Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Crickets and Cicadas

It seems that everyone is talking about them. Well, maybe not everyone but poets have been writing about cicadas since the Greeks and just this morning I overheard someone in the laundry room speaking about crickets. Now I have learned that cicadas are a completely different species from crickets.

You may not care about such things but I imagine a cricket, with no sense of direction, wouldn’t be looked upon kindly in a throng of cicadas. They might serenade him to an early demise.

I always thought cicadas were the highfalutin name used by people who graduated college heavily in debt and needed to show something for all that while the rest of us just say crickets.

Marlon Brando has a great line in On the Waterfront when Eva Marie Saint suggests that he move to the country. He says, Naw, da crickets make me noivous.

He would never have said cicadas. They are related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs (you have to love them for that) and crickets have no such lineage. Neither are they in the locust family in spite of the Bob Dylan song.

Both of them sing as best they can. Only male crickets have that instrument on their wings while male cicadas have their noise-makers on their tummies. Not sure how gender politics may look upon this.

I gave up singing in the 6th grade when I was designated a Listener. Nothing cricket about that. I’m so tone deaf I have to lip-synch Happy Birthday. If I had wings to rub together, I might have been invited to more parties.

The most famous cricket is, of course, Jiminy Cricket which I always took as one of those euphemisms for Jesus Christ along with Jumping Jehoshaphat.

People actually grow crickets in farms. Who knew? They can be used to increase protein intake for the livestock. Sort of like Ensure-Plus. They also make Good Bait… one of my favorite jazz tunes.

In fact, cicadas are on the menu throughout Asia. Beware of what you order from column B. I’m told, they taste like mushy asparagus and can never be mistaken for beef broccoli.

I’m glad we’ve cleared up all these matters. Now I’m ready for those summer nights when a choir of either one or both can chirp me back to my misspent youth, suddenly lit by fireflies in the deep silence when crickets hesitate.*

*Those last two words are taken from Leonard Cohen's Heart With No Companion




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