July 28, 2005

Earlier this week I found the first June bug – one of those really big green beetles with the shiny gold underside – of the summer. I don’t know why they’re called "June bugs", since even when I was a kid I didn’t usually see them until July. I remember the first time I found some June bugs was when they invaded the yard of one of my grandmother’s neighbors. It was a Saturday morning, I was staying with my grandmother, and we looked at the next yard over where some big yew bushes were covered with clouds of, well, they looked like radioactive clouds of death. If it weren’t for the buzzing I might not have known they were bugs. My grandmother was terrified, but then she was terrified of everything. Since my grandmother was terrified I had to run over and see what the bugs were, and once I showed her they were June bugs she relaxed. She didn’t think June bugs were as dangerous as, say, eating watermelon (which is the world’s most dangerous activity since accidentally biting the white part causes spontaneous decapitation), and she showed me how to tie a string to their legs. I realize this sounds incredibly cruel, and it is – especially since a June bug with a string tied to its leg will eventually get up a good head of steam and fly off, leaving its leg behind.

Unfortunately it’s not the worst thing I did to June bugs. I’m not proud of a brief period of my childhood when, as far as insects were concerned, I was a junior Doctor Mengele. Admittedly I did learn a few useful facts. Did you know you can put a June bug in the freezer for fifteen minutes, then take it out and, once it thaws, it will fly away? I admit I wanted to try this same experiment on my best friend Paul who deserved it a lot more than the June bugs, but he wouldn’t fit in the freezer. Also I had this crazy idea that it might be wrong to put a human being in the freezer, even if, like Paul, he did steal my Big Wheel. I don’t know where I got that idea, or why it didn’t apply to June bugs, but it’s reassuring. I’ve heard that serial killers usually start as children with animals before they move to people. I don’t know if, say, Dahmer started with June bugs. I hope not, but, what if, like Renfield from "Dracula", he started with ants, moved up to June bugs, and climbed the evolutionary ladder from there? At least at this point in my life I think it’s safe to say that I may be a little crazy but I’m not a full-blown whacko sociopath. I don’t want to put anyone in a freezer or harm them in any way. I don’t even tie strings to the legs of June bugs anymore, at least partly because I feel guilty about what I did to their relatives. Obviously it’s good that the strangest thing I ever put in the freezer was a june bug. Even though I probably would have outgrown it anyway, I gave it up when I discovered that leaving a June bug in the freezer next to the pot roast where your mother will find it is even more dangerous than eating watermelon.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

The trees are whistling for the dogs.

The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

Hot water now comes out of both taps.

You can make sun tea instantly.

You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.

You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

You actually burn your hand opening the car door.

You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.

Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.

Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

The cows are giving evaporated milk.

Ah, what a place to call home.

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