Friday, October 19, 2012

A Lucky Bug

While on our hideous ride to the Fryeburg Fair, MY WIFE said:

"Aagh! A hornet of some kind just flew in the car!"

I asked her where it was. She pointed toward the rear passenger side window. I turned to look. I saw a bug that was most definitely NOT a hornet.

I had captured a similar bug in our hotel room the night before. I trapped him inside of a plastic drinking cup and then walked to the lobby door of the hotel to send him on his buggy way. He was a slow-moving creature with no visible stinger. I assumed it was a beetle because I often capture and release bugs (I see no reason to kill a living thing, so long as it's doing me no harm) and beetles are very easy to capture; slow and very trusting.

With the traffic being what it was (which is to say, crawling like a beetle) I was able to take a piece of paper in my right hand, reach behind me, and put said paper under the bum of the bug. With a slight bit of coaxing, I got him to slide onto the paper. I then opened our sun roof, shoved the paper outside, and shook it to give the bug the idea that he was now supposed to fly away and never again hitch a ride with us. He understood and flew off.

Next day, back at the hotel, I found another one of these bugs on our window. I opened the window and let him fly out.

Fast forward three days. We are driving home to Massachusetts. Somewhere near the border, MY WIFE sees that another of these same bugs has once again invaded our car. This time, though, we're moving along at about 60 mph and the bug is on the rear window. I can't reach him, nor would it be prudent to do so while careening down the highway, so I decide to just leave him be. I've already determined he's a harmless sort of bug, so I figure he'll fly out one of the windows sooner or later. I forget all about him and continue driving.

We reach Medford, about two miles from our home. I hear a loud buzzing coming from my left side. My window is up, and there's nothing readily visible there, so I look down. There, on the sleeve of my jacket, is the bug. I roll down the window to let him fly away, but he doesn't take the hint. I lift my arm and blow on the bug. Nothing. He doesn't move. I blow again, hard. He still doesn't budge. I now take a deep breath and blow as hard as I'm able. Nada. This is one immovable bug. He doesn't want to leave. And since I'm trying to drive us home safely, and since home is so close, I decide to let him stay on my arm the rest of the way. What the heck; I can get him off of me once I'm safely parked in our garage.

I forget about the bug until we pull into the driveway. Then I remember him, except now the bug is not on my arm. And I don't know where he is. I can't see him or hear him. I assume he thought about his options and decided to fly out the window after all.

But then we're unloading our luggage and I hear "BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ". I still don't see the bug, but my guess is he just flew out of the car since we have the doors open for suitcase removal. I close the car doors and we go inside. End of story.

Except the next morning, I decide to drive to the store and buy a newspaper. I get in the car and there's the bug on the inside of the windshield.

I say, "You silly bastard! You spent the entire night in the car? Here's a nice yard. Go live there."

I slide a piece of paper under his ass, he climbs onto it, then I take the piece of paper a few steps to our backyard, shake it, and the bug falls on the grass. He starts slowly crawling away. I go back to the car and drive to get the newspaper.

OK, so far I've told you about our encounters with a certain bug. Now we'll backtrack and you'll hear about some other stuff. It will all tie together, I promise.

Our first night in New Hampshire, I bought us a couple of lottery scratch tickets. One of the things we like to do while on vacation is try to get rich. In some places, it's easier than in others. Our vacations in Las Vegas were mostly profitable, or at least free (excluding the one time I went by myself, leaving my conscience - MY WIFE - at home, and on that trip I handed back almost everything we had won and/or been comped.) In New Orleans, I made a short trip to the casino and won a hundred bucks. In most other locales, we play a lottery ticket or two. We've been fairly lucky. We haven't become astoundingly wealthy, but we've come out ahead a few times. Anyway, I bought the scratch tickets and MY WIFE won on hers.

At the Fryeburg Fair, there is harness racing. That was what gave us the incentive to go to the fair in the first place. We played a couple of races. MY WIFE came out ahead a few dollars.

The next day, we bought two more scratch tickets. Once again, MY WIFE won on hers.

After we got home, we had lunch with My Mom and My Stepfather. It was the afternoon following the morning when I released the bug into our backyard. After lunch, My Stepfather bought us all scratch tickets to play. Here he is, with My Mom holding up the possible wealth instruments.

(They're less fuzzy when not in my photos.)

If you've been getting the general gist of this thing, I probably don't have to tell you that MY WIFE was the one who won money on her ticket.

Now we're sitting at the dining room table, drinking coffee and eating cookies, and I tell my folks about how the same sort of bug showed up everywhere we went, including that morning. I still have no idea what sort of bug it was. My Mom suggests that maybe we can find out on her computer. I describe the bug to her and she types stuff in. I also draw my approximation of it, and Bill (My Stepfather) is trying to puzzle it out from that. The bugs My Mom is bringing up don't look like the bug, but I'm at a loss as to how to describe it so that we can find out just what it was.

Meanwhile, MY WIFE is on a separate laptop computer and, since she felt it looked kind of stick-like, she puts "stick bug" into Google.

Google says, "Do you mean STINK bug?"

She decides to click onto one of those links. And, yes indeed, here come shitloads of photos of the same bug we've been playing around with for the past week. They were STINKBUGS!

To be exact, they were Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs. And I found out it was a good thing I was such a nice guy and don't just crush a bug for no reason. It turns out that if you crush a stinkbug, the stench is brutal. Also, if they are scared or fear harm, they shoot vicious stink juice from their bodies. I'm damn glad the stinkbug didn't think I was attacking him at anytime, and especially when I was huffing and puffing and trying to blow him out the car window. I could have ended up with a face full of stink.

OK, so now I know what sort of bug it was. And I realize I just transported one (at least one) across the border into Massachusetts. Not only that, I basically told him to make himself at home in my backyard. I am now fervently praying that it was, indeed, HIM, and not HER.

(I've since found out, Thank God, that I am not the buggy version of Typhoid Mary. They've been around here for a little while. Just because I was ignorant about them doesn't mean they didn't exist. If that was the case, a whole bunch of things wouldn't exist; calculus and good photography, for instance.)

Here's the semi-interesting part of all this. Thinking back on the timeline of these events, I've come to realize that every time a stinkbug was part of our lives during the past week or so, MY WIFE won money gambling. Ergo, stinkbugs are lucky (but only for MY WIFE, and I was the guy who defended them and gently captured them and released them to go about their stinky ways unharmed, so why didn't I win any money? It's a mystery.)

Since there was hardly any point to this, I thank you for your patience. And if you see a stinkbug, be kind. Maybe your spouse will hit the lottery.

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. I swear I am not making this up. As I was writing this during my lunch hour at work, I heard a "BZZZZZZZZZZZZ", and a stinkbug landed smack dab in the middle of a piece of paper to my left. If Paris Hilton had flown into my office and landed on that piece of paper I wouldn't have been more surprised. I stared at him for a few seconds, decided he wasn't just some blog-induced hallucination, and then I took him outside and dropped him in the little bit of grass near our parking lot. I am going to buy a scratch ticket for MY WIFE on the way home from work. If it hits, I will buy a farm and raise stinkbugs. That would be the logical thing to do, right?

P.P.S. My Mom wrote the following, sung to the tune of "Shrimpboats Are Coming":

Stinkbugs are a-coming
Their wings are in sight
Stinkbugs are a-coming
They’re dancing tonight

You better hury, hurry, hurry
You better hurry hurry hurry home

Cause, Stinkbugs are a-coming
From New Hampshire
Thank Jimmy
They’re coming
They’re coming tonight

Now you know who to blame for my sense of humor.


Ami said...

It has a beat and you can dance to it. I have to give it an 8.

Jeni said...

Although I've never encountered a stinkbug that emitted a stench anyway, this does look very much like the stinking squash bugs that invaded my garden and depleted my yield last year and again this year of my crookneck yellow squash! I've heard a lot of people in and around this area complain about the stinkbugs but, lucky for me, apparently I have never met one face to face or, with it's back turned on me giving me a fair shot of getting rid of it. I'm not near as friendly to any kind of bugs as you are, Jim!

Craig said...

Transporting carriers of stink across state lines. . . I'd be careful who I told this to, Jim. . .

Michelle H. said...

Definitely a stink bug. A real problem in certain areas of PA. Every year, when the stinkbugs seem to appear the most, the local news shows tips to capture the bugs out of houses without squishing them (of course, the method is not humane).

Jackie said...

Smiling from the mountains as I read this; your kindness is stinkin' amazing....but never surprising to me.
Love the fact that the bug was there as you were working on this blog post!! I can't wait to hear about the ticket you buy this afternoon. Hand it immediately to your WIFE to scratch off. Best wishes!!

lime said...

your mom is a stitch. now i know indeed! we get stink bugs around here all the time. my friend's dog likes to eat them. can you imagine his breath?

Uncle Skip, said...

It's all Christopher Columbus' fault ...or Nixon's... the stink bugs, I mean. I don't know who to blame the lottery on.
Is that Jo Stafford I hear singing that song?

Daryl said...

oh that is fabulous .. maybe that was the same stinker every time ... or maybe not

i beati said...

hmmnn I'm taking stinkbugs with me to the lottery store..thanks

messymimi said...

Brava to your mom!

Yes, we have stinkbugs around here. We just toss them out if they get in.

If you start raising them, don't count on me for a visit, though. We don't mind them, but i don't seek them out, either.

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

I didn't realize they weren't here until the late '90s... or that they made a noise
I guess we're just becoming a more homogenous world every day?

I'm not gonna say anything about the lottery because... well, I have nothing nice to say

Barbara said...

We have tons of stinkbugs around here at different times of the year. I'm so glad you were nice to him/her!

Buck said...

Wait. Are you SURE it was a Brown Marmorated Stinkbug? You might have been "Easily confused with Brochymena and Euschistus..."

A lil education is a dangerous thang.

Craig said...

Hmmmmm. . . on second glance, I'm a little surprised that you didn't name him Stinky, or something like that. . .


Matt Conlon said...

Yeah, they're all over the place down here in south eastern MA... Frankly, the stink isn't all that bad. Smells like freshly cut grass, or something like that.

I don't like bugs, they creep me right the feck out. Especially those things, they're hideous. So prehistoric looking. I always get the feeling that they're going to dive bomb into my eyes or nostrils or some such.

They come out in droves around this time of year, as well as the spring.

Stephen Hayes said...

I was wondering if it was what we call here a "stink bug." But you've made me wonder if they're really "good luck" bugs. I need to check this out.

Anonymous said...

C/M Hope your landlord doesn't charge you for digging up the yard to find the little fellow, and for the landscaping necessary to put the yard in order again.
BTW - WCVB had an article about the invasion of Stink Bugs and Lady Bugs. Go to their website and search for stink bugs to read it. Watertown owes you something for importing this one for them. I'll let them decide the "something".

Sandi McBride said...

Okay, so are we thinking this is the same stinkbug or have all the stinkbugs marked your vehicle as belonging to a nice person (hobo style)...and yes indeed they do...stink that is..rather like a sulphuric rotten banana...glad to know that there are people inhabiting my world who dislike hurting even a stinkbug.

Maggie May said...

It might be lucky but it certainly isn't pretty.
The nearest thing to it here would be a tree bug. They stink too when handled but they are green.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

3GKnight said...

I appreciate your compassion for living things. I never quite understood why people feel the need to smash bugs.

Actually, I lie. I've destroyed swatters on the miller moth population here. I need my sleep.

Hilary said...

I'm glad that you are so kind to all creatures. The stink bug might just be one of your totem animals. Or perhaps, YOUR WIFE's.

Ruby said...

All the bugs here stink. It is very difficult to be kind to them though!;)