Thursday 1 September 2011

On woodlice

I think I might be coming out of the fug, which is good news for all you dotfans out there and also for me. There are always false starts with these things. The most common one I find is that you start to define yourself by your depressed state, which is absurd and leads you to think, "uh oh, better not be too happy, everyone is expecting me to be depressed!" It's my staggering stupidity which I think keeps people coming back. Where's the fun in consistency?

And so to not giving my silly arse of a brain the oxygen of publicity. I think I would like to talk about woodlice.

Pictured above is my woodlouse. He is a very special woodlouse. He is the only known example of a pornography woodlouse. My friends Betsy and 5olly gave me him for Christmas 4 years ago. As you may note, my cat is studiously ignoring him. Evolution does not interest the cat. Nor does anything I do, judging by the fact I just plonked a massive woodlouse full to the gills with grumble mags next to him and took a picture of it.

The other day, I am told, my niece (who will be 5 on Sunday) refused to go into the bathroom because there was a woodlouse in there. From my in-depth (two people) research, I have discovered that this is not a particularly rare thing. A number of human beings are scared of woodlice, and where fear exists in the human world, hitting it with a slipper is never far behind.

I live my life by the mantra that I'll never knowingly hurt an animal. Obviously, you have to accept that some things will get stomped underfoot without you ever knowing it. Maybe whole species have fallen by the wayside in that manner. However, if I know it is there - be it an ant, a spider, a bee, frog, dog or polar bear - I will always give it a wide berth and let it get on with its to-do list. So, people pummelling bugs because they are scared of them, because they can and because might is right is something I find rather distasteful. This is especially true of the woodlouse.

A woodlouse is the big daddy of planet Earth, to my mind. The whole 12,000 year history of the planet. The woodlouse has been around since stuff first came out of the oceans and realised that living in the sea was a right faff. Woodlice are a crustacean of a design you can see all through the history of the planet. A simple mouth, legs, arsehole arrangement with a hard protective shell. It is something you'll find everywhere on earth, on sea and on land. Fossil records show lots of examples of it as well, meaning that Iguanodon and his brethren would have been chasing woodlice around with a slipper too. For the Creationists among you, this means I'd put woodlice as one of the Day 1 creations, along with heavens and earth and light and air and water and ham.

I have a lot of respect for the woodlouse. I'm not espousing everyone having a pet woodlouse. If you cuddled one it would probably get crushed. They've not got the same amount of personality as cats or dogs. However, the next time you see a woodlouse and are about to have a freak out, my advice will be to step away and let it get on with its woodlouse shit. They're the Chelsea Pensioner of the animal kingdom!


5olly said...

I've never understood killing things with slippers because of fear. Surely it means you actually have to get closer to the animal?? and then you have to clean up the slipper AND the surface on which the animal was squished. Bizarre.

I also like the ones that curl up into balls. we used to play marbles with them when i was a child.

Fran said...

I've got a whole colony (hmm what do we call a group of woodlice?) outside my back door ad they keep coming into my bathroom to say hello. I don't mind them saying hello as long as they don't mind me saying hello and a swift goodbye as I pop them back outside with their buds.

dotmund said...

This is exactly it. I'm not a big fan of spiders or moths, for example. So I just give them their hat and coat and usher them outside.

Cenner Hice said...

Thank you, dotmund.

Woodlice rock! And, as 5olly alludes to above, they roll. Not quite the Beatles of the arthropoda world. Maybe the Rolling Stones of it. I have to remove at least two a day from our house. Sadly one of yesterday's was a dead pregnant one. This morning, there was a live one in the bath. This evening... who knows? Our cats are similarly unimpressed by them, but our woodlice are smaller and tend not to carry magazines. There. My brief thoughts on the woodlouse.

thebejesus said...

I can understand the fear of a lot of things but woodlice? Really? They're so innocuous and frankly pretty darn cute. They're not ones to dart or scamper or even have a little wee on you like a certain well loved ladybird. No, they just mosey around being chilled out little dudes with their badass prehistoric armour, and if you mess with them they morph into wicked little marbles like a tiny rubbish power ranger.

I happen to know one seven year old who loves nothing more than gathering together colonies of the little blighters, then leaving them for me to repatriate to the garden when she goes home. So there is hope for the next generation of woodlouseketeers.

Also, the collective noun for woodlice is flock. The more you know!

dotmund said...

I've always liked woodlice myself, too. They seem pretty cool. Like anything that had successfully colonised a planet for the past billion years would be.

linda said...

When I was very little, my best friend's big sister would try to freak us out by eating woodlice... what she didn't know (but my best friend and I did) is that my Mom regularly told us that we were eating worms. We were actually eating spaghetti sandwiches, but it took us a while to catch on to that.

I've had a fondness for woodlice ever since that summer.
Well, I have always had a fondness for woodlice, and this is the only reason I can think of.

linda said...

Oh, also...
I am extremely curious about your pornography woodlouse... but I am not sure I should ask the questions I have.

dotmund said...

I advise asking any questions you have about the Pornography Woodlouse. It's far more innocent than it looks or sounds!

5olly said...

i fucking hate aphids. can i kill them?


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