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 plague-full.
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."