The Rude and Uninvited Guest


When you move to Arizona, you never think about crickets. Not at first, anyway.

Once in awhile, a bold cricket will barge into our house without permission.

This happened the other day. A rude and uninvited cricket ascended my bookshelf, which is a rather tall bookshelf that reaches almost to the ceiling. Once the cricket made it to the top, with the assistance of a harness and nylon rope, it yodeled oh-lay-dee-hooo and hollered “I’m king of the mountain” to see if it could hear an echo.


top of bookshelf

The cricket camped out and sang inside the shelf’s corbel.

Then he got down to business and began chirping his heart out. Chirr, chirr, chirr-pity-chirr, chirr, chirr….CHIRRR, CHIRRR…

Stop! Stop! I can’t listen one second longer to that chirping. I had to find the inconsiderate cricket and evict him immediately. I dragged Jerry’s yellow ladder from the garage and into my office. I bravely climbed up so I could see the top of my bookshelf. Aha! I spotted two antennas protruding from the bookshelf’s corbel.

I had no idea how to remove the cricket as he had stationed himself inside a tiny cubby hole.

What to do?

Do what I always do when perplexed. I called Jerry for assistance.

You could almost hear the Mighty Mouse music playing, “Here I come to save the day!” as Jerry entered my office and flew into action. And by the way,¬† for those of you unfamiliar with Mighty Mouse, he’s a buff mouse with muscles and a Superman-like cape. He starred in cartoons throughout my childhood. Mighty Mouse rescues people in distress.

Mighty Jerry scrambled up the ladder and took a glance at our noisy little intruder, who had shut up by this time to confuse us of his whereabouts.

Jerry pulled one of my books, The Traveler’s Phrase Book, off the bookshelf and placed it over the cubby hole in the corbel.

books on shelf

This is where the phrase book rested for years, serving no useful purpose than decoration.

“That cricket isn’t going anywhere and he’ll be quiet now.”

Jerry thought this a “teaching” moment as well and gave me a short science lesson. “A male cricket chirps because he’s calling out to a female cricket. It’s his mating call.”

What! You mean a female cricket hears the chirping on top of a tall bookshelf and calls out, “Here I come Big Boy,” and then she scales the shelf with her own ropes and harness?

I never heard from the amorous cricket again. The book seemed to do the trick. As time wore on, I started to worry about him. I googled “how long can a cricket live without food.” Answer: a week. ¬†Guilt set in. I couldn’t stand the thought of a cricket dying of starvation on my account. Teeter-tottering at the top of the ladder, and bravely I might add, I lifted the book and peered inside. No cricket. What is this? A Houdini cricket?

Later that day, a cricket lazily strolled by the bathtub. Are you my Houdini cricket? Or are you another uninvited, rude guest? Are you the female cricket searching for your Romeo? I’m sure crickets can tell the difference among themselves, but they look so much alike to me, I didn’t know who’s who.

I took a paper towel and gently picked the cricket up and took it outside. It jauntily hopped away.

Now our house is cricket free and I’m looking at The Traveler’s Phrase Book, which I bought prior to our trip to the Mediterranean. I had hoped it would assist me in asking about a public restroom in the language of the country I visited. Perhaps give me survival tips on how to say in Italian, “Please don’t run over me with your Vespa” because the Vespas have very aggressive drivers. Although I hauled the phrase book overseas, I never used it. Not even once. Just about everyone spoke some, if not fluent, English. I lugged the book home and it has served no purpose whatsoever since that time.

Until the other day when the book rose to the occasion, and with Mighty Jerry’s help, saved the day.

Jiminy Cricket

Disney made Jiminy Cricket famous as the fictional character serving as Pinocchio’s conscience. I blame Disney for my guilt.

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