I hate grasshoppers. Their beady little eyes, their twitching antennae, their tendency to hop right onto you with their sticky little legs. Ewww. If I had been Pharaoh when the plague of grasshoppers was sent by God to free His people, I would have gladly let them go. I would have packed for them. In fact, I probably would have said something like, “Please, Moses, take all my slaves. Just take those disgusting insects with you. In fact, if where you’re going doesn’t have any grasshoppers, I’ll join you. I’ll be your slave. Just get these things off of me!” This decree would have been given while I was climbing as high as possible on my royal throne, using my royal turban and scepter to swat as many of those ugly little beasts as Egyptian cotton and rods of gold could handle.
I may not be the pharaoh, but I have been plagued with grasshoppers the past few weeks. They’ve been feasting on my garden, and the trail where I run is covered in them. I do my best not to shriek out loud when they hop close to me. I am mostly successful. But a few random squeals have escaped my lips. I’ve been careful not to scream too loudly. After all, I don’t want people to think I’m being attacked and then come running. When I actually need protection for more than insect fiends, it will be “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome and I’ll be summarily eaten.
A lot of grasshoppers have been squished along the trail. I’m not crying over their demise, but I think a dismembered grasshopper is almost yuckier than a live one. I don’t know what possesses some of them to play chicken with the strollers, joggers, and bikes that come by. But I have watched, grossly fascinated as some of them wait until the last possible second to jump out of the way. I figure these must be the teenaged grasshoppers. The more experienced grasshoppers jump long before anything gets near them. Judging by the trailkill, an entire generation of teenaged grasshoppers has been just a little off on their timing.
My kids don’t share my abhorrence for the revolting greenish creatures. My five-year-old has called them “cute”. In the back yard, my sweet daughter said, “Mom, come quick, I want to show you something really cool!” I rushed over and then stopped short a good ten feet away.
“Isn’t it a cute little grasshopper? Don’t you just love it?” she purred.
My eyes were almost as buggy as his little beady ones. But this was a moment to keep calm and mother on even though all I wanted to do was back away shuddering at best and shrieking mindlessly at worst. I managed a weak, “Nice,” then I said, “Your sister wants me to push her in the swing. Thanks for showing me,” and I ran away in the other direction, dragging my two-year-old with me to make the story plausible.
My kids don’t know how much I hate grasshoppers. I’ve told them I don’t like them because they eat my flowers, but I can’t let them know about my serious, nearly pathological, aversion to them. Because then I’m sure I’d find one under my covers. You won’t tell them, will you?