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October 28, 2003

A Bug Plug

Hate to pit myself against a friend, but sometimes a man has to take a stand. Go then, and cast a yes vote in Acerbia's Eat a Bug poll.

Bug eating is a most enjoyable pastime. I should know. In my life I have eaten numerous carpenter ants, grasshoppers, ground beetles, pillbugs (technically not bugs), a mabel orchard spider (also not a bug), a spiny crab-like orb weaver (also also not a bug), leafhoppers, two moths (dusty), a fire ant (not recommended) and a dung beetle (definitely not recommended). Among the other questionable edibles consumed during that stage of my life were live minnows, earthworms, and one raw fish eyeball, from a mullet, as I recall.

Big black carpenter ants are the top as far as edibility as concerned. Slow, easily captured, and they taste like Sweet Tarts. I kid you not. A big black carpenter ant is reponsible for every other entry on the list above, for that was the first bug I ate. When the first bug you eat tastes good, you're much more likely to sample some of the other dishes at Mother Nature's daily open air buffet.

The rest weren't as good, though the mable orchard spider tasted a lot like lettuce.

Wriggly lettuce, but lettuce nonetheless.

I was twenty-four years old, and nothing with more than four legs was safe.

I ate an ant to impress a girl, of course. Whitney, a honey-blonde Carolina Kappa Delta. In retrospect it might not have been the most hygenic thing, grabbing an ant off the floor of the open-air men's bathhouse at the summer camp we both worked at, but there were no other ant encrusted surfaces at hand.

I cannot recall the exact proximate reason for the ant ingestion, though I vaguely remember something about a bear's diet earlier in our conversation. The ant was at hand, then in hand, then in mouth, along with the sour flavor of Sweet Tart.

Two minutes later, after a bit of a search, Whitney confirmed my high opinion of her by eating her first carpenter ant. Then I ate another. Then she ate another.


Then the kids, for this was a summer camp, after all, kids are everywhere at a summer camp, like style-cramping cockroaches, all ate carpenter ants.

And they all confirmed that yes, they do taste like Sweet Tarts, so it's not just me.

Carpenter ants lived a precarious existence that summer, especially after another male counselor started a rumor among the younger girls that eating ants made your boobs grow.

It was like living the life of a celebrity, being the guy who ate bugs. This was my first year as the nature counselor, an unpopular position in the summer camp hierarchy, usually filled by peace loving tree huggers, who bored the absolute shit out of the kids with their talk of recycling and earth love, or bio majors, who bored the absolute shit out of the kids with their talk of recycling and salt marsh ecosystems.

Mark Twain once said "Never try to teach a cat to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the cat." The same can be said for kids and hugging trees. There's nothing more pitiful than watching an overly earnest graduate student trying to convince a group of 13 year old boys to embrace a birch, unless it's watching the same graduate student lose all control of the situation when one of the boys finally agrees to hug the tree, only to start dry humping it a second later.

In my three years as Natureman, I never hugged a tree, or asked a kid to. Tree hugging, actual physical tree hugging, is fucking stupid, as I told that teary-eyed grad student later on. I bet every kid that counselor ever forced to hug a tree grew up to be a strip-miner or an illegal mahogany smuggler.

I ate a lot of bugs, for once a child has seen you eat one bug he will pay attention to you for the rest of the hour in hopes of seeing you eat another one. I fed butterflies to spiders, for Nature red in tooth and claw is always preferred by kids over Nature holistic and peaceable. We watched osprey stoop to their prey, and hunting wasps stalk theirs. One day we watched snails fuck, though that was not quite the terminology I used at the time. Church camp, you see.

Death trumps tree hugging, in the mind of teenager, but snail sex where both partners have a penis pretty much trumps everything.

Even eating bugs, which more people should do anyway. So go vote yes in the eat a bug referendum, and call for big black carpenter ants as the meal of choice.

Mmmmm, Sweetttttttarts.

Update: Vote Ant!

Posted by Bigwig at October 28, 2003 10:51 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

You, sir, are a terribly, terribly odd man.
I applaud that.

Posted by: Matt Navarre at October 29, 2003 12:36 AM

That doesn't sound so bad... I could manage carpenter ants.

Posted by: D at October 29, 2003 05:40 AM

As I recall, nothing with two legs was safe either. . .

Posted by: Clover at October 29, 2003 09:27 AM

That's my girl!

Played any Buffett lately? :)

Posted by: Bigwig at October 29, 2003 10:49 AM

MMmmm...Whitneeyy. Actually, Whitney was great, but I had a HUUUUGEEE crush on her sister Kristy. Both solid, solid girls.

Posted by: Kehaar at October 29, 2003 12:01 PM

I am at an utter loss for words on this one, Bigwig.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at October 29, 2003 10:50 PM

In case you're wondering, Meryl, those Camel back crickets like the one you had a pic of on your site a while back?

They taste horrible.

Very juicy, though.

Posted by: bigwig at October 29, 2003 10:55 PM

Gak! They even smell bad when they're squashed.

Posted by: Clover at October 30, 2003 12:54 PM
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