Friday, May 28, 2004

Putting It In Perspective


Blue Eyed Soul
A number of people have told me that there is a reward being offered for blue eyed cicadas (normally their eyes are red). One person said it was $500, another said it was $1000, and I've even heard $10,000. One guy went as far as to tell me that there are "only 625 of them."

Being the cynic I am--though I admit to buying into the whole WMD thing--I told them all that it there's no such critter as a cicada with blue eyes, and that the whole thing is one of those silly internet rumors that people fall for, like that whole Atkins Diet thing.

Still, since I consider myself to be a self-appointed internationally renown cicada expert who once tried to mate with one, I thought I should check into this story further. And as it turns out, I was half right.

Some cicadas do, in fact, have blue eyes. The best guess is that maybe 1% of the total population does.

Alas, there is no reward, however. No one seems to be sure how the rumor started, except that it was supposedly Johns Hopkins University offering it. A spokesperson for the university said not only is the story NOT true, but their biology department doesn't even have an entomologist on the staff.

But enough of what OTHER experts have discovered. Let's talk about my own, personal research into the habits of these little guys.

First of all, you know how nuns in a convent will sometimes synchronize their menstrual cycles? Well, I've found that cicadas do the same thing.

No, not with their menstrual cycles. As far as I've been able to tell, they don't even have periods. And that theory is based on the observation that no female cicada has ever sent her boyfriend out to buy tampons. However, if you a large number of them in close proximity--say within a single tree, or clump of trees--their singing becomes synchronized. You can actually hear the volume rise and ebb every 10 seconds or so.

And an individual cicada kind of sounds like a foghorn. It makes a longer, higher pitched sound, and then a shorter, lower pitched one.

I became so intrigued by these generalized observations that I decided to tag along with a male cicada as he made his rounds. We'll call him Charlie.... Yes, Charlie the Cicada.

Like males of most species, Charlie likes to meet his women in bars. Fortunately, cicadas have a pretty extensive network of drinking establishments. This is certainly understandable, since who among us wouldn't resort to large amounts of alcohol if we knew we only had another two weeks to live?

And fortunately their drinking age is 17.

Charlie: (Approaching a female cicada at the bar) Hey baby, come here often?

Female 1: Get lost.

Charlie: Uh, sure. (Turning to a different female) Hey, baby, What's your sign?

Female 2: What are you, stupid or something? Every last one of us hatched in the second week of August, 1987, and you're asking what sign I am!?!

Charlie: (Approaching a third female) If I told you have a beautiful pair of wings, would you flutter them for me?

Female 3: (Throws drink in Charlie's face) Loser.

(Charlie suddenly realizes he's in a lesbian cicada bar. Decides to try his luck up the street)

Charlie: Say, you have the most beautiful, beadiest red eyes I've ever seen.

Female 4: Thanks! Wanna f*ck?

Charlie: Okay.

(Ten seconds go by...)

Female 4: WOW!!! You were the best of the 372 guys I've mated with today!! Will you call me tomorrow?

Charlie: Uh, yeah, sure thing, baby. Seeya!!!

Female 4: Let me give you my phone number.... HEY!! COME BACK!!

(While flying across the street, Charlie is squashed by a car windshield)

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