OPTIONAL HOMEWORK FOR THE SUMMER BREAK – BUGS.
BUG: common name for any kind of insect, popular name for a bacterium or virus, a small hidden microphone, a fault in a machine or computer programme which stops it working properly.
What bugs you? Have you ever suffered a bug attack?
One of our members was absent recently because she had a flu bug. It really bugged her as she was looking forward to reading her article on dragonflies for the Entomologists’ Monthly Magazine. However, a shy new member made up for this by reading his creepy crawly science fiction story despite having butterflies in his stomach.
At coffee break we were to have jam tarts instead of biscuits but a wasp stung the tea volunteer’s hand while trying to help itself to the raspberry jam.
A member who loves gardening offered to make egg, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches, but a rampaging mob of caterpillars marched, line abreast, onto his allotment and scoffed all his lettuce.
Stop Press: A committee member was not happy to read in the Newer Scientist that a plague of Ladybirds with fourteen spots had sneaked over here in a lorry from Calais and was attacking the lesser spotted British ladybird, which is a much more friendly, gentle species.
Of course not all bugs are harmful; ladybirds eat greenflies, which pleases horticulturists, and some, like butterflies, are very pretty. In some countries they are even considered to be quite tasty fried in butter with a little pepper and salt added to taste.
Your story could have a sting in its tail, as do some bugs. Your hero may be a spy, putting bugs behind the pictures and under the coffee tables in a foreign Embassy, to listen to their military secrets. Or your main character may be researching a killer bacteria bug and discover a fantastic anti-biotic during his studies, which puts it in its place.
So just buzz off on your summer holiday and have fun writing a short story, an article, a poem, or maybe a monologue - no more than 1200 words please, on almost anything you like provided it has a buggish connotation.
And don’t forget HUMBUGS.
Some quotations from years gone by:
Isaac Watts 1674 – 1748
doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
Edward Lear 1812 – 1888
was an old man in a tree
Who was horribly bored by a bee
When they said “Does it buzz?”
He replied “Yes it does!
It’s a regular brute of a bee.
Samuel Johnson 1709 – 1784
Sir, may sting a stately horse, and make him wince;
But one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.
William Blake 1757 – 1827
caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief
Kill not the moth nor butterfly
For the last judgement draweth nigh.
Edmunde Burke1729 – 1797
Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British Oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shrivelled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.
The Bible: (Joel)
I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I have sent among you.