Irrational Crickets


A couple of weeks ago I was playing with the kids in the backyard at our new house. OK, I was lying in the grass while they ran circles around me, but whatever, I was still being an interactive parent with my children. Will, my two year old, began screaming like his leg had just been severed completely off. I shot up, thinking the worst, to realize that my brave big boy was running for his life…. from a butterfly.

When I got my hysterical laughter under control, I saved my son from his attacker. I rocked him in my arms until the offending butterfly was out of sight.

I remember when I was a kid I was terrified of the bathtub drain. I thought about that today while giving Canaan a bath at my parent’s house where I grew up. As a five year old, I was certain that if I was still in the tub when the drain was opened I was a goner. The swirling of the water would trigger so much anxiety in my small heart that I once fell out on the tile floor sloshing water all over the bathroom. It never even occurred to me how ridiculous this was until this afternoon. The drain didn’t bother Canaan at all.

As an adult I still have some stupid fears. My therapist would probably argue that no fears are stupid, but I’ll tell you and you can judge for yourself. Crickets. I have a morbid fear of crickets. See, I told you it was stupid. My fear of crickets wasn’t fully realized until this past summer when I went fishing with some friends at the lake. I had never fished using crickets as bait; I’ve only used NORMAL things like worms and corn. I actually asked the captain of the boat, “You’re kidding right? They’re still jumping.” He looked at me as though I must be kidding and replied, “I thought you’d been fishing before?”

What kind of fishing cult was this? They seriously expected me to spear this live creature of God “ass to mouth” (as they told me). The spearing wasn’t the part that actually bothered me. I didn’t even make it that far. After eyeballing the basket-o-bugs for a solid five minutes, my friend Valerie leaned over and asked, “Do you want me to bait your hook for you?”

Valerie is outdoors woman extraordinaire and I refused to look like puss. “I can do it,” I assured her. The crickets and their creepy little legs and antennas were hopping around and laughing at me and my obviously elevated heart rate.

Valerie leaned back in her seat, her smile growing with every second that passed. A couple of more minutes went by. I was honestly trying but couldn’t force myself to reach into the bug lair. “What if I just pick it out and you can take it from me?” she suggested.

I nodded and she retrieved a cricked from the basket. She held it out for me to take. I took a deep breath, several actually and reached forward. I withdrew my hand like I’d touched an electrical socket and Val doubled over in laughter. More deep breathing. I closed my eyes and tried again. I literally thought that my heart was going to burst through my chest as my fingertips closed around the wiggly, creepy, icky, tickly body and legs… ugh the legs.

“I can do this,” I kept repeating as I tried to put the bug on the end of my hook, with my eyes closed, mind you.

Just then someone snuck up behind me, grabbed my sides and screamed “Ahhh!!!!” in my ear.
I think I wet my pants a little.

The cricket went flying through the air on one direction and the fishing pole went in the other. The scream that was emitted from my lungs was later compared to a shrieking eagle by another fisherman nearby who came to our boat to assist in whatever certain crisis that had just taken place. My assailant had been Mike, the boat captain. It was his fishing pole that is now resting at the bottom of Dale Hollow. Serves him right.

I have no reason under the sun to be that terrified of a cricket. I know that they are probably the most harmless creature on the planet and beyond. They just creep me out. Their icky bendy legs and swirling antennas and their freaking unpredictability as they hop about. I unashamedly hate them no matter how irrational it makes me seem.

I guess I can’t be too hard on my son over the butterfly. He gets it from his mom.


One Response to “Irrational Crickets”

  1. 1 Anonymous

    I also have an irrational fear of crickets. Not the little black ones but the huge monster cave and basement dwelling ones. I shake and cry when I see one. I think it’s because my bedroom was directly above the basement in the house I grew up in. There was a hole in my closet and I could swear they were right there. I couldn’t sleep at night. I still cannot stand to see them or hear them. That’s actually my only fear.I don’t hink I’ll ever get over it. Those things are not meant for this world!

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