The Bug that Wouldn't Die

My seventh grade life science teacher, Mr. Edwards, announced that we had to do a bug collection for a major part of our fourth quarter grade. After class, I walked up to him and said, “I’m not doing a bug collection.”

He said, “Yes, you are. Because if you don’t, you’re going to fail my class.”

I wasn’t so rude as to argue with the man, but I knew that the threat of an “F” wasn’t enough to motivate me to deal with some bugs.

One day, Mr. Edwards took the class to the woods near the school for a bug catching excursion. My classmates brought their butterfly nets, jars and other bug catching paraphernalia. I arrived empty-handed because I was not doing a bug collection.

Mr. Edwards pulled me to the side and somehow talked to me about "at least trying to collect one bug".

I finally agreed. However, I did not realize that every creepy, crawly thing and all buzzing, flying vermin would take that opportunity to introduce themselves to me.

At any rate, I ended up in tears, and I never did that bug collection. (I didn’t fail the class, either. I’m guessing Mr. Edwards felt bad because I ended up crying after he talked me into trying to catch a stupid bug.)

Fast forward twenty (or so) years, and I still don’t like bugs. In fact, I’m still afraid of them. If I so much as think a bug is crawling on me, I’m swatting away. I nearly lost control of my car a while back because a bug flew in, buzzed around my head, and wouldn’t leave me alone.

One summer day a few years ago, I went to visit my friend, Nia, at her office. While we chatted, her phone rang. As soon as she picked up the receiver, I noticed a long, black bug slowly crawling across the carpet headed straight for me. I’m not sure where it came from or why it was so intent on getting over to me, but I couldn’t help but think back to the woods in seventh grade.

I calmly said, “Nia, there’s a bug in your office.”

She must have not heard me because she simply continued her conversation.

This time, I was a little more urgent. “Nia, there’s a bug, and it’s coming toward me.”

Now, I know that I was at least a hundred times larger than that thing, but I was still intimidated…nobody ever said that fear is rational.

I slowly got up and backed toward the corner. I didn’t want to make any sudden movements that would cause that thing to jump. I know it sounds completely unreasonably, but when you’re afraid of bugs, you’re afraid of bugs. And as I have already stated, fear is not rational.

“Hang on,” Nia said. She set the phone down and walked around to the front of her desk. “Oh, we get these all the time in the summer.”

I was impressed with her calmness. “What is it?” (I'd never seen anything like it. It looked like a cross between a beetle and a centipede. I know what you're thinking: if she'd had done that bug collection way back when, she wouldn't have had to ask.)

Nia shrugged. “Not exactly sure.” (Guess she didn't do a bug collection, either.) She got some tissue and used it to place her hand on the creature.

I was appalled and disgusted. “You’re touching it!”

Then she stepped on the thing and all we heard was, “CCRUNCHH!!”

“EWWWW!” we screamed in unison, and I followed up with, “You CRUNCHED it!”

After the deed was done, Nia returned to her chair and resumed her phone conversation.

Since I felt safe again, I headed back to my original spot, which was extremely closed to the deceased insect.

Next thing I know, the tissue flies off and bug starts heading for me again. (Not even kidding.)

At that point, both Nia and I screamed at the top of our lungs. The “dead” bug was dead no longer.


That bug was on my mind for a couple of days after the incident. I didn’t have nightmares or anything like that, but I kept thinking about how it refused to die.

I hate having to admit this, but I actually started to admire the thing. I found myself wishing I could be a little more like that bug. In fact – at the risk of sounding offensive – I think all of us should pattern our lives after that bug.

Humans are amazing – no matter the age, social status, ethnic background or upbringing. They are full of hope, dreams, goals and ambitions. They get ideas in their heads and nothing can stop them…until someone comes along to kill their hopes, squash their dreams, destroy their goals and eradicate their ambitions. Even the strongest, most confident person begins to live in fear and doubt if that individual is assaulted by naysayers and others who are prone to point out the negative.

In a room full of 100 people, there’s a chance that a vast number of those folks aren’t living out their full potential. They aren’t being everything they imagined they could be or doing all that they set out to do. Why? Because someone else came along and killed their dream.

Maybe that dream killer thought they had their friend’s best interest at heart, but they were really operating out of fear. Just as fear led Nia to kill the bug on my behalf (or at least try to), fear causes others to kill the dreams in their loved ones’ lives.

That’s why people should be more like the bug. That bug simply refused to die. It was crunched and left for dead. There were no signs life and perfect harmony had been restored to me – or at least to Nia’s office. Maybe when we thought it was dead, the bug was catching a second wind and somehow healing itself.

The point I’m trying to make is this: no matter what assaults us and no matter who is trying to shatter our dreams, we should be like that bug and come back with a vengeance. We might need to take a little time to recuperate after being bruised a bit, but once we've gotten it all together again, we should be like that bug and refuse to let our dreams die.

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Comments 8 comments

MrMaranatha profile image

MrMaranatha 4 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

I got me a neat toy downtown.. Its like a Tennis Racket but it is electric... like one of those old Bug Zappers that we used to hang outside at night in the summer... its great for killing mosquitos and flies... or anything else Bug related for that matter... Its rechargable... I recommend you get one and confront your fears... actually... I think you will start to enjoy your therapy:-)

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York

Poor little bug :( I love every bug in existence. I have roaches a spider and a giant centipede. I was expecting to criticize this hub but at least you showed them some appreciation. Nice message but I'm guessing the poor little buggie did not fare well after its reincarnation. I also relate to them a lot, although when I get stepped on, I tend to stay down, like them. I guess that's why I'm fated to love what everyone hates.

Georgie Lowery profile image

Georgie Lowery 4 years ago from Slaton, Texas USA

I sometimes say 'that which doesn't kill me had better run because, when I get up, I'm coming for it.' Kinda like that bug. I really enjoyed reading this Hub, it went in a direction that I didn't expect it to and I appreciated that.

Cherrietgee profile image

Cherrietgee 4 years ago from Illinois Author


You are one brave soul. I think you're onto something when you say that you might have an affinity for insects because you tend to stay down when crushed like they do. Maybe the bug in this hub can inspire you to keep going the next time.

Cherrietgee profile image

Cherrietgee 4 years ago from Illinois Author


Thanks for reading. The whole experience took me by surprise, so I had to share it.

Cherrietgee profile image

Cherrietgee 4 years ago from Illinois Author


Thanks for the advice...and for reading!

Susan Nelson 4 years ago

What you missed entirely was not the lesson about people and their lives.....but what a pathetic species we are to overlook the right to life and harmony that other species have.

It was not the humans who were amazing in your piece, but this incredible insect that crushed, broken, dying....was still trying to LIVE.

From a species that has survived hundreds of millions of years, despite the loathing of humans in your case, in the last moments of life and could think about was YOU.

Reread your story and substitute the insects for fellow humans.

We are so species-centric. All I have to say about the author and her narcissistic perspective is....EWWWWWWW

Cherrietgee profile image

Cherrietgee 4 years ago from Illinois Author


Thanks so much for reading....although you seemed to have missed the point entirely. It appears that you only read the opening section and stopped there. Had you read on, you would have seen that I learned an important lesson from the bug my friend attempted to kill on my behalf.

Additionlly, there seems to be confusion about the meaning of the word "narcissitic". The word actually has to do with people having an "undue fascination with themselves" and being "vain". My selection was about fear (albeit irrational) of bugs, not being fasincated with myself or being vain.

I want to encourage you to read the article again...from start to finish this time. You might find that I actually looked up the bug and admired its resiliency.

I know you're a guest on HubPages, but for future reference, this really isn't a forum for attacking or insulting people. There's generally an agree to disagree attitude, here. The beauty about all of us is that we have the freedom to write what we want and voice our opinions on our own websites.

Thanks again!

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