Pious Lepisma Saccharina
When I opened the so-called “storm” door, this punk-kid stepped up onto the front stoop and reached out to shake my hand. I shook it. Yes, my hand was sanitized; his was likely not. Recapitulating: I was sleepy. I was caught unawares. I was eager to get rid of him. So I shook his hand. Germs and all. Initial observation: Weak grip. His, not mine. (Wasn’t clammy, though. As a lad, I suffered greatly from chronic clammy palms. Now, middle-aged, or thereabouts, I am clammy no more.) Should you ever shake my hand, I will take great pains to match the firmness or intensity of your grip. Some people will take great pains to exceed the amount of pressure you apply during a handshake. I am more considerate. That makes me a better man. Back to the punk. I cannot recall if he spoke before offering his hand, or while we engaged in the handshake, or after the shaking ritual had run its course. I very much doubt we stood there and shook (hands) in silence. One moment, please: I must remove Pop’s big blue comforter from the washer and relocate it to the dryer. These machines are downstairs--down two flights of stairs, to be precise, as I am on the second floor; and if I should trip and snap my neck or break a leg or stub a toe in my haste either to get down there or return to my chilly little garret up here (where the windows are filthy and cracked and the paint is peeling off the walls--which is fine because I despise the color--pink or peach), you should know that mine is a self-imposed poverty; and, please, fret not, for my tale of the Punk On The Stoop is an anti-climatic one; in sooth, it is hardly worth telling, which could be why I have such difficulty telling it--that is, all the way through without digressing; but, as the incomparable Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in his Letters To A Young Poet: “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” SO THERE! And, lookie here: I have, evidentially, survived the peregrination to and from the bowels of this house. True, this recent descent/ascent fails to meet Merriam-Webster’s criteria for an actual peregrination (that is, “an excursion especially on foot or to a foreign country”); and yet, all of the spiders, millipedes and silverfish that, at times too many, creep out to greet me from the walls of my dingy little garret, would beg to differ--if they could. Dogs beg, insects do not--or, at least, dogs are more proficient at begging--and that, sir, or madam, is the real reason as to why bugs of all flavors are universally despised. But soft! Note the cutesy mating dance of the silverfish (courtesy of Wikipedia):
The reproduction of silverfish is preceded by a ritual involving three phases, which may last over half an hour. In the first phase, the male and female stand face to face, their trembling antennae touching, then repeatedly back off and return to this position. In the second phase the male runs away and the female chases him. In the third phase the male and female stand side by side and head-to-tail, with the male vibrating his tail against the female. Finally, the male lays a spermatophore, a sperm capsule covered in gossamer, which the female takes into her body via her ovipositor to fertilise the eggs.
What rubbish! I know nothing of entomology, but this, above, is too fantastic to be believed! What could a female, of any species, see in a male that flees from her? This is, of course, assuming that the male silverfish is not the inspiration for the modern-day pickup artist. Yes, possibly, very possibly, male silverfish engage in what is often called, in PUA parlance, “negging.” But this is very doubtful. They’re stupid little bugs; they don’t have time for mind games. I’m too busy squishing them. Then again, some higher, incomprehensible intelligence has, conceivably, reached the very same conclusion about all of Humanity; and it, too, may be too busy squishing us (with blizzards and cyclones and such) to consider our thoughts on the matter (whichever matter comes to mind). Extending this logic to its logical conclusion: I, to a silverfish, am God. This consideration, I must admit, is quite a boost to my ego. All this time I believed myself a freak. A loser. The poster-boy for failure. But no… I am enraptured by the revelation that while I snore tonight, the thousands of silverfish creeping through my walls and over my carpet are whispering their prayers... to me! They are begging me for salvation in their own silverfishy ways even now. All the same, tomorrow morning, when I open my eyes to rise and shine, I’ll remorselessly squish every one that I spot. Ah… There’s a little bugger now… That’s right, my slippery little acolyte, there are no atheists in fox--rather, under the weight of my crushing thumb! Hold still! I cannot properly flatten you until I have splattered you with Purell! Relax! It Contains aloe and vitamin E!