It's Enough To Drive You Buggy
By Tony Kornheiser
Wednesday, May 12, 2004; Page D01
You can stop feeling sorry for the way Michael Jordan, Jaromir Jagr, Steve Spurrier, Doug Collins and Bruce Cassidy were all kicked to the curb in the past year. Sure, they were publicly humiliated. But who's got the last laugh now?
They got out of Dodge just in time.
Before the cicadas emerged.
Washington, get ready for flying hell. (Snakeheads, of course, are swimming hell.)
You thought "Van Helsing" was bad? You thought nothing could be worse than the Olsen twins' movie? Try sitting out in your backyard having a cold one when the cicadas start dropping from trees like World War II paratroopers over Normandy. Reportedly, there will be 1.5 million cicadas per square acre. One-point-five MILLION! We're going to be dripping with cicadas. My friend Tony Reali, "Stat Boy," has calculated that every Washingtonian will have to average 8,000 cicada kills per hour to keep them at bay. I don't know about you, but I can't spend the entire month killing cicadas. At some point I'm going to have to take a few hours to apply for a bank loan to buy gas.
The way the cicada invasion has been explained to me, first the cicadas crawl out from their 17-year hibernation in the soil. Then they shed their shells and fly around like maniacs, creating a wall of noise that is even worse than listening to William Hung and Fran Drescher croon, "Endless Love." Then they begin carrying off household appliances, small children and jockeys. Then they mate. They then smoke a cigarette, and go back into the ground to await the Wizards making the playoffs. Yes, the Wizards are on a cicada cycle themselves -- one win in the playoffs in the last 17 years.
Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to the cicadas. I may not be quite as panicked as Stat Boy, who's thinking of renting a beekeeper's suit. But the prospect of a full-scale cicada invasion has me very anxious. I have become fixated on the fact that cicadas have red eyes, because I think this means they have developed night vision. I think this time they are going to be bigger and stronger than ever. (Look at how big and strong Barry Bonds has become in the last five years -- let alone the last 17.) And I believe this time they are going to begin carrying us off like the flying monkeys did in "The Wizard of Oz." I believe they are avenging angels, come here to punish us for super-sizing and "The Swan."
You're crazy, Tony. They're harmless little bugs. All the scientists say that cicadas are simply annoying.
No, Hannity and Colmes are simply annoying. Cicadas are a clear and present danger. And please don't tell me about what scientists say. Scientists are just weathermen with real academic degrees -- not those phony-baloney certificates from the "American Meteorological Society." (Like that isn't down the street from the "Famous Bartenders Academy.") Let me ask you something: How many times has Bob Ryan gotten the snowfall prediction wrong these last 17 years? What, maybe 200 times? Why would you think "scientists" would get this right? They haven't seen any cicadas in 17 years. They're telling you how to win the last war, not this one. What if these cicadas are buff because they've had personal trainers? What if this is a new strain of cicadas, like killer bees? What if Steve Spurrier coached 'em up? Then, my friends, we are meat.
In times like these, I really envy Jerry Stackhouse. He's down at the beach, getting that eight-day week rental, and avoiding the onslaught of cicadas. Too bad he didn't take that guy Nowak with him so Freddy Adu can play the full game. (By the way I fear for Freddy Adu's safety during the cicada invasion. Adu may be just young enough and small enough that he could be carried off. Then where would MLS be?) D.C. United really ought to use the cicadas to its advantage. The team should have "Cicada Day," where the first 5,000 fans through the turnstiles get a bag of cicadas. And then the next 5,000 fans get two bags.
The cicadas are already beginning to come out. You can see the shells they've abandoned -- they're all over the place. On the sidewalk. On your car. They crack when you step on them, and the sad crunch beneath your feet sounds a little like the hearts breaking all over New England last October when that dope Grady Little left Pedro in the game. (By the way, my dog Maggie is going nuts eating these critters. Every time she goes outside, it's like a buffet at Denny's for her. )
It's hard to believe it's been 17 years since the cicadas were last here. To tell the truth I hardly remember them from before. I was here in 1987. I'm sure I stepped on the shells. I'm sure I had to sweep them off my walk and my car. I'm sure I hated the noise the cicadas made. (Though how much worse can their noise be than Ryan Seacrest's?) But it's not like the cicadas swooped down, picked up my car, flew off with it and dropped it in La Plata. I think I'd remember if the cicadas were terrible. I mean, I remember Ike Austin, and he was terrible. Maybe this whole cicada thing will be overblown. Maybe the cicadas won't be that bad this time.
On some levels I admire the cicadas for disappearing for 17 years. Why can't David Falk and the Poston brothers do that? Do you realize how much has changed in the 17 years since the cicadas were here? Actually, not that much. Major League Baseball is still jerking us around about getting a team, and 12 or 13 coaches later, the Wizards still stink. Not to mention I'm still writing about Joe Gibbs. Come to think of it, Gibbs was away for so long, now that he's back, he almost qualifies as an honorary cicada.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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Cicadas Are Coming In a few weeks, nymphs will crawl out of the ground. Prepare to welcome Brood X.
Test Your Knowledge Think you know what Brood X is or where the cicadas live? Take our quiz and find out.
Cicada Emergence by the Numbers
For Cicadas, Life Is Better in the Burbs (The Washington Post, May 12, 2004)
CICADA BUZZ (The Washington Post, May 12, 2004)
Vanguard of Brood X Marks Its Spot: All Over (The Washington Post, May 11, 2004)
Party Crashers (The Washington Post, May 6, 2004)
Riding the Buzz Before the Cicadas' Roar (The Washington Post, May 7, 2004)
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