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Jumping Jehoshaphat!

Clutches of crickets are confounding

August 2023

By Margo Oxendine, Contributing Columnist

First off, I need to correct something I blathered about ignorantly a couple of months ago, in my column about how I love turtles. If you move a turtle out of the road, be sure to move it in the same direction it was headed. Turtles, I guess, are determined creatures, and will, by golly, head right back the way they were originally headed, ergo, back into the road, if you don’t. 

So, keep the turtles moving in the direction they want to go. There. That’s done. Now, onto another life form that is neither cute nor likable in the least: crickets. 

I have had a clutch of crickets inside my house these past two summers. If some reader out there knows how to rid a house of crickets, please let me know. 

Right now, there is an almost biblical plague of crickets in Elko, Nevada. I have been through Elko, and I can tell you, there may be no better place for crickets. It is desolate and dreary. (And no, I do not want to hear from you about its attributes, if any.) 

Millions — that’s right, millions — of crickets have invaded the town. They cover the roadways and the sidewalks. They fly into the hair and clothing of the good citizens of Elko. The news the other night showed them being shoveled up with snow equipment. The crickets were not deterred. And, apparently, once they descend on a place, they return for six years. Yes, years! Gah! 

I will not forget the morning I stumbled into my kitchen to make my cappuccino. I turned on the machine, made the confection, and brought it into my office. But, as I went to drink it, I felt something weird on my lips. My mind knew what it was right away: a drowned cricket. Yes, I was somehow drinking a cricket cappuccino. The cursed thing had managed to crawl into my metal carafe and was hiding out there. I can still feel it on my lips. 

If you watch a travel or cooking show, chances are, you will see people eating crickets. Yes! Can you imagine a ghastlier thing? I sure can’t. On a recent show, an entomologist baked up a batch of brownies. She sprinkled them with crickets. The host of the show told her, “Go ahead. Put more crickets on there!” So, she ladled on a few more. The host took a bite. You could see it on his face. Ghastly. He kindly said, “Wow, these brownies are moist.” He waited a beat, and then opined, “And the crickets add some crunch.” He somehow managed to swallow. 

I may never eat another brownie again. 

There’s an actual condition called “entomophobia.” I think I may have it. It is a fear of insects. I guess, most especially, the fear of accidentally eating one. I’m sure I have, unwittingly, but I prefer not to think about it. 

To order Margo’s book of columns, “A Party of One,” email: [email protected], or call (540)468-2147 Mon-Wednesday, 9-5.