Saturday, June 21, 2008

Questions, Answers, and Bugs Dying Feet

My house is a place were bugs come to die.

It's true.

What's more, it doesn't bother me in the least.

As much as I love my little house, I recognize it's faults. There are many. Yet, it is a rental house and there is only so much that I can do, and so much that I can seem to get my landlord to do. One such fault that I simply can't fix by myself and, evidently, is not deemed to be of great importance to the man who owns the house is the fact that there are multitudes of little cracks and crevices that allow the little many legged creatures access to my living space. It's an older house and it has settled, the windows and doors just aren't as tight as they used to be.

So I compensate as best I can by laying a trail, inside and out of "bug killer". I do it each spring, and generally follow it up in the summer and fall. Bugs don't bother me in their natural habitat. If those grasshoppers want to live in the field across the street, I say "more power to them!". If those ants and beetles and june bugs and spiders and crickets and other creepy crawlies want to live out in my yard or garden, well ... hey! Grass and plants are nature, insects are nature, I say let them live hand in hand.


Inside my house is not where I want to find something more than a creature that stands on two legs. Unless I finally give into the growing temptation and add a small four legged canine creature to my household. I'm the one that pays the rent on this domicile, not them and therefore - since they won't leave when asked - I say, "Die Bug, Die!".

Does this make me a bad person?

Eh! Sorry. Not really caring.

So ... here's what happens ... bugs come in ... they cross, of their own choosing, the barrier that I have invisibly erected around the perimeter of my living room, my kitchen, my hallway, my bedrooms and they believe in their little insect minds that they have it made, that they have survived. But they don't. With the exception of a pesky slug that kept finding ways around my barrier of salt, they all tend to die fairly quickly.

Now there are the occasional crickets and "doodle bugs" that have, over the years, been rescued by some youthful girlies (The same ones who screech and jump up onto the couch, chairs, counters, etc. if a spider looks at them askance from the doorway 10 feet away, but we won't mention that now, will we?) and tossed back to their natural habitat of the outdoors. But these are few, and far between. Generally ... the bugs ... they die.

Nothing could make me happier.

Yet, here's where my mind has wandered this morning (yes, there is actually a reason, a thought behind these words I'm putting to paper - computer - whatever - this morning) and has me writing.

Why do bugs die with their feet in the air?


They're crawling along and their time is up and they somehow manage to flip themselves over onto their backs, sticking their tiny little legs up into the air. Crickets do it. "Doodle bugs" do it. Those little black "I don't know WHAT the heck they are but they annoy the crap out of me" bugs do it. They all do. Why?

I realize that this may seem like a childish question, but can someone tell me why?

Today we have the wonderful internet and we can "Ask Jeeves" these questions, or we can do a "Google Search" and look up these subjects and find the answers to our questions. Children are always asking the "why?" question ... "Why is the sky blue?" ... "Why is fire yellow?" ... "Why do feet smell, even when you've been walking in water puddles?" Yes, they are always looking for answers. It's what keeps them learning, keeps them searching - expanding their horizons. As much as we grownups dread the "why?" questions, children need to ask them and we need to respond with as much truth and information as we deem their youthful minds can accept, given their ages and maturity.

Yet we don't always have the answers. Hence falling back on the wonderful world of "Ask Jeeves", Google, and Wikipedia, et. al. Hopefully answers can be located there. However, we didn't always have the internet. What did parents do before the internet? Lie? Make up answers? Continually go to the library?

Play the chase game of "Go ask your father", which would, inevitably result in the "Go ask your mother" response?

Books were where the fountain of knowledge lay during those *mumblemumble* years ago. I remember when my parents got our first set of World Book Encyclopedias. This huge selection of green and white books that came filled with all this information. They also got the series of Childcraft books that went along with the encyclopedias - books filled with stories, music, poems, crafts, useful learning tools for children. The standard answer to our "why?" questions in our house for my brother and I became ... "Did you look it up?" Placed on the "easily reachable by childish hands" shelving in our family's den, the encyclopedias took their place with the dictionaries and other reference books that my parents had collected over the years. During the school year, these books would wander from those shelves to the couch or the bedroom or the table ... where ever homework was being done or answers were being seeked.

A couple years after the arrival of the encyclopedias came four books that were truly fun and amazing ... they were the "Tell Me Why" books. These books were great. You could literally look up questions and find answers. At the time, I accepted them for what they were - something fun and interesting to read or to find answers. I was a kid. I didn't realize what a book such as that entailed - the formatting of questions into sections to find easier, the compilation of thousands of childish questions and their answers written for youthful understanding.

For me, and my little brother, they were just really cool books - paper and words bound together. From our earliest days, we both loved to read and these books were not only interesting and entertaining, but also filled with facts and knowledge and information. How wonderfully sneaky were our parents to provide something to teach us while we were entertained, yet be safe and secure in the fact that the information we were receiving was not something damaging, something that was not wholesome, was not bad for us?

Today, children have questions and are sent to the computer, to the internet, to these websites that may contain the information that they need but may also provide further information that youthful minds simply don't need to have. This frightens me in so many ways for our children of today. Make no mistake, I love the world of the internet and I make use of it daily. I love the quick access to the information that I desire. During times of homework, projects (gotta LOVE those science projects, history projects, geography projects), and just plain questions - the internet has provided a source of answers for my girlies when all my brain could come up with is "I don't know". However, it is my responsibility as the adult to make certain that they are accessing sites that provide only the information that they need and not something that young eyes, minds, and hearts do not need to witness or read.

That's a responsibility I don't take lightly. I just wish that more adults would think the same way because it breaks my heart when I hear a five year old discussing topics in graphic fashion. A five year old should not know the complete details of how a baby is made and how it arrives to this world. A seven year old does not need to learn the details of how sex is performed. An eight year old should not have access to information on how to construct a weapon or bomb.

What's my point about this, you ask? Simply this ... even though it is easier to just send a child to the computer when they ask the "why?" question, we can't just allow them to do that. We, as adults, need to know what they are reading is appropriate for the ages and maturity level that they have acheived. We need to allow our children to remain children and not allow them to become tiny grown ups. We need to remember that children should be playing outside with a rubber ball, with an umbrella in the rain - making their feet stinky in the puddles.

Of course, this is just my viewpoint. Children are going to ask questions ... it's just a natural part of childhood. It's up to us to determine the response that they receive, the amount of information that they need to have to satisfy their curiosity. Shouldn't we know where the answers to our children's questions are coming from?

Personally, I'd rather answer the question of "why do bugs die with their feet in the air?" than "why did Timmy shoot our teacher?".

Maybe because there the answers to some questions don't come in a book, or the internet because they are questions that children simply shouldn't have to ask. But then, maybe that's just me.

Oh ... btw ... according to John Meyer, entomolgy professor at North Carolina State University, it is believed that bugs die with their feet in the air is not intended but rather, a result of the fact that the insecticide affects their nervous system and so their coordination declines and they are unable to right themselves if they get turned over due to a breeze, a fall, a bump from another bug, etc. I should probably feel sorry for them that I am affecting their nervous system ... but ... I'm not.


InkyOrchid said...

My first house was infested with daddy long legs. And last year, ants came to visit me in my new house. War was declared.

psychoactive toad said...

why do bugs die with their feet in the air?

So that people will look at their carcasses and say, "Why do bugs die with their feet in the air?" It's a great bug conspiracy to make humans go "WTF?" They're in cahoots with the socks.

koosh said...

What was it you were talking about, MM? I was distracted by the half dozen mosquitoes immediately feasting upon me. Apparently a friend notified a friend who invited a few more friends to the dinner party I wasn't warned of.

They're actually rather elegant, the way they land so softly, drill so gently. Too bad the aftermath stings so hellishly... You know I'm completely serious, right? It's been a great test of my fortitude - this refusal to kill. I've suggested (strongly) to Spirit that I deserve BIG medicine for enduring this! :D