle.  Also, very sensical.  Smart people, those entomologists.  But what I loved most about my quick 2.5-second research session was that it turned up in the top 5, the mythological story of Sisyphus and his neverending curse to roll a boulder uphill as an example of the absurdity of man's search for meaning,  and then some fantastic blogs about about how this little insignificant beetle with a pretty crappy occupation (ha!) has learned over time to just step aside when the shit begins to roll down hill.  

Lessons for the ages, I tell ya.  Wall Street, are you listening?

And then, of course, you can't have claimed to have had an actual childhood without having caught at least one earthworm before the age of 8. 

Bleccchhh! When I think about how much time these little creepy crawlies spent in my hands, in jars in my room, under my bed, until they dried up into crinkly little earthworm crispies. Oh, I'm sooo not gonna be able to sleep tonight!!!

And let's not forget the stink bug!!  Oh, man, I think we actually used to use that as a weapon -- yep, I remember distinctly flinging them across the yard at my brother's annoying little friends like putrid kicking paint balls!!!   

Man, those were the days.

Okay, your turn. What are some of the bugs and worms from your childhood that you would never DREAM of letting your children (or nieces/nephews) near now that you're a much more hygienic, way overinformed, but supposedly rational-thinking adult?


amazonfm said...

Our house used to have a creek running in front of it and we would try to catch gilgies(pronounced jill-gies)in it. They are small fresh water creatures, rather like a fresh water lobster.(what we call crayfish) In the river we caught marron, which are larger and do resemble a lobster, and leeches. I am ashamed to say that after pulling leeches off our skin we sometimes turned them inside out on a stick. There were the large ants we called sergeant ants, with their big nipping jaws, the medium sized bull ants, and the tiny ants that would scurry around all over the place, never seeming to stop.
We also have flies, millions of them, and we used to slap at the huge march flies that landed on our bare arms and legs and try to suck our blood.

Don't Lick The Ferrets! said...

We didn't really have "bugs" but I would let the kids play with the baby lizzards that found their way into our abode when we lived in the south...I shutter when I realize the things I touched as a kid! It's hard to allow my children to explore those things while wanting to protect them from the vermin I one handled! Eww!! I guess it won't kill them anymore than it did me!


Ok, Tracey, leeches, really?!? And giant ants. And swarms of blood-sucking flies. Oh. My. God. Where the hell did you grow up?!?!?


DLTF, I totally forgot about the lizards! And the little garter snakes. And the tons of crickets. And the tiny frogs.

Man, how we didn't end up with some flesh-eating virus, or covered in warts, or e. coli, I'll just never know.

That children must have 9 lives and guardian angels who work overtime is just not beyond the realm of possibility for me.

amazonfm said...

Yes, lizards, and frogs and tadpoles, and dragonflies and snakes.
Australia baby, the only place to be a child.


Oh, hell, I forgot about the tadpoles!!! We used to swim naked in the canogas (concrete cattle watering holes) and there were some NASTY little creatures in there, too. Crazy what we do as kids, huh?