What would make a relatively sane woman act as if she is being eaten alive by a pack of rabid dogs? Why would she scream at a pitch that rattled the human ear causing people to run in from other rooms looking for a gunman? And why – after she’d calmed down to small hiccuping body shakes – would she 1) feel the need to apologize to all the jaw-dropped faces in the office and, 2) have an overwhelming urge to punch the guy who – just 30 seconds before – tried to insist she “don’t panic” and “just stand still.”
Well, because, Mr. It’s-Just-A-Bug, a PRAYING MANTIS WAS CRAWLING UP MY SLEEVE!!! I’ll admit, it wasn’t one of my finest moments in the newsroom – or in life. But A PRAYING MANTIS WAS CRAWLING UP MY SLEEVE. And while I’m sure the logical action to take is “don’t panic,” let’s be honest, I challenge even the most ardent bug lover to gently smile as a giant, twig-shaped bug with 5,253 legs and 152,643,175 eyes crawls up your leg and into your sleeve.
To understand what a praying mantis was doing in my sleeve, you must first understand what it was doing in the newsroom. On a typical day Mike, the security guy, catches any strange or creepy characters that come up to the Local 6 doors. Usually they are men wondering why one of the female reporters did not return his repeated voice messages professing his undying adoration. But on this day a certain insect of the mantidae species – despite falling under the obvious category of strange and creepy – walked right into the building. With Mike as his escort! That’s because Mike, being an animal lover, cannot distinguish between an adorable baby squirrel (which he showed us one morning as he nursed it back to health), and a man-eating insect the size of a small car. To Mike they are equally lovable; neither one is worthy of being pummeled into a sticky glob of mantis goo, and as he extended his hand to show his latest catch to Erick Weber and JR Stone I managed to – from a safe distance – snap a photo of the encounter. This apparently enraged the praying mantis which proceeded to fly (YES, they FLY) at me like a bullet, landing first on my leg then crawling up to my sleeve as I stood paralyzed with fear, screeching hysterically, and – with my last lucid thought – refusing to smash it because I didn’t want to feel it crunch.
The rest is a blur. Mike somehow got the mantis back, still in good shape with all it’s legs and eyes, and escorted it from the building. Now I’m writing this blog as therapy.
The only regret is from Erick and JR, who are kicking themselves for not having a camera ready.