War of the Worlds

04 Aug

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  The cicadas are coming—they are coming, and they will arrive in my area in 2021 after a 17 year hiatus.  I’ll be 73 then—WTF!  God only knows how I’m going to handle them the next time around.   The last time they were here, I almost lost my mind, almost broke my leg after falling down my deck stairs while running from their attack against my body, almost got into a car accident, and almost went deaf at the sound of their horny cacophony.  Left to my own devices, I’ll probably break a hip fleeing from them in my garden and be eaten alive!

Image from||andersondesigngroup


By E.L. “Orson Wells” Tomczyk

I know now that I should have anticipated their arrival—should have felt them watching me beneath the ground—waiting, growing, and listening for the call from their leaders to break through the surface of the Earth and terrorize my very existence.   They had been here before in 1987 on a mating mission, but I lived near the ocean then where their kind cannot survive.  But I swear they swore to return—swore to attack me where I lived in the future.  What had I done to them to warrant such hatred, such scorn, such vitriol?

I know now that I was being watched by the aliens for my atrocities against the insect, reptile, and fish world.  In my naiveté, I foolishly thought that my experience with being able to squish a bug every now and then in my own home with a fly-swatter, or mutilate a snake here and there in my garden to keep from being bitten, or dispense with a half-dozen gold-fish in my aquarium because they were getting on my fucking nerves, made me an expert when it came to thwarting the invasion of a massive alien attack.  Hadn’t I helped kill a water moccasin underneath an azalea bush with my bare hands and whacked a coiled 5-ft black rat snake into oblivion, armed only with a fly-swatter and a yardstick?  Hadn’t I flushed Pokey and Ramona down the toilet when I could no longer stand being the only caretaker of the goddamn family fish tank that WW and the kids swore they’d be responsible for but quickly abandoned after two weeks?  Could I be blamed by the Universe for having told a little white lie to the children that Ramona had begged to be set free to return to her peeps down under the sea while we sang “born free” as the swirl took her down, down, down into that great waterway via the sewers, praying that Jesus would give her safe travels?  Would any adult, having walked in my shoes, really judge me when subsequently the last living goldfish (Pokey) in our algae covered aquarium that everyone refused to clean, “ran away” to be with Ramona in her love-sea nest beneath the toilet seat?   Apparently, the Universe could forgive me, but “billions of black, shrimp-size bugs with transparent wings and red beady eyes” could not.  They saw what I did, they knew where I lived, and they swore I would pay.

Cicada Brood X|Image by

That night in May of 2004 was like any spring night when the cold-hearted beasts began to emerge.  My hibiscuses were flourishing, my petunias were springing, and my roses were impeccable.  We had had some warning about the subsequent invasion, but like all pre-war attacks, my area treated it like it would be a game and no big deal.  After all, we were the humans—they were simply insects.  How hard would it be to keep them under control?  And then they began to emerge in the night.  Thousands upon thousands of them came up through my lawn, poking their heads up from the soil in the dead of night, crawling up everything that was vertical until they reached the tops of the tallest object in their path (bar-b-que grills, walls, decks, and trees).  Here’s what I have discovered about nature:  5 bugs are a nuisance, thousands of bugs is a horror story!

This is a swarm of locusts, not cicadas, but it best illustrates what the cicadas looked like on the trees surrounding my house|Image from

Oh God, the horror!  They crawled to the top of the highest trees, singing their love song in one accord as they searched for a mate before their cycle of death within the 24 hour period.  As they flew from tree top to tree top, they blocked out the sun, and as they screamed their high-pitched love song, no conversation could be heard for miles around.  I hid in my house as much as I could, using an umbrella and hats with veils when I needed to venture out to water the garden or run an errand.  Many times they flew right at me and when I swatted them with my umbrella their high-pitched screams were otherworldly.   My method of getting to and from the car when I went to work was to run like hell and zig and zag in the hopes that I would make them dizzy, only to be driving down the highway after getting gas one day, hearing the “ZZZZZZ” buzz of their wings and having two of them (one perched on my left ear and one zip-lining down my bangs) crawl toward my left eye and smile in unison.  As my car ran off the road toward the ditch, all three of us let out bloodcurdling screams as I shouted “Jesus, take the wheel” six years before that title ever entered Carrie Underwood’s brain.  What kind of arch nemesis was this?  What purpose on Earth could God have created them for?  Where could I run and hide from this insanity?

And then something bizarre began to happen:  the alien dudes sang, the females responded by twitching their wings, the male and female cicadas did the “wild thing,” and then the dudes keeled over and died, falling by the thousands out of the sky.  While the putrid rotting flesh of the male cicadas piled up in heaps on the ground, females laid 600 eggs or so per invader into the slit branches of our best trees leaving behind scores of dead
limbs while the females soon followed their lovers to their graves.   I am told that 6 weeks later the “nymphs”
crawled down the trees and into the ground to feast on tree roots until 2021 when Brood X will take their revenge on other unsuspecting humans.  It scares me to think of them underground as I garden, waiting, growing, and planning their invasion.

Cicadas mating|image from

One morning we woke up and there was silence.  As my neighbors and I wandered outside in sheer wonderment and began to shovel up mountains of rotting cicada carcasses, in between holding our noses and vomiting, we told tall tales of the invaders that were both uproarious and horrifying.  When we regaled each other about our cicada invasion survival, we were neither black nor white, Indian or Arab, gay nor straight, female nor male.  We were simply the survivors of the “war of the worlds” between the Cicadas and our neighborhood, and we helped each other clean up the mess.

Primed and ready to go||image from

I am discovering that there is a hell of a lot of things coming down the pike that we know nothing about that the “cicada invasion” is a euphemism for, and we will only be able to get through the mayhem if we hang tough together.

We are currently being attacked by what I’ve dubbed the “Brood Y-Insanity/Chick-fil-A” invasion.  Guess what?  I am a “born-again Christian,” and I don’t agree with Mr. Cathy’s viewpoint on gay marriage, BUT he has right to say what he wants to say and spend his money how he wants to spend it.  I have a right not to patronize Mr. Cathy’s restaurant along with others who think his ideology is not biblical or even human.  However, IMHO the mayors of San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago ought to be ashamed and held accountable.  They were grandstanding—it cost them nothing to showboat their support of gay marriage while whipping up an invasion of protest against the Chick-fil-A restaurants.  They cannot keep out a legitimate business from their boundaries—period!  It’s unconstitutional.  The self-serving Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum were also showboating with their rallying call for the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.  They knew exactly the message of hate they were whipping up with a portion of self-righteous, Christian-fascists within the Church (not everybody who calls themselves Christian fit this description so don’t harass me, a Christian, with your hate mail) who could so easily delude themselves into thinking they were protecting God’s honor while gorging themselves on chicken.   (I agree with the columnist who wondered how many of them donated their chicken sandwiches to the starving people in their cities—I’m just askin’?).  Other bloggers have said and I concur, Christians who participated in this chicken appreciation day will someday come to regret this empty gesture much as many have come to regret their intransient stance during the civil rights movement (God, I can only hope and pray).

And to my Gay and Lesbian sisters and brothers, you did not help your cause by falling into the stereotypes that the Christian-fascists have painted of you with the chicken kiss-in.   Huckabee and Santorum baited you and you bit, dog-gone-it.  And no, this is not the same as when my peeps and I couldn’t eat at the Woolworths counter in the 60s (we couldn’t eat anywhere), or drink from water fountains, or swim in pools, or live in decent neighborhoods, or go to the same schools where whites existed.  The day Chick-fil-A stops you and yours from working or eating in their restaurants, I’ll be the first to pick up a protest sign on your behalf.

Gabby Douglas|Image from

And speaking of my peeps, I’ve got a bone to pick with some of them about the “Brood Z-Nappy Hair Invasion” that has descended upon Gabby Douglas from SOME of the short-sighted, vain brothers and sisters from the black community.  (My white sisters and brothers, you might want to skip to the cartoon below because this has nothing to do with you—you’re totally innocent—and what I have to say is not going to be pretty.) 

Okay, my Peeps :  WHAT THE FUCK!  WHAT THE FUCK!!   Sixteen-year-old Gabby Douglas, with a smile that could light up the darkest room, is one of only a handful of African-Americans who has ever been able to compete in the Olympic Games, and she is the first African-American woman to take “all around gold” for her individual title.  AND she is a superb representative of her country as well as our race.  She will grace the covers of Time, Sports Illustrated, and multiple branding deals making millions of dollars—more than your sorry-ass couch-potatoes could ever dream of in ten lifetimes.  But after accomplishing something none of her critics could ever do, the focal point on social media and comments to stories about her brilliance is criticism about her “nappy hair” (TRANSLATION FOR MY WHITE READERS WHO DIDN’T OBEY ME AND ARE READING ALONG:  hair around the edges of the scalp resorting back to its African roots of really tight curls due to the copious sweat from extreme heat and exertion [rent Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” for more details].)

Oh God . . . oh my God:  Martin, Malcolm, and Medgar are rolling over in their graves!  All those who posted this crap online—shame on your own nappy-headed ignorant minds!


Here’s the deal America:  “United we stand, divided we fall.”  Gay marriage, chicken sandwiches, a misguided old man, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Republicans or Democrats, nappy heads or not—these are not the issues that will destroy us—being unable to love our neighbor or to focus on the majors rather than the minors are the things that will eventually tank our country from within.  When our love for each other truly grows cold—like the man who shot his neighbor in the face the other day out of spite and was surprised when he got arrested but immediately declared his hatefulness to the police, “What’s the deal; I only shot a Ni@@er?”—we, as Americans, are sitting ducks for an “alcicada” soul invasion in the making.  Peace!

Nick Anderson|image from Houston Chronicle

“The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”—James Baldwin

 “We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.


Thanks to (“Cicada Invasion Begins: Eastern U.S. Beset by Bugs”)  for their wonderful education on cicadea or cicadias.  All definitive quotes about this amazing creature are to be attributed to them.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized


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20 responses to “War of the Worlds

  1. momshieb

    August 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Even though I know you’re right about the mayors, I was pretty pleased with old Mayor Menino. He is the last guy in the world to grandstand, and he doesn’t need to get any good press to keep himself in power here. I saw an interview where he said, “It just made me mad, and I reacted. I know I can’t keep them out, but it was wrong and I reacted.” Gotta love the guy.
    As for the cicadas….well, yuck! I had no idea how creepy that could be!

    • etomczyk

      August 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Momshieb. Well, I probably painted too broad a brush with all the mayors. I was mainly focusing on Rahm Emmanuel from Chicago. The crime in Chicago is off the chain and most of it is due to drugs and guns and a crappy educational system. He needs to spend every waking moment saving the lives of little poor kids in Chicago or he is not going to have a city to bar anybody from. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll visit you tomorrow. This post exhausted me. Cheers!

      • momshieb

        August 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        Cheers to you! I agree with your position, I truly do. Get a problem, Mayors, get to work! Its just that, as a speech therapist, I have a really soft spot for “Mumbles Menino”! Have a good night!

  2. Elyse

    August 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Oh, Eleanor, I nearly had to just click off this post because of those damn bugs. I hate them. Hate hate hate hate hate. They were out here in 1986, the year I bought my first house. The year I was married. The year I could not walk up the walkway to my new house without crunching hundreds of those damn bugs under my feet. It was horrible.

    Like Moms, I think the Mayor of Boston was refreshing. Yes, business owners are entitled to be bigots. But we don’t have to encourage them. I am tired, sick and tired of these business owners, among others, feeling like I need to know what they think, who they hate. I don’t.

    Plus their chicken is horrible.

    • etomczyk

      August 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      Elyse. Weren’t they just awful! I forgot about stepping on them–yuck! All I kept saying was “why”? Why do we need these creatures?

      I agree with you about the hateful agendas of business owners, but I think there are a lot more than we realize that could care less about the public they serve, they just keep it under wraps. What could be more evil than the banks who took advantage of the under-served population with bad mortgages, or Enron, or Bernie Maddoff. . .you get my drift. The irony about the man who founded Chic-fil-A is that he has built orphanages all over the world and provided a great number of scholarships for needy children. Which just shows that the human heart is complicated, to say the least. Thanks for reading and commenting. I always love your comments.

  3. imagesbytdashfield

    August 5, 2012 at 3:39 am

    You just had to show the cicadas getting their buggy phreak on, didn’t you? LOL Frankly I think everyone has lost that last damn marble lately and the forecast doesn’t look like many of them will be retrieved. Everyone has a right to their own opinion about who marries who, etc. And you have your right to support a business or not. Frankly I’m tired of it all. And as for sweetie pie Gabby? I say get a life people – haters are going to hate (it means you are doing your thang splendidly) Gabby has, is, and will continue to do just fine in spite of trifling fools. Go on and dust that dirt off your shoulder, baby girl! And I dare some of those cretins to post pictures of their heads after doing a serious workout. Do not get me started on threads and tracks showing on some of them.

    • etomczyk

      August 6, 2012 at 5:36 am

      TD: LOL! I couldn’t believe it when I found that picture of the cicadas doing “the wild thing.” I’ve got to tell you, TD, that experience was an Alfred Hitchcock movie if ever there was one. Had he been alive, he would have made this movie and it would have made “The Birds” look like child’s play. Some people left town and went west. I just might do that in 2021.

      And I so agree with you about “getting tired” of it all. I want to send out broadcast emails across the land that say: “Does not all of our blood run red, people? Which means underneath we are all the same, so let’s all try extra hard to get along and give each other the grace to exist, for God’s sake.” As to the critics of Gabby: I think this is a prime example that there are some issues and attitudes in our community that we need to adjust because we are one race that can’t afford that type of superficiality. I think we’ve been watching too much Housewives of Atlanta and thinking that is real life. Thanks for stopping by!

      • imagesbytdashfield

        August 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

        ps. I am no fan of bugs either. One year the June bugs were so bad you would go outside at night and feel like somebody was throwing little rocks at your head. YUCK!!

  4. Hudson Howl

    August 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Pest, pest, pest, they’re everywhere. But, those from nature I consider more as annoyance then pest. Mankind has the dubious distinction of being the biggest ‘pest’ if not the only pest on the earth dog’s back. You’ve scratched some of the itches here in this one. One thing for certain, you will never run out material, there are has to be a trillion of fleas laying in furry places. Keep scratch’n you bring us relief from our own self made pestilence -I hope you realize that.

    • etomczyk

      August 6, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Thanks Hudson. I so appreciate your comment because “bringing relief from or own self-made pestilence” is exactly why I started writing this blog. Speaking of blogs, when are you going to be up and running again? I miss your work. Cheers!

  5. becomingcliche

    August 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I found a cicada exoskeleton clinging to the wall of my husband’s tire. That was a little creepy.

    • etomczyk

      August 6, 2012 at 5:42 am

      BC: Those are normal cicadas. We have those all the time throughout the year. Brood X is an entirely different animal. They are the stuff of nightmares. I swear I’m thinking of leaving town and going out West if I’m alive the next time (but then I’ll probably get caught in an earthquake or an invasion of locusts or something). Yikes!

  6. aFrankAngle

    August 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Good morning E-Tom,
    As i have come to expect, I appreciate the way you have taken many to task here. For instance, take the chicken … you thumped both Sanorum/Huckabee and the mayor. Amen to that. As for as Gabby, I hope her smile leads to a bright future because she’s young, and I don’t want her to fall.

    Meanwhile, thanks for the cicadas.

    • etomczyk

      August 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Hi Frank. I’ve scewered everybody because we all have fallen short in this campaign of “why can’t we all just get along” without the posturing and the manipulation. I am amazed that we’re not getting the “United” part of the States of America.

      Thanks for reading and commenting as always.

  7. composerinthegarden

    August 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Amen and amen! As for the cicadas, we never had the big X type here, which is just as well, as I would hate to hate them. I love the sound of the cicadas in the trees all around our house, the sound of August. At night, the tree frogs join in and it is concert time all night long, my own surround sound white noise generator for deep peaceful sleep 🙂

    • etomczyk

      August 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Lynn: Yes, I used to like an occassional cicada sound and casing clinging to my house but Brood X is a whole different ballgame. The cicadas that are here all the time don’t dive bomb me and don’t darken the sky because there are so many of them. Not only couldn’t you talk or garden during that time period but you couldn’t sleep either. It’s like one or two ravens are cool and poetic, but the other day I looked out my window at work onto the balcony, and there must have been 60 huge ravens sitting all in a row on every available ledge they could find. That, my friend, is no longer “coolness” that is an Alfred Hitchcock movie! Yikes!

  8. Lindy Lee

    August 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Have yet to experience a cicada invasion but roaches, mosquitos & fleas leave me wondering where their actual place is in the scheme of things. Far as I can determine, they serve no useful purpose & the whole world would be better off without them. Furthermore, there must be some validity to reincarnation because those creatures I just mentioned do seem to exist in the form of some two-legged disgusting varmints walking this earth today in 2012…

    • etomczyk

      August 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Lindy. You’ve named the three other insects, except maybe an invastion of spiders, that I wouldn’t want to deal with. Yuck!

      You might have a point about the insect invaders morphing into human varmints. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  9. Kirsten

    August 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Yes, friend, yes! Well told. I’m with you on all of the above.

    • etomczyk

      August 10, 2012 at 1:54 am

      Hello Mama Fatz: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my blog this week and to comment. You’re such a wonderful, encouraging “fan.” All the best.


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