Saturday, February 12, 2011

Know your audience

I hate Valentine's Day. When you have spent almost 20 years trying to be kind to each other every day, lacy hearts, crowded restaurants, and overpriced flowers just seem so trite.

But this year, I received an email from the Wildlife Conservation Society, inviting me to name a cockroach at the Bronx Zoo in honor of my loved one. Brilliant marketing. I could not resist.

I sent off my $10 and named a cockroach in my husband's honor. Drummond.

This could go either way. Many people might not appreciate the humor or the thought that went into this truly original gift.

But Mr Berman is mad for bugs. Bumble bees are his favorite. Dung beetles a close second. And I have never seen him happier than when New Jersey's 17-year cicadas emerged en masse. These bugs spend most of their lives underground as nymphs, the whole billion-strong brood emerging once every 17 years as adults, to reproduce and die.

We drove out to Princeton to see the phenomenon. The pavements were awash with their crunchy carcases. The air throbbed with their noise. And Mr Berman was literally covered in them. He carefully collected 2 deceased specimens, a male and a female, to send to his uncle in the UK (also a bug man). This is how much Mr Berman loves bugs -- he can tell the sexes apart. He tried to show me the details, but I was too busy vomiting all over myself to look.

So when the Bronx Zoo emailed a special certificate, notifying him that Drummond the cockroach had been named in his honor, he was thrilled. He asked if we could drive up to meet his namesake this weekend. I had to point out, kindly, that Drummond wouldn't be wearing a t-shirt with his name on it. And to the best of my knowledge, he had not been trained to wave at his sponsor. He would just be writhing around in his tank, along with the 57,999 other Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches that live at the Bronx Zoo.

Although disappointed at this, Mr Berman remains delighted with his gift. You see, I knew my audience. Mr Berman doesn't care much for diamonds, but a cockroach is forever.

If you love someone who loves bugs, give 'em a bug.

1 comment:

  1. What is most telling about this article - is that it was posted at 5:20 am!!! Definitely a mummy balancing mummyhood with work! YOU GO GIRL! -kim-