Monday, October 3, 2011

The Awesome Pet

The Awesome Pet: Japanese Beetle
October 2 was the first day the comic strip Peanuts was published. I know this because I often read The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. I was not always a fan of the strip, but I loved the Dolly Madison specials along with the great tunes. October 4, 1950, is the first day Snoopy appeared in the strip. Snoopy's imagination and attempts at writing greatly amused me, "It Was a Dark And Stormy Night." I read this (below) and felt a stab of pain for all the love Charles Schulz put into his characters:
On the evening of February 12th, 2000, Charles Schulz died at home in his sleep. The following day, the final Peanuts strip of all time ran in the papers, showing Snoopy atop his red doghouse, his typewriter in front of him, musing over a farewell letter from Schulz, who had written to say: 'I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost fifty years ... Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish Peanuts to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement ... Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how can I ever forget them.'
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
We have a new pet- a bug, a female Japanese rhinoceros beetle specifically. My husband captured it from our ceiling where it sat for several hours near a light fixture. He saved it for the munsters to see in the morning, and then, of course, we ended up at the pet store to buy food and a larger bug house. Kabutomushi are popular pets in Japan so it merely reflects yet another step toward going native. Still, I have bug issues so practicing tolerance is perhaps good for me. I mostly manage this because it burrows into the dirt by day and comes out to eat at night. It hangs onto a giant glob of bug food that looks like shiny brown jelly. You peel of the jelly wrapper, flip it onto a small lid, and viola, a happy bug.  You mist the soil from time to time, to insure the mushi doesn't dry out. The bug doesn't move fast and supposedly doesn't live long. I protested a bit, but my husband pronounced it, "The Awesome Pet!" There is no noise, no poop, and no vet bills to contend with, plus we got it for free. My heart palpates at the thought of, "What if it escapes?" "Oh, God, is it moving?" I don't want to see it move around- it is the movement that gives me the willies.