Monday, June 04, 2007

Cage Match

My pal Tim and I used to compete to see whose life sucked more, the winner being the bigger loser. In that spirit, I offer:

Gazillions of cicadas, hideously ugly and deafeningly loud, have emerged from a 17-year sleep to plague the lawns and ear drums of Chicago’s suburban dwellers. Carcasses litter the sidewalks and driveways. I have this on good authority from a former neighbor who now lives in Elmhurst, Ill. On a recent visit to the old ‘hood, he lifted his foot and examined the bottom of his sandal, thinking to show us the remains of a few unlucky insects stuck to his sole. Alas no body parts to be found.


Not a single cicada, in my many wanderings, to be seen in the city of Chicago. Sweet. Take away their admittedly interesting back story—dormant underground for nearly two decades, a brief burst forth from the earth in which they live solely to mate—and cicadas are just another bug. If you saw one scampering, cockroach-like, across your bathtub or kitchen counter, you would smash it to smithereens. I read about one guy who, preparing for the cicada onslaught, wrapped a beloved maple tree in duct tape, sticky side out. He awoke the next morning to a scene of epic slaughter (that’s what I’m talkin’ about!) and somewhere Tom Ridge is having the last laugh, “Duct tape. Who you calling crazy now?!”

Just when I was feeling smug vis a vis my Elmhurst acquaintance, a drug deal went down in front of my building. Granted, it was just one stupid-looking youth selling pot to another stupid-looking youth. But still, the stuff is illegal and the boys’ brazenness was shocking—it was, if not broad daylight, not yet sunset. More disturbing, money and marijuana having exchanged hands, the pair of dimestore hoodlums continued to loiter, despite the presence on the sidewalk of current and former building residents. That is, until the undercover cops showed up. I know some girls go ga-ga for men in uniform; me, I love me a guy in a bullet proof vest.

The winner: Let’s see—gross yet harmless pest vs. the potential for a drive-by shooting. I’m going to award this one to the City. Yea! I’m the bigger loser.


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