Monday, September 20, 2004

One of my co-workers tells a story about being in China and passing street vendors selling skewers full of scorpions. The vendors, not speaking any English, would hold a stick out to passersby and try to tempt them with the phrase they heard most often: "Oh my god." She says that visiting tourists would pass the carts and hop away from the scorpions in horror, pointing and shouting "Oh my god!" (They would also try to sell postcards with the words "No thank you.") That's what she remembers most from her trip: softspoken Chinese people, saying quietly and without inflection "Oh my god" over and over again, hoping to tempt someone over to their treats.

Someone once gave me a chocolate covered cricket and told me that if I ate it they'd give me money. I talked my brother into eating it, figuring that as long as it got ate I'd still get the cash, but it didn't happen.

This is all to say that there was a bug festival at the Burke museum yesterday, and joined by the adventurous Tara, I went. I like bugs best when they're dead and pinned down under glass.
I could talk for hours about all the things that I saw, but I'll spare you that. I'll just tell you about what I ate: a crunchy mealworm, barbecue seasoned, that tasted like Fritos and a cricket leg (which was sort of pointy and got stuck in my throat). The trouble with what the man cooked is that he mixed them with peppers and onions, and I am not a peppers-and-onions fan. But other folks ate whole bugs, and no one threw up.

I once had a tarantula as a pet, named Ghengis Khan. It escaped, and may still be roaming free across Florida, and looking at one yesterday, I can't figure out how I was ever brave enough to keep it. They're creepy looking. But I guess I was a kid then, and kids are much braver than adults.

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