I was monitoring news from Australia earlier this year for a sense
of what to expect from my summer. "Billions of locusts are swarming
across parts of Australia," said an April article in The Washington
Post. "The plague was spawned by heavy rains in February and has
defied attempts to control it with aerial spraying."
Did you catch that? The plague.
A plague, it seems, is the only way that locusts come. You don't
get a peck of locusts. Or a smidgen. Or a bunch. You get 'em by the
Since ancient Egyptian times, it has ever been thus.
I'll admit that I thought maybe locusts suffered from bad press. I
mean, you just don't see the word locust without the words plague
of in front of it.
To make sure readers understood what a plague is, the story went
on to say that the locusts covered an area "about twice the size of
England." Okay, so England is one of your smaller countries. Still,
twice its area? That's a lot of Brits with locusts in their teeth.
Which, granted, might be an improvement in the smiles of the little
nation's notoriously dentally challenged populace, but that's not
the point. This is: I am digging a hole and getting in it - and I
won't come out until Halloween.
If the prognosticators are correct, a plague is what we living up
and down the Northeast coast are experiencing right this minute.
When I open the door to my house in the morning, to get to my car
I'll have to wade through a throng of cicadas.
I know, cicadas are not locusts. But they are, for all intents and
purposes, except factual ones, the same thing. They are big, ugly,
flying rodents. All right, they're not actually rodents, either.
They belong, factually speaking, to the subgenus known
scientifically as "scary #$%@%&s."