In a distinct departure from my normal lunch routine, I bonded with a group of complete strangers yesterday over an emotional discussion about religion. Well, more specifically, we bonded when we were standing outside a high-rise office building in the Loop and noticed a giant praying mantis near the entrance, sheltering itself from the rain.
“Oh my god! Is that…?”
“It’s a praying mantis!”
“In the Loop?!”
“Oh my god!”
“I know!”
“I’ve never seen one in real life before!”
“That’s what I was just saying!”
“Holy crap – a praying mantis!”
“Yup, praying mantis.”
“Right here.”
“Oh my god!”
“What’s he doing here?”
“Don’t know.”
“Staying dry.”
“Just like us – ha!”
“Ahhh! Ohmigod – what is that?!”
“He’s not gonna attack you.”
“Yeah – it’s just a praying mantis.”
“Holy crap, look at his arms!”
“His eyes are huge!”
“Is that a praying mantis?”
“Poor little guy.”
“Should we pick him up?”
“He’ll be okay.”
“They can fly, right?”
“I think so – or is that locusts I’m thinking of?”
“It’s a plague!”
“Praying mantis – sure don’t see that everyday.”
“Not in Chicago, at least.”
“That’s for sure!”
“Well, take it easy!”
“You too!”
“Praying mantis… ha!”

16 Responses to “Bug”

  1. Dave2 Says:

    The praying mantis is one of the freakiest bugs on the planet, which is why I like them so much. Aren’t they the ones where the female will bust open the head of the male and eat his brain after she’s been fertilized?? That’s pretty cool… and a lot like women I’ve dated.
    Some friends and I were vacationing in Maui at our condo’s swimming pool. A mantis was on the edge, so one of my friends splashed water on him so that he would go away. But he didn’t. He just turned and LOOKED RIGHT AT MY FRIEND as if to say “do that again and I’ll kill you!” It was perfectly EVIL and we all kind of freaked out. I guess when you are facing getting your brain eaten, a little water doesn’t mean all that much.

  2. shari Says:

    City folk…
    ***shakes head amusedly, feeling an odd, almost grandmotherly affection for all Chicagoans***

  3. jenny Says:

    dave2: I think you’re right about the brain eating thing. Cool. They really are the bad-assinest bugs on the planet!
    shari: Oh, Bubby. Tell us again how you lived on the farm, and had to milk the praying mantisses every morning before school, won’t you?

  4. Tracy Lynn Says:

    They are cool, but only because they’re small. I keep thinking What if they get really big? and then I have to go lie down for awhile.

  5. peefer Says:

    Silly woman, praying mantisses are milked in the evening.

  6. heather anne Says:

    Wow! And you still managed to get that X-Ray picture of him with your new camera!

  7. Jenn Says:

    I watched some nature program that spotlighted praying mantises. I laughed I heard that they will instinctively move toward the tallest thing available to them. If you had gone close, the little guy might have tried to climb up your leg, like one did to me in Japan. It got as far as my thigh before I freaked the hell out.

  8. Dustin Says:

    You are such a nature phobe. I’ll be praying for you when you reach Portland for TQ’07. What will you do surrounded by so much greenery?

  9. jenny Says:

    Tracy Lynn: Didn’t they make a horror movie like that?
    Peefer: Do you milk them before or after they’ve said their prayers?
    Heather Anne: Picture? Wha-? Oh that? No, that’s an actual x-ray of my lung.
    Jenn: It did actually start walking toward this woman who got a little too close to it. :)
    Dustin: I’m quite fond of nature, as long as I don’t have to sleep or go to the bathroom in it. But re: Portland, I was told there would be buildings. No one said anything about greenery…

  10. sandra Says:

    There was an episode of Buffy (slaps self in head for being a dork) where one of the teachers at Sunnyvale high was a part-time praying mantis. She morphed into one at some stage and tried to eat one of the guys.
    Good times.

  11. adena Says:

    Aww…he’s so cute!
    (you know, apart from being evil, and all…)

  12. Bubby Says:

    Y’know, when I was a kid, we lived on a farm. And every morning before school, we had to awaken early to milk the praying mantises. It was not an easy life, but really, it taught us what’s important… like how to find mantis breastesses in the glow of dawn. Lotta life lessons there, for sure.

  13. teahouseblossom Says:

    Jeez, is that a scanning electron microscope image? That definitely makes it look doubly freaky.
    My bf does praying mantis kung fu.

  14. sween Says:

    I read this and all I could think of was that I needed to know who was speaking.
    So I’ve edited it. It’s now a four character piece, with yourself, two random strangers, and a praying mantis that has an annoying habit of speaking about himself in the third person:
    Jenny: “Oh my god! Is that…?”
    Praying Mantis: “It’s a praying mantis!”
    Jenny: “In the Loop?!”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Oh my god!”
    Praying Mantis: “I know!”
    Another Random Stranger: “I’ve never seen one in real life before!”
    Jenny: “That’s what I was just saying!”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Holy crap — a praying mantis!”
    Praying Mantis: “Yup, praying mantis.”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Where?”
    Praying Mantis: “Right here.”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Oh my god!”
    Jenny: “Cool.”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “What’s he doing here?”
    Jenny: “Don’t know.”
    Praying Mantis: “Staying dry.”
    Jenny: “Just like us — ha!”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Ahhh! Ohmigod — what is that?!”
    Another Random Stranger: “He’s not gonna attack you.”
    Jenny: “Yeah — it’s just a praying mantis.”
    Another Random Stranger: “Holy crap, look at his arms!”
    Jenny: “His eyes are huge!”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Is that a praying mantis?”
    Praying Mantis: “Poor little guy.”
    Jenny: “Should we pick him up?”
    Praying Mantis: “He’ll be okay.”
    Another Random Stranger: “They can fly, right?”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “I think so — or is that locusts I’m thinking of?”
    Jenny: “It’s a plague!”
    Praying Mantis: “Ha.”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Praying mantis — sure don’t see that everyday.”
    Praying Mantis: “Not in Chicago, at least.”
    Another Random Stranger: “That’s for sure!”
    Jenny: “Well, take it easy!”
    Praying Mantis: “You too!”
    Praying Mantis: “Thanks!”
    Jenny: “Bye!”
    Random Stranger with No Short-Term Memory: “Praying mantis… ha!”
    Aaaaaand… scene.
    There. 20 minutes of work avoided.

  15. jenny Says:

    Sandra: Buffy Rules! No head slapping allowed!
    adena: But that’s just it – they use their powers for good! Except when they’re eating the heads off their mates.
    Bubby: I can clearly remember when my parents told me about the birds and the mantisses. Scarred me for life.
    THB: Too cool! When I was googling images for praying mantis, I came across a bunch of crazy martial arts photos – maybe it was your BF!
    Sween: That is perhaps the greatest comment in the history of comments. You completely hijacked my comments section into a sort of parasitic blog! I love it! Especially the fact that the mantis is part of the play. :)

  16. sween Says:

    It is sort of weird that I have put more effort into this one comment on your blog than most of the past three moths of my own site….