Question • What’s the last thing to go through a bug’s mind when it hits your windshield?
Answer • Its butt.
Like much good humor, this joke is a bit off-color and not entirely accurate. Everyone knows that while science has proved bugs have butts, no one has proved that bugs have much of a mind. Since bugs never look both ways crossing a highway, chances are that they don’t.
I find this particular joke funny even though it represents one of my greatest personal aggravations: summertime bug goo on my truck’s windshield.
On Saturday, I went for a drive. I was motoring along when a bug about the size of a small watermelon slammed into my windshield. Feelers, legs and bug jam went everywhere, ruining a two-hour wash and wax job.
I felt like suing the state. Hey, the last time I hit a deer, state officials insisted that they owned it and valued it at $400. So how come they don’t own the bugs?
According to the National Council of Bug Safety and Awareness, approximately 18.7 billion bugs get hit by traffic every five minutes during the average summer day in this country. In fact, America is the only country where traffic is the leading cause of insect deaths.
This is true largely because America has more cars per capita than any other nation, particularly countries where the leading cause of bug deaths is artillery fire or malnutrition.
It’s not the only reason, of course. In many developing nations, going head to head with speeding traffic is not considered a serious threat to bugs, many of which are so big that sometimes the vehicles lose.
In America, the bug never loses — even when it gets drilled by a semi-truck. See, even though the bug is the one getting creamed, the person inside the vehicle always feels the worst about it. My sister once cried for 100 miles because our dad hit a butterfly with the car.
It’s usually the driver who feels bad. That’s because the driver has to scrub the remains off the windshield after they have dried to the consistency of super glue. The bug never feels badly because a) it has no brain, to speak of, and b) it’s invariably dead before it realizes what happened.
There are times when bugs give almost as good as they get. This happened years ago when a friend and I were driving our motorcycles to Evanston, Wyo. We were clipping along pretty well when we spotted a fine mist across the road. It wasn’t until we drove through it that we realized it wasn’t a mist but rather a swarm.
Driving through a swarm of bees at 80 mph produces the same physical sensation of being the guy with the biggest Confederate flag during Pickett’s Charge. In the space of a second, you get drilled at least 200 painful times. The main difference being that .58-caliber bullets usually put you out of your misery while bees only make you wish you were dead.
I can’t personally vouch for a bullet, but an 80 mph bee received in a nostril hurts enough that it should be deemed a fatal blow worthy of collecting life insurance.
If not, then Utah owes me 400 bucks.