In case you don’t spend your life looking up nature’s most egregious errors like I do, cicadas are hideous, winged insects that lie burrowed beneath the earth’s surface for 13-17 years, largely because even Mother Nature recognizes them as too shitty to exist on our planet 24/7. After sleeping away the best years of their lives, they emerge in a haze of molting skin and total uselessness. They shed everywhere, thick and scaly, like my forearms after a terrible sunburn.
Cicadas vary in size, but not in ugly: all are vile. They have these beady red eyes, just like Satan, and long, translucent wings. Someday, I hope to Eternal Sunshine the images I have seen of them from my memory. The fact that I had to save multiple photos of cicadas to my desktop in order to use them for this piece makes me want to burrow inside my own brain and pull the plug.
I have never actually seen one in real life, and I know this for a fact because I have not yet jumped into a vat of boiling acid to escape from this bullshit world. But I read enough Ranger Rick as a child to identify their buggy facade. I watch enough horror movies to recognize the face of evil when it is right in front of me. I should probably leave a disclaimer somewhere about my fear of insects because perhaps that is important. I am scared of even the most benign and adorable (ex: lady bugs and butterflies). The other night I spent an hour tearing apart my bedroom because a spider crawled behind my armoire. I almost cried after I hit it with a magazine because it was a magazine that I hadn’t read yet, and now will never read. I will be happiest living out my days in a block of cement, a coffin.
In my attempts to rectify my hatred and fear of cicadas, I took to Google. In doing so, I discovered two things – I have no gag reflex and, less importantly, that cicadas are generally harmless to humans. They are well-liked for some reason still completely unknown to me. If anyone can explain this, please do not, you have poor judgment. Cicadas are monsters. But people love to help them dig their way out of the ground. Children hold them. This guy lets them swarm all over him and there goes the neighborhood:
I had no idea cicadas were so revered. Some of the most articulate YouTube comments I have ever read deal with cicada appreciation. Entomologists cry over how wonderful and amazing they are, but entomologists are the worst because bugs are the worst, so whatever. My dad calls them, “cute,” but he has terrible taste. People all over the Internet refer to their yearly emergence as an indicator that summer has finally arrived, that they are a good sign. You know how I know summer is here? It is June. Summer begins in June. Buy a fucking calendar.
Originally written for Greasy Mag.