Saturday, August 31, 2013

Glass and Bugs Just Go Together

Hey! You know that saying, "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug?" Yeah. I like it, because it's so Even Steveny.

Can you imagine what it would be like if you really were a windshield? If eyes are the windows to the soul, then windshields are the windows from the driver's soul-windows to the outside of the car. Not quite so poetic, eh?

If you were a windshield, you wouldn't have to wipe yourself. There are contraptions to do that for you, and folks like the occasional full-service gas station attendant like those at a certain establishment in Backroads that hires the ex-cons, who don't use a cash register but instead carry the money in a long wallet on a chain, because who's going to mess with an ex-con to get that cash, anyway, because even though ex-conny may have a heart of gold, he is still what we lily-livered pantywaist educators consider hard-core.

Yes, if you were a windshield, people would do their darnedest to keep you crystal clear. Not foggy. Might even give you a drink of Coca Cola every now and then. Shade you with metallic plastic springy contraptions in the heat. Cover you with cardboard on frosty nights. Give you a birdpoopectomy the instant your illness was diagnosed.

If you were a bug, on the other hand, you could fly. Around and around people's heads, buzzing them like an old-timey crop duster after an alleged spy. You could walk on the surface of water. Treat other people's bodies like an amusement park. Sail on saliva in a cavernous mouth like it's the tunnel of love. Explore the ear canal funhouse. Break a leg...heck, have one pulled from its socket, and walk without a crutch.

WAIT! What I really wanted to share with you was that I set The Pony to gathering some creek water yesterday morning, and snipping some leaves off a tree, for my microscope-using lab. The students were buzzing around, looking at prepared slides, like honeybee mouth parts and housefly legs, and ones I had made with crushed leaves, and weed pollen, and creek water...when I saw them.


The miniscule hitchhikers were in the Ziploc bag with the leaves. Tiny red bugs marching along the serrated edges. Tiny red bugs. Clingy. I tied to shake some onto a piece of printer paper. Knocked that leaf on it with a vengeance. Pried a couple off with a pencil lead. Wouldn't you know it? Each time I tried to pick one up on the pencil point and deposit it on a slide for dousing with a pipette-drop of water before sealing it with a cover slip...that darn bug would disintegrate into a red stain. At first I suspected they were chiggers, but I think chiggers are a hardier lot. Oh, and there was also a tiny thin gray leggy spider. He was kind of twisted, but I rehydrated him and flattened him forthwith.

Yeah! Who knew we would end up with bonus bugs? Kudos to The Pony for his selection techniques. Sometimes you're the windshield. Sometimes you're the bug.

And sometimes, you're pressed in a drop of water between a cover slip and a slide.


  1. Not sure I like either option.

  2. I remember receiving a microscope for Christmas when I was a kid and how fascinating the world looked under a microscope.

  3. Do I have the choice of what bug I want to be? Ladybugs are nice.

  4. I once went to a local park for some lake water for a tadpole project, and THOUGHT I could glide across the muddy bank--seemingly weightless and graceful, suspended just above the top surface--but in reality, I got stuck in the muck, had to wrench one of my decent dress shoes (this was during my pre-Croc days) from the grasp of that onery ooze, and left a muddy mess.

    Sometimes you're the bug, sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the dinosaur (in more ways than one), stuck in the tar pit...

  5. Why is it that just reading something with the word BUGS in it makes me itchy?

  6. Thank you for reminding me that I must perform a birdpoopectomy and transplant some bug organs to a paper towel that's been on the list way too long! And I wonder if those little red guys are red spider mites. Unfortunately my houseplants get those bonus bugs a lot.

  7. All those critters just living their little lives and you come along with your stealth technology to abduct them and carry them off to your lab for further investigation. After they are subjected to a forced medical examinations are they returned to their families to relate tales of unbelievable terror, whisked into a nearby bin or kept as specimens for further study. (the horror!)

    The windshield doesn't look like a good option either. Think I'll just sit here like a lump in front of this glowing screen.

  8. joeh,
    Every party has its pooper!

    ME TOO! I got a microscope for Christmas! The elves must have given Santa a surplus that year.

    Just this once, I will let you choose. As you know, Val usually issues a decree. But I'm feeling generous. Because I got bonus bugs, you know.

    Just proves my theory that dress shoes are deadly. I hope you were able to extract yourself, Madam, by flailing your tiny T. Rex arms.

    Actually, I think I have that effect on folks. Better bring a Benadryl when you're visiting Val.

    I am no entomologist, so I will accept your insect identification of spider mites. They did seem more mitey than chiggery.

    Unfortunately, the subjects of the experiment did not survive the examination. But don't worry. They have a bazillion relatives to carry on their lineage. You're no windshield wanna-be? All I can say to that is...get used to self-wiping.