Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why I HATE, HATE, HATE Grasshoppers

photo by Pawel Kabanski/Flickr
Welcome to my nightmare!  I really, really have a thing about grasshoppers.  If they're the itty-bitty type, I will squish them in a heartbeat.  The giant ones send me flying into the house and then begging Mr. MoonCat to go out to extinguish them.  The sad, sad thing is that I can tell you exactly when this trauma-induced phobia started.  Please shelter the children from this story of horror....

It was a warm summer day when my mom, my sister and I were driving up into the foothills to visit my Gramma.  The fields were all golden brown with the breeze causing ripples that looked like waves int the dried grass. We had the windows down, the sunroof open and were enjoying the trip...until..a GARGANTUAN grasshopper decided to terrorize me and end my "live and let live" lifestyle forever.

photo by DRB62/Flickr

This mutant terrorist (easily over three inches long) was on his assignment to GET JULES when he bounced off of my arm and landed inside the car.  He was on the headrest behind me and managed to get tangled in my hair.  I was screeching for some help, but my horrible, unfeeling mother and sister were laughing too hard to assist me.  The foul creature then decided to travel down the back of my tank top, scratching me all the way!  (If you look closely at the photos of the horrible creatures above and below, you will see their hooks, claws, and spurs...)  Anyway, his mission was obviously a one-way trip as he made the fatal mistake of continuing his path south and ended up IN MY UNDERWEAR!  (So you don't think I was riding around in just a tank top and undies, my Wranglers tend to gap at the small of my back and my undies follow suit sometimes.)

photo by Bossco/Flickr
Now to add insult/embarrassment to my injuries:  Mom was slowing the car down to take an almost hairpin turn - while in hysterics, I remind you.  I took advantage of this to bail out of the car, drop my pants AND underwear and proceed to stomp the life out of the suicidal demon bug.  The mortifying part comes into the story due to the fact that there is a ranch house located right on the turn.  At that particular moment in time, standing under a tree with their horses, were 4 or 5 of the ranch hands.  They saw the whole dang thing and were laughing, whooping and hollering.  With absolutely none of my dignity left, I pulled up my drawers, waved to them like a parade princess and flounced back into the car.  I didn't speak to the other inhabitants in the car for the rest of the trip.

Once we got to Gramma's house, she was the only one who showed me any sympathy.  That is until Mom looked at my back.  I had vivid scratches all over my back with a couple of them even a bit bloody.  I think she felt a bit bad after that, my sister didn't.

So, now you know the cause of one of my most irrational fears.  This is also why Mom didn't say a word this morning when we were at the kitchen table and I suddenly went screeching at top speed outside with my basket of herbs.  Something similar to the photo below was sitting on top of my catnip, LOOKING AT ME.

Hopper from A Bug's Life/California Adventure


  1. I had one jumped down my t-shirt when I went to get the mail. It is not fun trying to get it out! You have all of my sympathy, dear Julie!

  2. I knew I could get some sympathy and commiseration from my friends here! :) (If I didn't have such baby skin, it probably wouldn't have scratched me up so bad - but it WAS on a mission..)

    Hope your week is going well.

  3. Yikes! I can see why you hate them so much!

    So I guess you don't want to hear about the time my daughter kept one in one of those bug houses for a whole summer feeding it apples and oranges? When she tried to set it free outside it wouldn't leave the bug house. (why would it? free food and no birds to eat him!)

    Hope your day remains grasshopper free :)


  4. Sheila, that's what is so funny. As a kid, I'd pick them up and carry them around, put them in a jar, had a bug house of my own. But that little incident just did me in (I was either in my late teens or early 20s)

    Thanks for the good wishes. The garden is all theirs for the rest of the day :)

  5. I agree with you 100%. For me, it may have started when as a child my family took a road trip thru the mid-west. It was a year where these terrible pests attacked field after field and you litterly could hardly see out the car windshield (that had many dead grasshoppers). And now, when I find them in my yard I hunt them down. While most of the bug world I can accept, the grasshopper I can not. My only delight with these pests was that I had a cat trained to know the word "grasshopper" and he came with excitement to catch the pest. It was great fun to watch him chase down and kill it.

    Very bad pest that I find no redeeming value.


  6. Aaarght, Jules! It gives me the creeps just to think what you've been through! I have the awful same problem with spiders. Can't stand them, to the point of hysteria: pure arachnophobia.
    Poor girl, what a horror movie scene! :oP

    Hope you don't have to deal with it for a long time!

    Kisses from us.

  7. Darlene, too bad I can't train Cailen (the dog) to hunt them. He would want me to throw them for him though & play fetch :)

    We've had summers like that where you couldn't walk in the yard or field without stepping on several dozen at a time. Horrible creatures.

    Nydia, I feel for you. You're not alone in that fear. They can be pretty scary looking. A friend of mine has the same problem with spiders - and she's a cop! She'll take on a bad guy ten times before she will a spider.

    Thank you both (all) for the support. Mr. MoonCat is still laughing at me :)

  8. My youngest daughter started out young with a fear of Toads crickets and grasshoppers just because of their hopping. She was teased by everyone, as she grew older I too joined on the band wagon, of they are just moving from point A to Point B, that is their means of Travel. I used to always pick up toads and grasshoppers and crickets, even praying mantis' until I found out that they bite.

    She didn't care, unfortunately her brother and occasionally her sister would pick up a toad or a grasshopper, and if they even took one step in her direction, she would start screaming.

    Well, she is now 23, and is still afraid of anything that "hops". It does not keep her from walking from the house to the car or back at night like it did when she was younger (oh there were times it would take us 30 minutes to get her out of the car to go into the house if we had been out and now it was dark out)but if while walking she happens to see the "hop" of a toad, she will let out a little yelp, and side step in the opposite direction.I just shake my head. but YET, I hate spiders of all types including daddy long legs, (they are so creepy)both she and her brother will pick them up by one leg and throw them outside rather than kill them. ewwwwish!

  9. Susan, isn't it funny how each of us has certain things that just throw us for a loop.

    Along with my grasshopper issue is one for crickets. When I worked at a pet store, initiation for new employees was to stick your hand in the tank & pull out a handful of them and put them in a bag. I got around it by putting the bag on my hand, grabbing some and then flipping the bag inside out! HA! They're almost as creepy as the hoppers.

    Your poor daughter wouldn't last around here long. We have HUNDREDS of toads and a lot of small frogs - just wish they'd do in the grasshoppers :)


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