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Post details: Introduction to Psychoentomology

Introduction to Psychoentomology

Insect does not usually come to mind when we ponder the subtle intricacies of psychological disorders. We don't fancy locusts being torn by existential issues and if we see a bug standing on a ledge just outside of our high rise hotel bedroom window, the chances are it is not going to jump off - unbearably haunted by memories of impoverished larvahood.

In the family of sciences, psychology - the science of mind, and entomology - the science of insect sit at the same table. But despite the universal cross disciplinary emphasis these days, the combined science of psychoentomology is yet to be born. And it is pretty obvious why. Insect is simple. Insects' ganglia just do not fold into those mysterious recesses where mind can go so terribly haywire. Or so I thought.

A friend of mine has never been to the Great Falls Park, so this weekend I took her for a short trip there. As is appropriate for a conversation with a young lady, we successfully avoided the subject of bees and butterflies, until the mysterious clockwork of kismet sneaked it right back on our conversational menu. I have never seen insect display such wide range of bizarre behavior as that afternoon on the banks of the Potomac River, and specimens of stalking butterflies and lascivious bees were at the forefront of it.

It was just behind an information kiosk, on a short trail leading to an overlook, that we nearly stumbled upon a Red Admiral resting on the ground with its wings tightly folded. That would not make for an entertaining picture, so I placed my palm in front of the butterfly (which, shockingly, did not fly away) and with the spreading motion of my thumb and index finger communicated to the primitive creature what it is to do with its wings. To the astonishment of my friend, it did. The wings opened to us their chromatic splendor. I felt like a Dr. Dolittle.

The butterfly was so enthralled having me as a personal wing trainer that when we took off it decided to tag along. At first it looked like a random flitting, but soon it became pretty clear - we were being stalked! I have always had a nagging suspicion that all that fluttering from one flower stalk to another gives butterflies all kinds of wrong ideas. But there it was, doggedly following us and demanding more wing exercise. What if it was going to trail me all the way to my place, I thought. In a state of incipient panic I started paging through consequences of having a finicky double wing for a roommate. How much time in the bathroom would it need in the morning? Should I pack my fridge with boxes of nectarine juice? And last but not least - the question most gravely weighing on my mind was: Do butterflies snore?

Fortunately, such concerns became moot, as we had managed to shake the clingy bugger off - a feat we deemed was worth celebrating by ingesting a well done hot dog. We were sitting comfortably on a large stone, fully focused on munching, when my friend put on a startled expression, clearly visible on the backdrop of a mild facial discoloration, and hurriedly tossed her hot dog aside, a telltale sign that either she just remembered that she forgot to turn her hot water faucet off or that some unauthorized life form was crawling up her leg. It was the latter.

After a brief hesitation, she rolled up her trousers with the precision of the cardiac surgeon and we found a jolly bee sauntering audaciously across her calf. Contrary to its instincts, however, the bee had no intention to use the sting. It turned out to be just a little bee pervert. Its mission was apparently confined to getting into my friend's pants, most likely due to some crazy and wild Bee Hive Sorority bet.

As we were pondering the best course of action, the bee was trying to look inconspicuous, like a little honey smuggler caught at the border by the Food and Drug Administration patrol and had the zoological order of Hymenoptera been blessed with better developed lips, it would have undoubtedly attempted to whistle. But my friend did not lose her composure. One flick and the intruder was making a beeline for reality. No harm, no foul. My slowly brewing urge to commit insecticide was abating.

So there. If you still think that the lack of vertebrae makes for dull behavioral patterns, go visit the Great Falls Park. You never know what crawling basket case you may discover under the nearest rock - maybe a schizophrenic ant, a centipede with a foot fetish or just a fly with the compulsive buzzing syndrome.


Comment from: GG [Visitor]

Loved this!! You are very talented! I think you should dump Mathmatics & concentrate on the writing!!
Permalink 07/05/09 @ 22:33

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