Tag Archives: science fiction

Waltz of the Cicadas


Well, the cicadas have been out for about three weeks or so now, so I suppose I need to write about them.  I recall they came out the year I graduated from college,  in ’70. That would be 1970, not 1870, as you might expect. They were all over the place then, and I associate them with my soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, who squealed and jumped every time she came across one of them. And there were a lot of them on the sidewalks. The way she reacted to them is one reason I broke up with there. The other reasons are not important now.

I hear the eerie siren call (except I don’t need to be tied to no mast to resist it) of the cicadas every time I step outside the house, and sometimes when it’s really quiet, I hear them inside the house. When that business started a while back, I thought a pipe had burst. No, donkey, it’s only the invasion of the seventeen-year insectoids. Their sound reminds me of the noise made by alien space ships in the ’50’s sci-fi films. They’re out there in the woods, and they’re planning to take us over! Maybe they’ll start with Washington and take over Congress. You know, that might be such a bad idea. They could turn out the present crew in power, enact a bunch of thoughtful and far-reaching legislation that would change everything for the better, and then go burrow in the ground for seventeen years and leave us alone until we needed them again. Does that sound like a plan to you? It does to me!

I also think cicadas look like something from another planet. I know they’re an entomologist’s dream. [I wanted to write “etymologist,” but that’s someone who studies word origins, like the origin of the phrase, “sci fi.” It’s a contraction of the phrase “science fiction (duh), and Britannica’s 1955 Book of the Year used it, so that’s when things underwent a contraction. Now it’s even the name of a cable channel, but they spell it funny: “Sy Fy.” As if, you wacky cable channel people!] Anyhow, cicadas just creep me out. I know they can’t help it and their life cycle is amazing (if you can call it a life: hang out underground for seventeen years, come up out of the earth, sing your heart out, mate, and die. Almost bad as a penguin’s life. Hatch, march to the sea, jump in, eat, maybe be devoured by a sea lion, jump out, waddle back to the mating grounds. If you’re a lady, lay an egg. If you’re a male, sit on the darn egg until it hatches, herd the baby penguin to the sea where you eat for the first time in who knows how long, maybe be eaten, and repeat the whole process over again. Lather, rinse, repeat. No, thanks. Even with this messed up world, I like being a human. So good luck to us all, cicadas, penguins and people we’re all going to need it!

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