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I Hate Crickets
Many people are wrong about crickets.
For example, a common misconception is that a cricket’s chirp is created by rubbing its hind legs together. This is an "old wives tale," also known as a "blatant falsehood told by married women who are past their prime." In truth, the cricket's song is produced by rubbing a ridged area of the left forewing against the upper hind edge of the right forewing, or something like that. Anyway, Wikipedia.
In my research on the subject, I've discovered that crickets actually have four unique "songs", but I'm here to discuss only one of them: It is the mating song titled "REEEE REEEE REEE REEEE REEEEE." Translated into English, I believe it would go something like this: "HEY BABY I GOT A PORCHE! HEY BABY I GOT A PORCHE! HEY BABY I GOT A PORCHE! HEY BABY I GOT A PORCHE!"
I hate this particular cricket tune, and it's even more infuriatingly repetitive than "Who Let the Dogs Out?" (but keep in mind that Baha Men will still earn a heaping portion of my hatred. When did that song come out? Five years ago? I'm still disgusted with it).
I'm sure most people believe the chirp of crickets is relaxing and pleasant – They recall summer evenings with their stepfamilies, drinking iced tea on the porch, having a pleasant conversation about stock car racing until Uncle Earl turns it into an argument about the government and becomes violent. Earl’s fury can never be restrained, and he feels no compassion or remorse. Ethel usually gets a few teeth knocked out, the police are always called out for a domestic disturbance and Earl gets the mace right in his goddamned eyes. Anyway, before anybody tells me that crickets are wonderful, and that they are a great help to Pinocchio, I'd like you to hear this:
This was recorded in my previous apartment at about 2:00 A.M. on a Monday using a voice recorder. The volume or tone has not been adjusted in any way. Could you sleep through that?
Not annoying enough? The same cricket came back at 3:24 A.M. with a European industrial metal band:
The point is: they're kind of loud, I guess.
I didn't know that crickets came in larger sizes until I moved to Georgia about 13 years ago. I don't know what species they were, but they had really long legs and antennae, much like a spider or small dog. I would often get this type in my first apartment, and I would hear them chirping away at two or three in the morning. I couldn't get at them, since they would live in a gap between the carpet and under the wall, and they were impossible to reach, even with butter knives, screwdrivers, and comma splices. This was very frustrating, and I've lost many a night's sleep because of them. I don't have any crickets in my current apartment, but they all seem to hang out right outside my bedroom window where they screech the night away, trying to score some "fine cricket-booty."
Over the years, I've come up with several strategies to deal with the crickets and their noise.
1) KILL THEM ALL
This is unrealistic. I can't go out into the yard and kill all of them - there are far too many, and they'd be difficult to locate in the dark. Plus, it would look pretty suspicious if I were to go out in the front yard of my apartment complex and begin stomping around behind the bushes at 3:00 in the morning. The neighbors might even call the police, and how do you explain something like that?
"What are you doing out here, son?" - See, cops would call me "son" even though I'm pretty old.
"I'm killing crickets! And I'm not your son!"
2) FOLDING MY PILLOW OVER MY EARS AND HOLDING MY ELBOWS
Another technique is to wrap my pillow around my head, and try to lock my elbows to hold the pillow in place. This does tend to block out a lot of sound - but once I lose consciousness, my hands relax and release the pillow, and I'll be awakened by cricket shrieks soon thereafter. This has never been an effective solution, but I included it here because hey, I drew that picture. Still didn't get the mouth quite right...
2) USING HEADPHONES AS EARPLUGS
I have a pair of old Panasonic studio headphones that are quite sturdy, and I've worn them out of desperation on those noisy cricket-screeching-filled nights. They drown the sound out to about 50 percent - as long as they're tied tightly to my head with shoelaces, glue, rope or heavy-duty rubber bands.
The disadvantages of using this method are:
- Sleeping with headphones may cause me to miss my alarm clock's jarring buzz, and I may end up late for work.
- If I roll over slightly, sleeping with headphones may cause me to asphyxiate in the night as the cable wraps tightly around my neck, bringing Death’s cold yet welcome embrace. I would soon be introduced to Darwin, and he would point and laugh at me.
4) FLOPPING MY ARM OVER MY EAR
SUCCESS! Through trial and error, I think I've finally found the solution. I press one ear into my pillow, and flop one arm over my head, so that the meat of my bicep covers the opposite ear. This blocks the sound completely, and I can somehow still hear my alarm clock. Gravity does all the work, so I don't have to exert any effort. I've tested this out over the last few nights, and it seems to do the job.
Only problem with this is that my arm falls asleep and cramps up, and it makes me uncomfortably hot. I'll also eventually get bursitis if I keep my arm at that angle, so there’s months of physical therapy to look forward to.
The only real solution to all of this would be to move further north, get an airtight apartment, get an apartment on a higher floor, or violently stab my ears out with a screwdriver. Winter is on the way, so I'll be able to put off any of these remedies for another year or so. Actually, in the time I took to
procrastinate write this article, the weather has gotten cooler, and the crickets have gone underground - back to Hell where they belong.