Thursday, April 17, 2003

In Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio, the talking cricket didn't sing, didn't wear a top hat, and wasn't named Jiminy. He was simply (at least in English translation) "The Talking Cricket", and I fear he was a bit of a poop. In fact, he nagged Pinocchio so mercilessly that our hero squashed him flat with a piece of footwear. This didn't stop the Talking Cricket; his buggy little ghost soon returned and resumed harping on Pinocchio for being not only a disobedient son and a lazy student, but a bug-killer to boot. Or with a boot. That's what I seem to recall Pinocchio used as the murder weapon.

Now that my career plans are in limbo again, there's a similar entity in my own life. Rick and I call it the Ghost of Bugs Future. It knows what kind of a bug it is, and where it is, and what I'm going to be doing with it. I know none of these things. In a tiny whining voice, it keeps taunting me with totally useless hints:

"Do you prefer scarab beetles or inchworm moths?"
"Can you speak Bulgarian?"
"The genome of the European earwig has never been sequenced, you know."
"I hear the weather in North Dakota is nice at this time of year."

I'd hit it with a shoe, but since it (a.) has something to tell me, somehow and (b.) is totally incorporeal, this doesn't seem like much of a solution.


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