The summer heat down South brings the humidity that I love as much as old gay Jewish men love Bette Midler, but that same humidity also brings the screaming legions of insects that I fear almost as much as I fear giant imaginary sea creatures.
OK, it’s not that I fear all bugs, but I see no reason why our Creator gave us the cockroach, the tick, or any spider that’s so large you can tell whether it’s a boy or a girl. Mosquitoes are also a pain in the ass, especially when you have a shaved head and your body emits an irresistibly sweet nectar from every pore.
I’ve already mentioned the Great Wall of Humidity that I saw moving back East in 2005, but I didn’t mention stepping out of the Ryder truck in Pennsylvania and being pelted in the face by what seemed like 20 pounds of insects. After having lived out West for 18 years, I wasn’t used to this. That’s another vital difference between the East and West Coasts—all the bugs are back East. In raw street argot, the East is where the insects have their “crib.”
Standing under any streetlight back East in the summertime, you see the bugs swarming the light like a billion angry planets circling around the sun. June in Pennsylvania brought a laser light show of lightning bugs every night at dusk. I also remember standing outside a pizza joint in tiny Schwenksville, PA, when I espied a bug that looked like a mini-stegosaurus perched near a window. When it jumped on me, I shrieked like a woman.
The only thing I like about insects is the noise they make in the summertime. It sounds a bit like madness, but it also has the sonic drone effect that I’ve always found soothing in things such as vacuum cleaners and air conditioners. Driving on a dark rural PA road near a creek sometime in the summer of ’05 or ’06, the bugs were so loud that they drowned out my car engine, even at 45 MPH. Still, I found it comforting.
Although I don’t remember ever seeing a lightning bug down here in Georgia, we get the same cacophonous-yet-calming racket from our friends in the insect world every night when the sun goes down.
Here’s what it sounded like in the woods in back of my house around 10:30 last night. A few weeks ago, I heard something back there that I suspected may have been the legendary goat-sucking chupacabra but which disappointingly only turned out to be a humble and pedestrian (if still arrogant and unnecessarily standoffish) barred owl.
Your assignment, children, is to turn one or both of these sound samples into dubstep tracks. Vocals are optional, so long as they don’t drown out the bugs or the owl. The winner will receive a choice of the following prizes:
1) A $5 iTunes gift certificate.
2) An all-expenses-paid meal at McDonald’s, so long as you don’t go overboard. (In other words, NO PIE.)
3) A complimentary box of Crayola’s multicultural crayons.
Email me with your submissions.