Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 18
Bugging outYou can act like a human even if you have six legs
BY SHELLY CONE
I guess if I were an airplane, you’d say I was in a holding pattern. After 20 years in journalism, I was facing a decision to learn a new trade. Entering the wine industry.
Not knowing what I wanted to do within the niche—sales, marketing, winemaking—I started working a few days a week at a winery. I was sitting on the hill overlooking the 1,600-acre vineyard that surrounds the winery at which I pour wine when a ladybug gently landed on the arm of my Adirondack.
Pouring wine in a tasting room isn’t exactly a job you can respectfully complain about. I spend three days a week pouring wine, tasting wine, and chatting up customers who are drinking wine. However, I figured it would be a good place to be while I pursue my degree in winemaking—or vine growing, depending on what I choose. For now, though, I’m just honing my wine drinking.
Except when I get to sit among the vines and enjoy the view. That’s when I know what I want to do. I want to work the vineyard. I want to tend to the lovely vines that produce those voluptuous fruits.
Then a little ladybug sits down beside me and we have a conversation.
I think she’s so adorable, and I wish she were in my organic garden at home. She tells me that, much like the six-pack groups of rowdy bachelorettes that frequent the winery, she and her friends decided to swing by the vineyard for a little fun and feasting. I look at the chair next to me, and I see two more ladybugs sitting on the arm. On the wooden table behind me there are several more.
I was happy they stopped to chat with me and include me in their girls’ day out, but their presence made me realize something that is a smack-my-forehead-roll-my-eyes-obvious truth: Vines attract pests just as much as they do winos. I’m not a fan of bugs.
I tolerate them in my garden even though they still gross me out, but to work around them on a daily basis? I’m not sure I’m ready for that. And the whole reason I have a hard time with them is my very own fault. It all comes down to the fact that I tend to anthropomorphize them. The short definition of that is that the bugs don’t scare me; I allow my thoughts about the bugs to scare me. The more accurate definition is that I give bugs personality traits and think of them as if they have the thoughts and motivations of humans.
For instance, flying insects that brush my hair or fly too close to me are trying to scare me off—and who’s to say that they’re not? A spider that crawls out of a crack in the ground that happens to be close to my foot is trying to sneak up on me so that it can painfully sink its dagger-like teeth into my flesh, injecting a poison that will incapacitate me so its entire family can feast on sweet flesh and then hibernate for the winter.
I don’t know if I’m too off the mark on this, however.
Not too long ago, I found an old press release from the Public Library of Science Biology, which proves that bugs operate similarly to us. More specifically, it proves that sometimes you can be just too darned good-looking for your own good. Apparently, scientists have discovered in fruit flies that it’s a bad thing to be too good-looking—unlike in humans where if you’re too good-looking, you never have to pump your own gas, you get undeserved promotions, and if you make a mistake the rules are changed to make you right.
Here’s why being good-looking is not a good thing if you are a fruit fly girl: If you are too good-looking, you get too much male attention and that interferes with your ability to function biologically. In other words, if you get too much male attention, you stop looking for food and you distract males from mating with other—assumingly less attractive—females.
Here’s what happens in that wondrous world of the pretty-girl fruit fly: The males try to court them by dancing and singing to them by vibrating their wings, and the females fall for it.
However, this is not a good thing because male fruit flies, much like their human counterparts, are greedy when it comes to sex. The scientists say that any romanticism of this act is lost on the fact the little buggers are so horny for the gal they do this ALL THE TIME! Many of them at once. In fact, even after she gives it up, they persist in order to get seconds. Can you believe those sex-crazed little fruit flies?
What does a fruit fly consider “good looking?” A female with a large, baby-making body. Hmmm, I won’t comment about that.
I thought about the fruit fly thing as I hung with my little ladies having their girls’ day. I wondered if ladybugs have the same problem with their male counterparts. Then I thought about how silly that would be; male lady bugs, with their bright red shells and polka dots trying to, well, you know—think about it. But I didn’t ask about it.
So if fruit flies have these humanistic traits—I mean the whole romancing the girl thing—maybe I actually am right and those spiders are trying to get me. Spiders gotta eat, right? And maybe flying insects really do aim for my crazy-wild, curly, frizzy hair because they know I’ll have a heck of a time getting them out of there scared half out of my wits that they are going to, to, I don’t know—crawl into my ear and make scratching noises or something?
Whatever their intention, on this day, I wasn’t too worried. I was with my girls—just a group of pretty chicks hanging in the vineyard—and they had my back. So I pulled out my veggie sandwich and relaxed.
Shelly Cone is good luck if she lands in your hair. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.