It is often said that you can split people into two very large groups: dog people and cat people. Nastassja Kinski starred in ‘Cat People’ and I once stayed up late to watch it in the hope that she would get her kit off; she’s foreign and they do those sorts of things in films they show late. I was immensely disappointed. Immensely.
So, yes, dog people and cat people:
- dog people, naturally, are generally imbecilic in nature, easily controlled, have poor personal hygiene, and have some form of mental block that prevents them acknowledging any of these INDISPUTABLE FACTS OF NATURE so indisputable they are always capitalised and often displayed in a font three sizes larger than normal, coloured red, and made to blink in a manner that affects epileptics. Not on my site though, and,
- cat people are intelligent, independent, and prone to throwing up furballs, mysterious bones, and whole, live seagulls.
I am a cat person and, just like Nastassja Kinski in the immensely disappointing and previously-mentioned film whose name shall not be repeated, my clothes are currently on and have been for quite some time now.
I’m also an insect person. But not by choice.
Insects really, really like me. Maybe I have a natural funk. Perhaps I generate an electric field 180 degrees out of phase with those gadgets you can plug into your mains sockets to brainwash spiders to cocoon the man next door who is always, always hammering something and, God help me!, if the spiders don’t get him then I’m going to end up in an asylum for homeowners who finally cracked. And possibly it’s my predilection for dabbing my neck and wrists with Calvin Klein’s Eternity For Arthropods before I leave the house. We just have to accept this may be one of life’s little unsolved mysteries. I might have to telephone Robert Stack and find out.
Having got this far I’m now prepared to stake money on the fact that one of you – my favourite one – is now thinking "Wow, Mark, you an insect person? That’s great! I wish I was. Say, it would be really neat if you let us in on some interesting insects while you’re on the subject. That would really make my day and might make me put off my killing spree till after next weekend."
Well, how could I possibly refuse?
What is ear wax? Is it, in fact, just wax? And what exactly is wax? And what does ‘what’ mean? If you restricted your personal grooming to once a year (on your birthday) then could you use your ears to illuminate rooms during power cuts? To be honest I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but I do know that earlice live in your ears (go figure) and thrive on wax. Without it they die or must flee to similar environments.
Like most people, and almost a third of my regular visitors, I was never keen on having even one louse dwelling within the confines of a place I’ve come to know and love as "my left ear" and it is with some shame that I confess I instigated the War Of Cotton Bud against these noble creatures. Their dying screams: like squelches in my auditory canal. Their rallying cries: so brave, so futile. It was genocide and I wept for my sins. I threw myself to the ground and begged forgiveness from whichever deity it is who looks down and clearly ignores the plight of earlice and a miracle occurred! The lone survivor, the Queen – who had been defended to the last by her personal guard; it was they who gnawed through the stick of the Cotton Bud (Of Mass Destruction) and it was their actions that finally forced the parties to the conference table – left her homeland heavily pregnant and began the long march across my cheekbone to her new home, my nostril. And she’s been there ever since.
There is now a vast new civilisation of earlice on the verge of being born and I feel almost motherly towards them. This is fortunate since it has helped prevent me deploying an Interfacial Ballistic Handkerchief and accidentally murdering them in their birthing pods. It will also help when they emerge into whatever daylight penetrates my nose hair because upon their introduction to the world the Queen will die and drop out. I’ll then have a big decision to make: being a man and only having two manly nipples I can only save two of the many thousands of new earlice. The rest will be squashed into a rather effective and environmentally-friendly wood glue though.
Moths are nocturnal yet switch a light on and they fly towards it. If you like lights then – here’s an idea – sleep through and get up in the morning. This strange paradox of natural behaviour has puzzled moth experts for centuries and their inability to solve the problem has subsequently demoted them to mere ‘moth enthusiasts’ and, in some extreme cases, just ‘moth.’ I, however, am a moth expert. I know the reason. I know why moths are active at night. I know why they like the lights. I know why they should be feared. It’s not just because they can throw up shadows of ring wraiths on walls as you’re walking around in just a pair of socks carrying a cup of hot coffee. Please enjoy the free mental imagery.
Moths harbour the souls of dead entertainers.
I’ve said it. Now you know it. Spiritualists rejoice!
You want to know where Elvis is? He’s a moth. He sleeps high up on my kitchen wall during the day and as the sun goes down emerges to gyrate his mothy hips in front of the fluorescent tube. If you form a cone from stiff card and hold it in front of a moth chances are good that you will just be able to make out singing.
UPDATE: This morning I found my moth floating face up in the toilet bowl. My moth has left the building.
Being aware that moths are really earthly shells for paranormal phantasms you can clearly see why they should be feared. There are an awful lot of awfully dead, awful entertainers out there and any one of them could be the next fluttering shape to send hot coffee over your exposed scrotum. We all know that Tupac became far more terrifying after his death. If the music industry gets wind that he may still be around in a form to record yet more r’n’b (not hip-hop, it was never hip-hop) tripe we could all be doomed for eternity.
The Japanese have known about moths for centuries. Godzilla’s enemy Mothra is an amalgamated supercreature formed from the spirits of tens of thousands of Japanese entertainers. It’s really quite obvious when you think about it.
A centipede has … one hundred legs. Fact! A millipede has … one thousand legs. Fact! I think you can guess why I like the trillipede: three-legged creatures are frighteningly rare in nature ("modifications" by foul-smelling children notwithstanding) and watching this little blighter try to walk in a straight line with two legs on one side of his body and only one on the other just makes me smile.
What was the mystery of crop circles? Two words: trillipede migration.
Samson, The World’s Mightiest Cockroach
Okay, his name may not be Samson. I don’t think I’m exposing any chinks in my armour of Skill & Knowledge when I admit that communicating with cockroaches is neither something I’ve succeeded in completing or, for that matter, attempted other than that one time after the pub; the Cockroach Mind Meld Does Not Work!
And I suppose I should point out that Samson may not technically be the actual mightiest cockroach in the world. I was all prepared to find out for certain until I estimated the time involved to complete the task and factored in the leaps in evolution by Samson’s kind during the interval. Realising that the megaroach overlords of our distant future world – a crazy world constructed entirely of mile-high skirting boards and human slaves whose job it would be to drop large crumbs and jump up on chairs screaming occasionally – would probably look down dimly on me I decided to try another approach: cockroach olympics!
As I’ve pointed out I have no means to communicate with cockroaches and only Samson turned up to my hastily-arranged sporting event. I can confirm that Samson easily won the Tennis Racket Serve Into The Wall, the Army Boot Smackdown Tournament, the Housebrick High Dive, and the Chess Challenge Against Deep Blue (on a technicality: IBM wouldn’t lend me the computer when they heard I was planning on throwing it at a competitor.)
Samson won his freedom when my hitting arm started to ache proving he is, if not the mightiest, certainly in the upper echelons of cockroaches everywhere. I often think about what happened to him and sometimes when I wake up with tiny droppings in my mouth and under my eyelids I can’t help but wonder if he hasn’t paid me a visit fueled by thoughts of retribution during the night. God bless you Samson, you indestructible pest.