Don’t Call it a Coma; I’ve Just Been Underground for 17 Years
(A message from a Brood II cicada)
Hey, didja miss me? Of course you did! Wait. You say you don’t remember me? How can that be? I was the little nymph who shouted, “What’s up!” as I fell from the maple tree in your backyard. You waved to me, dude!
Don’t remember that, huh? Well, I do. I’ve been mulling over what you’ve been up to and other stuff in my 17 years in the dirt. I gotta tell ya, it ain’t the best down there. Tight space, no sunlight, only thing to eat is tree sap from the roots. No paradise on Earth, believe me.
Do you have a minute? That’s all I can spare. I need to get going soon, got some stuff to do. I’m only gonna live a handful of weeks, so I’ve got to make sure I get to the important stuff, if you know what I mean.
I want to run some things by you. When I went into the hole, the other cicadas were buzzing about stuff, and I’ve been wondering about it all. Clinton was smoothly chugging along back in ’96. Did he get a second term? How’d that work out? What about the Olympics down there in Hotlanta? Cool to have the games in America, right? And that cloned sheep, that Dolly, she was something else. I felt pretty sad about that news. Leave it to scientists to take all the fun out of having kids. You clone an animal in a lab, it takes away the important stuff! Is that how all creatures are born these days? Is everything a bunch of clones walking around?
Well, it kinda feels that way. I flew around the neighborhood, check out what’s new, you know? Everybody’s walking around staring down at these little metal rectangles. But some people hold them up to their ears. What’s the deal? Are they phones? Little TVs? Or some crazy Star Trek, beam-me-up kind of shit?
Thank goodness I finally beamed up. Seventeen years in the dirt ain’t fun, let me tell you. We’re talking epic Seasonal Affective Disorder and cabin fever here. Don’t let me hear you whining about being cooped up for a couple days in a snowstorm in some cabin in Colorado. That’s nothing, man. A whole lot of nothing. Try living for 17 years on just tree sap, pal.
It’s much better out here in the sunshine and fresh air. Awesome to stretch my wings, feel the wind on my face. While I was flying around, I noticed other changes, too. My connection for tunes, the cool Tower Records store, that’s no longer there. Same with Blockbuster Video. And Borders Books went bye-bye. What gives? Where’d everything go? Dorothy, we’re not in 1996 any more!
It’s enough to stress a guy out—but I can’t let it get to me. With only handful of weeks ’til the Grim Reaper comes calling and all that. You can go ahead and get stressed out about your cholesterol and Justin Bieber and your mortgage rate and your teeth whiteners and the Kardashians, whatever the hell that is. I could care less! I’ve got a month to soak up the world top side, and I’ve got just one purpose in mind.
That said, I better get going. I’m gonna try some of this Red Bull & vodka stuff I heard about and get down to business. You know what I’m talking about. It’s time to pop in some Marvin Gaye and get it on, baby. I’ll be playing the groove on my tymbals, and you’ll see the ladies come a-runnin’. They love it, believe me. We’ve got to live it up while we still can. I’ve been waiting a long, looong time for this.
After hearing about the emergence of the Brood II cicadas in the east coast this spring, I hoped for something along the lines of the Brood X arrival back in 2004. Experts reported that this year’s brood wouldn’t be as prevalent or as loud as back then, but I still looked forward to the fascinating experience these insects provided. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen or heard any of them where I live in Maryland. But, while in Virginia, I did get to see one and hear them in the distance. Their rhythmic sound is what I would imagine an alien invasion might sound like. But then, these creatures are kind of alien by keeping underground for so long and invading us for a couple weeks, staring at us with their big, red eyes and hitting us in their clumsy flight. The story behind them is fascinating, of being underground for 17 years before climbing up and sticking around for only two weeks. So I’ll have to wait until Brood X returns in 2021 to get the full alien invasion again.