Inhale, exhale.

Earlier this week, I survived a vicious cicada attack. It is a present that I am nonetheless right here to have the ability to discuss it.

OK, effective. It wasn’t as a lot “vicious attack” as “being indoors and finding a live cicada on my clothing.” Potato, po-TAH-to.

How it transpired: I was at NCS’s Washington, DC, bureau, about to affix Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room,” appeared down and there it was, stuck to my pant leg. I didn’t react like my colleague Manu Raju in a video that has now gone viral, as a result of, properly, a cicada in your pants is not as dangerous as one climbing on the again of your neck (I just like the ring of that and really feel like I have to coin it as a catchphrase). But, nonetheless, it is jarring.
Look, I notice I initially used robust language. But, actual discuss, these creatures are to not be messed with. For occasion, an acre of land can have up to 1.4 million cicadas emerge from it. Which means — take a deep breath and go searching you — when you’re in your 10 foot-by-10 foot bed room proper now and it occurs to be carpeted with vegetation, it most likely has over 3,200 cicadas in it.*
I imply, come on, these items discovered how one can band collectively to ground a White House press aircraft. Or, in an apparent act of tried cicada espionage, President Joe Biden was, ahem, bugged this week, main him to warn a cavalier public, “Watch out for the cicadas.” Amen, Mr. President.

Am I the one one who thinks we may be mere days from submitting to the rule of our sentient insect overlords? When we’re all put to work harvesting tree sap, do not say I did not warn you.

I’m simply saying: There’s a whole “Twilight Zone” episode about what occurs when swarms of mysterious however peaceful-seeming invaders present up on the planet claiming to need to coexist with people. It doesn’t end well for folks, folks.
This mentioned, within the strategy of gently getting the cicada off my swimsuit (once more, not a euphemism — but) and making certain that it was returned to nature the place it might spend its remaining days within the firm of tens of millions of its compatriots screaming indiscriminately on the high of its lungs for hours on finish, I realized a few issues.
One, they’re form of laborious to take away from clothes. I’m satisfied that they do not spend their 17 years underground molting 5 occasions however actually are simply doing intense squat and dead-lift exercises the entire time. Cicadas clearly do not skip leg day.
Two, they transfer slowly. Slower than you’d suppose. I perceive they may be groggy after practically 20 years ensconced in a subterranean womb, however, come on, Brood X. You’ve received five, maybe six weeks to stay above floor. Way lower than that if any of your recognized predators — lizards, birds, pet labradoodles — are close by. Get out and seize that day! Because at the moment you may be effective; tomorrow you may change into a sex-crazed zombie whose genitals fall off. I’m simply looking for you right here.
Three, they style like … properly, I do not know, as a result of I’m good on lean protein sources, thanks. Particularly ones which were recognized to explode gooey insect entrails into your mouth as you devour them. Besides, NCS normally would not let me carry my air fryer on set.
Finally, like so a lot of nature’s phenomena, they don’t seem to be seen to us: Here for a second and, then, straight away, gone. In a metaphor, the Japanese liken cherry blossoms — one other fleeting pure expertise — to the human existence: The season through which they bloom is fascinating however virtually tragically short-lived. I guess we should always get pleasure from all of it. It can be over quickly.
And moreover, a lot can occur in 17 years earlier than they return. In 2004, the final time cicadas had been right here, “Friends” was on television, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez had been together, and “TheFacebook” was in the news. Totally totally different from at the moment, proper?

Who is aware of what world our vicious, six-legged masters will uncover once they return to take us over.

*Perhaps I ought to disclose that I am neither an entomologist nor a person who studied arithmetic previous highschool, and I didn’t seek the advice of with both within the drafting of this column.

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