(originally posted 4/19/2020)
Am I guilty of a little anthropomorphism when it comes to insects?
Am I guilty of assuming everybody knows what anthropomorphism is?
For those of you who don’t, anthropomorphism is attributing human characteristics to other things. In this case insects. I would stop here to make fun of what a dimwit you are but I know what the next sentence is going to be so I can‘t really be throwing stones.
There is truly a part of me that believes that millions and millions of years ago all bugs had a head, two arms and two legs (what did I tell you?). This was before diversity was a thing. They were tiny but they looked very much like we do. My apologies to those who don’t have two arms and/or two legs (if you don’t have a head I don’t think an apology is going to cut it).
Then along came evolution.
I picture evolution as a big sprawling market, equal parts bazaar and trade show. Countless exhibits where the insects march up and down looking at evolutionary options.
Front and center would be the Wings booth. Very glitzy. Lots of traffic. “What would it take to put you into these wings today?”
“How big you want them?”
“Retractable or fixed?”
Moths so excited by their purchase that they forget the instruction manual. Flies having yet to stop by… but Wings knowing it was juuuuuust a matter of time.
Exoskeletons are also swarmed.
Antenna. Segmented Eyes. Mandibles. All open for business. The place is hopping.
Hopping. Obviously Hopping is in attendance.
Ironically not many insects find Camouflage. Location, location, location.
You can see the gullible slug getting roped into the Slime pitch. Even the salesperson there is shocked that they make the sale.
Fresh from having sand kicked in the collective face by another beetle species, the rhinoceros beetle makes a beeline for Strength. You can bet bees took note of how it got where it wanted to go.
All the bugs starting to give the Odors booth a wide berth as they begin spraying samples on innocent passersby, like they do at the perfume counter at the mall.
In a dark alley, well off the main thoroughfare, a dung beetle storms away from the Proboscis booth yelling “Hell no! I have my pride!” before a mosquito standing behind it slides up, looks over both shoulders, leans in and in a hushed voice says “I just got wings. Tell me a bit more about this spear of yours.”
A spider sits in front of Appendages explaining its issue. “It’s taking forever building these webs with just four limbs.”
“I’ve got just the thing for you” comes the reply.
Little does the Appendages team know but they’ll be headed home early, centipedes stopping by a little later and cleaning them out.
“What the fuck are they going to do with all those legs? Never mind, we made quota and then some. Time to celebrate!”
The guy in Stings closes a deal and then adds “For a small upcharge… let’s talk toxins.”
Someone sitting behind a folding table loaded with chatzky asking “Interested in a life under water?”
Sadly, for insects anyway, Opposable Thumbs never shows up. A flat on the way over and then a long wait for someone to arrive and change the tire forever alters the food chain as we know it. They would have done it themselves but, as their wife likes to say, they are “All thumbs.”
Imagine how different the world would be if that particular tire hadn’t driven over that exact sharp object. Really a game-changer from an evolutionary perspective.
A lot of insects pass the Thanatosis and Autotomy booths without stopping, too embarrassed to inquire as to what those words mean. The folks manning them getting frustrated and yelling “I told you nobody would know what it is!” at each other. Tempers flare.
Am I guilty of assuming you also don’t know what thanatosis and autotomy are and are too embarrassed to admit it?
Perhaps I should end this by asking if I am guilty of a little insectapomorphism when it comes to people.