Archive for March 24th, 2008

I don’t know much about bugs. Not their scientific names nor which ones are considered to be insects and which are not. I think insects are a subset of a larger group called arthropods, of which spiders are also a subset. And I think there is something about a bug’s body — how many sections it has and how many legs — that makes it an insect or not. But honestly, I must have been asleep during that part of Biology.

And, where do we learn about bugs? Is it 6th grade Science?

I remember toads, the ones we dissected in Mr. Gruner’s 10th grade Biology class. I remember how we made fun of Sheila R. for how she used her long manicured nails to pull the large intestine away from the frog’s stomach lining, and how later, as she ate her ham and mustard sandwich at lunch she took her thumb and mined and licked the mustard from under the same fingernail she used earlier to poke at the toad.

Ew, Laurie Harris and I said in unison. We didn’t like Sheila’s thick auburn hair, which she expertly styled. Laurie’s thin hair barely held a quasi-Farrah Faucett flip, which she got only after holding the curling iron for way more seconds than she was supposed to. Me, I had major hair envy. And nail envy, and height envy. It was satisfying to see Sheila inadvertently eat toad innards with every lick of mustard.

I know some people have bug phobias, like Aunt Erma, who once freaked out inside a moving car when she saw a moth flutter on the dashboard. We were headed from Grandma’s house to the racetrack, and I thought Uncle Henry was going to swerve off the highway, what with Erma lurching this way and that on the front bench seat. Tina and I were in the back, already sitting low since we considered ourselves too cool to be riding with her parents. When Erma started flailing and screaming, we sunk even lower.

I think I have a healthy respect for bugs. Today I raked leaves for two hours in the back courtyard and underneath the almost black loam of partially decomposed leaves I unearthed two healthy earthworms. They were fat and lively, writhing in the sudden light and air. I picked them up with gloved hands and walked them to the bunches of daffodils growing under the apricot tree.

I hope they managed to burrow into a cool spot down in that dirt, where they will continue to fatten and eat grubs and other bad bugs. I wonder, are earthworms insects?

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – INSECTS & SPIDERS & BUGS, OH MY!

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