Guys and Beasties

What is it with guys and those living creatures we gals aren’t fond of? Perhaps my view on this is restricted by the circles I now live in, but I think it has wider implications.

I was fortunate that my son wasn’t too interested in the bugs and beasts, so I escaped the type of episode my brother subjected my mother to when he was about 12. He had developed an interest in biology, of which we all, of course, were very supportive. Finally, little Bro was developing some type of academic leanings. Our support, however, led us into new territory when Bro arrived home with a dog carcass he had obtained from the local vet. His autopsy efforts kept all of us out of the basement for days! Well, at least he didn’t bring home bugs or snakes.

It’s not that I am particularly afraid or repulsed by bugs and snakes. I’m not like my ex-daughter-in-law who freaks at the sight of a spider or wasp. I consider myself pretty grownup about such things. Being a military wife and later a single parent for years has instilled in me a streak of self-reliance and practicability that many men and women may lack.

I mean, after all those gigantic flying cockroaches and lizard-infested rooms on Okinawa, Japan, how could I be too squeamish?   Well, I’m not, but, guys, you do astound me sometimes!

For example, we have three entomologists at our karate school. Not one, three! One showed up at my Christmas party years ago with chocolate chirp cookies.   The chirp means the crunch in those tasty treats was crickets, not nuts.   The cookies were better than your usual run of chocolate chip though that was probably due to a good recipe and not the inclusion of the crickets.  What was funny that night were the numbers of folks (men) who refused to even try them! There were leftovers.

This summer our pool party featured deviled eggs with bug parts. I did not ask what bugs. I did not need to know that piece of information. They were quite tasty with a little added crunch. The party hostess reached the buffet as I was taking the last one. She exclaimed, “Oh, they’re all gone. Too bad.” Her face fell when I offered her half of mine. She accepted and slunk off to the side.

Yep, the plate was clean. The past years had instituted a dare system with both entomologists harking their wares. No one dared not to try those eggs!

Now I find these guys are swapping recipes. I’m not sure whether to fear or anticipate the next party.

Now, if that isn’t bad enough, there is my husband. I won’t tell you about his phobia. His fear of one specific member of the insect world simply doesn’t compute when you discover his interest in snakes and other creepy crawly things. He loves snakes and turtles and all sorts of other living things. And what does he do? As if he were my young son, as if he were still a boy, he brings them home.

First, snakes. He had one when we married. I believe it was a king snake. That aquarium went into my teenage son’s room. Eventually my son let it lose. Nowadays, my husband is constantly reporting to me what snake he’s found, how he moved it off the road, you know, like pygmy rattlers and copperheads. I was relieved when he didn’t bring them home.

But now, our neighboring entomologist has requested a rattler. He said to bring it home for him! Boys will be boys, I guess.

My hunter husband is always relaying bits of data to me about the animal kingdom. I know an incredible amount about deer, bears and other denizens of the forest. Last night we even watched a national geographic special on snakes. He is forever turning to the Discover channel to watch informative, yet boring, programs on fierce, poisonous or weird things.

I must admit, though, that a baby box turtle turned out to be an episode to cherish. He found one the other morning during his jog and, of course, brought it home. It wasn’t the first turtle he had walked in with, for he seems to have a particular fondness for them. He announced he was going to keep it. I took the 2 inch beastie from him all the while wondering did we still have an aquarium?

A moment later he changed his mind and said he would let it go instead. Feeling fonder of the critter at that point, I was letting it roam around my hands. It wasn’t as shy or scared as the ones I’ve handled before.

I looked down to see my dog, Micky, the basset/golden retriever mix (yeah, I know that’s weird). Micky was very interested in my little friend. She has a wonderfully large heart and loves everything and everybody and was interested in either gaining a new friend or eating it. I leaned over to let Micky sniff the turtle. She really didn’t know what to make of it. Then the dangedest thing happened. That little 2 inch turtle bit Micky’s nose!

Micky’s offense was noticeable. She withdrew. Our delight in our turtle friend’s self-assertion has not faded even today, a week later.

Ah, yes, memories to cherish. So what if it’s the grownup and not the kid who furnishes them? Yep, boys will be boys–and they will be men, too.

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