The Hunger Games: Catching FireBugs


This spring two of my friends made a hypothetical Hunger Games.  Given that I am on the fringe of their friend group, I suspect I was included primarily to help their hypothetical Games reach 24 contestants.  During the Games, fringe-lurker that I am most definitely when I hang out with their group, I hung out in a tree while the rest of the now former friends battled it out in the arena.  Eventually only one other contestant remained.  I dropped something on him from my tree post and won.

Lately I have had some Katniss Everdeen meets the Incredible Hulk moments when it comes to bugs.  This weekend I trapped a centipede under a rug and then jumped on the rug to kill it.  Tonight I hunted a giant, flying cricket throughout my room until I finally squished it with a hand weight.  I simply am not as afraid of bugs as many people I know.

My classy, indoorsy brother and his classy, indoorsy girlfriend bore witness to the Mexican jumping bean routine I did to kill the aforementioned centipede.  I was kind of embarrassed.  Wouldn’t you be?  I suspect the only other beings known to do this are Bear Grylls and my cat.

I will leave the snacking to you, Bear.

Nonetheless, in an effort to make this less of a useless, gross narrative, I will share with you the bug hunting skills I learned as a jungle lady in Costa Rica.  Truthfully, I lived in a nice little house in the city, but saying that I was a jungle lady sounds more impressive.  The iPhone-sized cockroaches in my nice little city house were undeniably impressive.  Maybe you can pick up a thing or two from my bug hunting style.

First, a hard-soled shoe is your best weapon.  A shoe is a great tool because it is easy to hold, easy to wield, and both heavy enough and of a large enough surface area to get the bug.  Aim for the bug and swing the shoe like you mean it.  This is not the time to act like a dainty lady.

Second, if you catch a bug in a wad of toilet paper, flush it down the toilet.  You do not want it crawling back out of the trash can.

Third, prevention is key.  Make an effort to keep your living space a place where bugs do not want to hang out.  Holes in the screen, crumbs on the floor, dust in the corners all attract bugs yet are preventable.

That said, I have a slightly unorthodox view on killing bugs: if it is not likely to hurt you, you probably do not need to kill it.  I feel bad when I kill bugs, so sometimes I let them run along on their merry way.  Killing anything, bugs included, for sport and sport alone saddens me.  I think Katniss Everdeen would probably think the same way.