A couple of months ago, I had this terrible dream about this pair of bugs. Two nights in a row, same dream, same guilt upon waking. I’m reminded of this because Easter just passed and I think Jesus is a ridiculous concept. Anyway, around Easter. They sell those tiny egg-shaped chocolates that come wrapped in pastel-colored foil? The bugs in my dream were those exact colors.
Anyway. The dream started with the bug crawling on a wall in this room I’m in. The fucker started to grow in size, from an inch long to upwards of two-feet long. The now-immense bug migrated to the floor, started coming at me. So I picked up a broom or mop or something I don’t remember what it was, and I started striking and stabbing the thing repeatedly. I mean, I was terrified. While the bug was still on the wall, it was hissing a little, barely audible. But by the time I went homicidal on it, It started speaking to me in intelligible English! The sad bug was pleading for its life and spewing geysers of puss out of its head and thorax but I was in such a murderous frenzy, I couldn’t stop swinging at the thing.
I should have started this story by mentioning the fact that I am not a killer of animals. The jury is still out, but I’m pretty sure I value the lives of non-human animals a bit more than human animals. I’m guilty of eating some chicken here and there, and I do feel sad about that so I’m trying to quit. But yes, it’s not like me to kill a bug. When there are spiders crawling on me, I generally either let them go where they’re going or, at my worst, I will carefully flick it off of me so we can maintain a healthy distance. In fact, I once had an earwig crawl into my mouth while I was trying to go to sleep one night. All I did was spit it out into my hand and put it on the ground outside. So yes. Needless to say, I woke from the Bug Dream feeling more ashamed than I’d been in a long, long time.
I’m dyslexic, so I haven’t read a lot of books. I’ve been inspired though, the last six months, and so I’ve been trying more than ever. A classic author I’d always heard of, but never read, was Franz Kafka. I was in the library looking for new books to read (this was less than a month after the two nights of the Bug Dream) and I came across Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. I didn’t know anything about it, except that I’d heard of it before, and this was a short readable-to-my-scattered-dyslexic-brain kind of book. So I took it out and read it.
Anyway, yes I’m getting too wordy here.
Point is, I don’t know if I’ve ever been this affected by a hundred-page book before in my life. Gregor Samsa (I think that was his name, right?) was the most sympathy-worthy character I’d ever come across. Right from the beginning, I started tearing up with compassion for this pitiful bloke. I got toward the end of the book, where Gregor’s father is asserting his authority and starts throwing the apples, before I even reflected on my own Bug Dream. I think what I’m trying to get at is this:
Every life is fairly precious, regardless of whether or not we understand it. The way one thing lives may be quite different from anything we’re used to, but it’s really fucked up to ever disturb that way of life. Goes back to that whole thing about when you’re a kid and you’re crushing ants and/or ant hills. We as humans tend to feel/act superior to all other lives, but really… who’s to say we won’t wake up in a strange body some day?
So basically, I think if you want to assert your power over something else… beat on a child or a weak person or even a handicapped person, instead of picking on bugs and frogs and birds and stuff. Humans are not that cool, and we’re certainly not the end-all-be-all of existence or evolution. Or if you’re feeling truly righteous or you’re wanting to take on the challenges of “Survival of the Fittest” and show the animal kingdom just how tough we humans really are, try getting in a fist fight with a Bengal Tiger.