Saturday, March 17, 2012

Potato Bugs

I wrote this in ten minutes in class tonight. The prompt was to write a bug story...

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When I moved up here to Utah from California, I heard natives talk about potato bugs. I was always concerned that potato bugs were up here in Utah, and this is why...

My first encounter with a potato bug was when I was seventeen in my senior calculus class in southern California early in the morning.

There was a lot of commotion around my friend Becca's desk. She got up and started shrieking with a drama akin to the female victims in slasher films. Naturally, everyone wanted to see why.

I had just gotten glasses a few days before then, but I didn't have them on. So when I walked over to see why she was flipping out, all I could see under her chair was a flesh colored, bulbous, motionless blob.

This, I found out, was a potato bug.

All of the "big men" classmates decided they would rescue us from this hideous thing. They got it into a plastic cup and took it outside.

Then, with the enthusiasm and experience that only boys can bring, they stood around and watched as the biggest of them, Andy, jumped three feet into the air and landed hard, crushing the plastic cup, and exploding its contents.

I watched more with horror than gratitude, as it seemed to me that this insects only crime was being unattractive.

After a conversation with one of my Utah friends about what she called potato bugs, I learned that, in fact, Utahans just had a totally incorrect name for what I had grown up calling a rolly poly.

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