Jewish World ReviewJune 25, 2004 / 6 Tamuz, 5764

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Old Red Eyes is back, but not at this house | The husband's reaction to the return of the 17-year cicadas has been one of cool detached scientific interest. My reaction, on the other hand, could be best described as hysterical.

When you have to wield a tennis racket in one hand and a badminton racket in the other, to get from your house to your car, there is reason to get excited. The husband will tell you the rackets are an over-reaction on my part. He will also say that, though a cicada may bump into you, it will not bite, sting or hurt.

Sure, Hon. They have hideous red eyes, creepy big wings, can drop from trees, become airborne and burrow into the ground, but they're just as afraid of me as I am of them.

I'm sticking with the rackets. The way I see it, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of splat.

The truth is, I've not actually had to swing the rackets, even though we live in a swarm state. A swarm state would be one of the states fully shaded on the maps indicating where cicadas will be emerging, swarming and devouring the land and all its inhabitants therein. (Another gross exaggeration, the husband says.) I've been on high alert for an invasion of Torah plague proportions for weeks, and I've yet to see a single ugly cicada.

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We may be the only cicada-free yard in a state that is infested.

Why? The husband says cicadas can sniff panic the way a dog can smell fear and, because of me, they're detouring around us.

So maybe I'm a little on edge, but that doesn't mean I want them to pass us by. This is a phenomenon of nature. Everybody wants the satisfaction of saying, "Been there, done that, got the exoskeleton," as dry brown shells crunch beneath your feet.

I long to pick up the phone and tell friends living in states west of the Mississippi (poor deprived states that do not host Brood X cicadas), "Yes, we sautéed a couple of them in butter last night. Tasted like canned asparagus. They're Atkins friendly, you know; low carb." Of course, I'd be lying. You'd have to be nuts to eat a cicada, but I'd still love to say that.

Each evening I go to bed thinking this will be the night we hear the mating call of the cicadas known to reach 90 decibels. When they jar me from my sleep, I'll fly to the window, tell Old Red Eyes to put a cork in it and slam the window shut! Someday I will. Right now, with the exception of two doves and a dog, all is quiet on the western front. North, east and south, too.

Each morning when I go out for the newspaper, I take a broom in case I have to sweep cicadas off the door in order to leave the house. There has been nothing on the front door but fingerprints.

Each time I get in the car, I check the backseat window in case one flew in, hoping to distract me in traffic. All I've found is a gum wrapper, 37 cents in change and an old dead fly.

A family two miles north of us doesn't go out in the daytime because the cicadas are so thick. Whenever they open their front door, the varmints zoom into the house terrorizing the four-year-old and entertaining the baby. Meanwhile, I put out a Cicadas Welcome Here banner and I don't get so much as a knock.

Some people get all the breaks.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.


© 2004, Lori Borgman