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OH, GRASSHOPPER!

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I’ve always had an aversion to grasshoppers.  It began when I turned twenty-one and has been with me ever since.  (I’ll expound on that a little later in this article.)

To this day I find the insects repugnant.  Living through this past summer’s onslaught of the green gobblers was more than a challenge, especially since they manifested themselves into October and even November.  But now I can finally look back over my shoulder at the grasshoppers.  (Seeing one actually perched on my shoulder was unnerving.)

They truly almost drove me crazy, devouring my flowers, no matter how much I sprayed for insects.  And if they weren’t chomping away on the flora, they were jumping about on my patio and driveway.  I tried to run over them every chance I had but had little effect on decreasing their population.  (The one that found its way into the house certainly got its just desserts.  It became dessert for the cats!)  Perhaps the worst thing about grasshoppers is their uncanny ability to leap tall buildings at a single bound which explains how they ended up in my hair on more than one occasion.  Totally freaked me out!

So as I was basking in the knowledge that their presence had abated my glory days came to an abrupt halt.  Here it was, mid-November, and I found that they’d been in hiding instead of dying.  I have a small lamp on a table on my back porch.  I reached up under the shade to turn the light on and pressed the body of a hopper firmly.  He/she didn’t appreciate my advances any more than I appreciated its presence.  I didn’t kill it, ick, but I did swat it away, watching as it took long leaps out into the yard.  In reality, grasshoppers have wings and mostly fly from your hair to your shoulder.

Just because the pesky critters were around so much, they peaked my curiosity.  So I read up a little about them on the net.  Probably should have left that one alone because most of what I found out was gross!  They do spit but not tobacco.  It’s just some brown goo that helps ward off their enemies.  And they’re eaten in some countries as a mainstay and in others as a delicacy.  What bothered me most was to learn that Kikkoman soy sauce is made out of grasshopper spit!

Since that made me sick, I decided that causing their demise wasn’t such a bad thing, after all.  Some of the flowers on the Chrysanthemums I planted in pots outside the front door were turning brown.  So I grabbed a pair of scissors and began cutting off the wilted blooms.  You guessed it…a grasshopper reared its ugly green head from inside the leaves and sat there staring at me.  I cut him in half.  No regrets, no problem.

Now back to my first encounter with grasshoppers and how it changed my life at the ripe old age of twenty-one:

My big brother took me to my uncle’s bowling alley for my birthday.  I thought it odd at the time that we were going to go bowling for my big celebration but I went along with him.  He bypassed the shoe rental desk and the rows of balls and marched straight into the bar, where we both bellied up.  He announced to my uncle that I was twenty-one this day and he wanted to buy me my first “legal” drink.

“In that case, drinks are on the house,” Uncle Charlie declared.

Together they looked at me waiting to see what I would order.  Trying to be as grownup as my age dictated I opted for a Grasshopper.  I’d always been intrigued by the glorious green color and the aroma they gave off was intoxicating all on its own.  Uncle Charlie whipped up the concoction and set it down in front of me.  (I think my brother had one, too, but I can’t be certain of that.)  I lifted the glass to my lips and took a long sip.  It definitely lived up to all my expectations and I downed it in a hurry.  Before I could finish the drink, Uncle Charlie put another one down in front of me.  I inhaled it faster than the first.  Grasshopper number three appeared before my somewhat blurry eyes and I went to work on it.  Long about ¾ of the way through number three, the stool I was sitting on began to rock slowly back and forth.  A hot wave washed over me and I knew I had to excuse myself.

Fortunately, the restrooms weren’t very far away and I made it just in time.  Those enticing and delicious potions found their way up from my gurgling stomach.  The green color reflecting in the bowl wasn’t so glorious anymore.  And somewhere between where the drinks went down and now where they were coming up made the now not so smooth minty taste quite disgusting.

When I emerged from the restroom my brother, with a big grin on his face said, “Would you like to bowl a couple of lines?”  At that moment I hated him.

Then to make things worse, Uncle Charlie chimed in with, “It’ll be on the house!”  I hated him, too, but not nearly as much as I hate grasshoppers!

 

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