I’ve always had a good relationship with the insect world, bugs, if you will. As a kid, I watched them endlessly, thinking of their kingdoms beneath the ground—the little newspapers they surely published, the family structures… It was fascinating and kept me occupied, in between popping tar bubbles on the street from my curbside perch.
The other day, I was walking into work, and there, right next to the door, was the most beautiful beetle I’ve ever seen. My scientific/craftsman brain kicked into gear. I was going to capture the beetle, pop it in the freezer, and then cast it in resin and make a paperweight. 10 minutes later, the beetle was nestled inside a plastic cup with a smaller cup capping the top, and I put it under my desk.
As the day wore on, I googled rhinoceros beetles and discovered they live up to two years. Then, I discovered they are kept as pets by people in parts of Asia. (In the telling of the story, my friend, Ann, asked me, “So, at that point, you’d already given it a name.” Nicely observed. )
Another hour ticked by with no sound from the plastic cup. Now, I’m starting to feel really awful about the whole thing. I’m wondering when did I get so mean that I could just kill this beautiful bug? With that, I quietly retrieved the cup, went outside, and freed Willie. (Yes, Ann, that was his name.)
Instantly, it burrowed into the lawn and disappeared. I went back to my desk feeling the weight of that particular lesson lifting gently off my soul. Just let me end by saying I have no compunction about outlasting mosquitoes, ticks, and flies. Just hand me a hammer.