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Bug Off by Deniz Dutton
 

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  • I feel that when you're young, very young, you risk things more; yet you risk without knowing that you are risking. In fact, there is this saying, What you don't know can't hurt you. This applies perfectly to the youth. If you don't know what the consequences are of a desired action, why not make the move? I myself feel that I have become less and less adventurous. It's the side effect of becoming more knowledgeable and aware over the years. It used to be, I'd scale a foreign fence or roof without any hesitation, that I'd stick my hand in a dark hole in the ground with no fear, that I'd clutch centipedes and spiders and praying mantises and beetles in my hands while laughing, without the slightest worry of being bitten or pooped on.

    Which brings us to the case of bugs. Yes, I used to love bugs. Creepy Crawliness did not concern me; nor did hairy, ticklish legs or sharp pincers. I would slip them across my fingers, stroke their iridescent wings. But now....I don't know when I started going ewww. Perhaps my revolting towards insects began when I captured a centipede from the garden, prepared a mix of leaves and twigs and soil inside a plastic container, placed in the poor captive bug, and stared at my arrangement, willing for action. Nothing happened. A day later, I was bored enough to take out Willy the centipede from the container, which was a big mistake. Willy made a dash for it. I, in short, totally freaked, and did not want to properly get the bug in my hand so I could drop it in the terrarium due to a crazed, sudden fear of all those little legs pricking into my skin. Instead, I more like shoved and flicked the insect back towards where it belonged. In the end, the bug was mostly in....but once I feverishly slammed the plastic lid shut, I was in for a surprise: The centipede's head wasn't on the body anymore. I couldn't really tell if it was the head; it could have been the behind, but still the bug writhed and twisted on the floor of the terrarium, still alive, with it's head or behind or whatever it was still stuck on to the edge of the container. It was enough to make me sick. And by then, I'd had enough. I got a tissue, pushed the head/behind into the depths of the bug house, picked up the whole thing in disgust, shouldered my way out the back door and hurled it out into the backyard. Then I whipped around and raced into the house, teeth clenched, and I washed my hands over and over.

    That traumatic experience led me to believe that bugs were really dumb things, and weren't proper animals by the definition of the term. From that day on, I could never bring myself to hold a spider or beetle or 100-legged insect ever again. And since then I have learned of the dangerous black widow, of the blood-sucking mosquito, of the stinging bee and clinging beetle. With this knowledge I know I can never go back to loving bugs in the same innocent, fascinated way as I did when I was younger. So now I'm just a typical girl, aren't I? Screaming at the sight of spiders, going into hysterics when a wasp is anywhere near, avoiding the patio if it is occupied by a large, weird insect.

    Oh well. At least I haven't lost my love of snakes.




    image: Me holding moth on mount Olympus in Turkey
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