Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If You Were a Cicada

they're heeeeeere...
I remember the last time that the Brood II cicadas invaded the northeast.  My mom signed my sister and me up for tennis lessons, but we had trouble finding places to play because every court was covered in cicadas and they flew around at face-level all day long.  I think we were all a little traumatized by that experience and now they're back to haunt us.  They're popping up in various towns near me (but thankfully not yet near my apartment), including the park where I go running.  It adds to the experience a bit.  Whenever I see a cicada, I scream a little and start running faster.  It's a good simulation of what it will be like to run the zombie race.  There was one on the car parked next to me and the sound of its wings beating was fairly disturbing.  You can constantly hear the background drone of their chirps and there's a pretty distinct smell to the dead ones scattered on hot pavement.  Yuck.

The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC did a segment yesterday morning called "What's Changed since 1996?" with the clever Twitter hashtag "Cicada van Winkle" about what it would be like to be a cicada that wakes up after 17 years to find a vastly different world (or in some ways, not so different).  I thought the bit was so funny that I decided to make a copycat version from a different perspective.

Here's what this part of the world was like the last time the Brood II cicadas came out of the ground:
  • I was ten years old, my sister was 7, and the kids I work with were barely an idea in their parents' imaginations
  • Amanda Bynes was like this:
  • "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs n Harmony was the #1 song this week
  • AOL was the most hi-tech way of communicating with your friends
  • The first Mission: Impossible was the #1 best-selling movie of the week (preceded by Twister)
  • John Grisham's The Runaway Jury was at the top of the bestseller list
  • People were watching Friends, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, ER, Beverly Hills 90210, and The X-Files
  • The World Trade Center was still standing, but TWA Flight 800 would explode in July and the Unabomber had just been arrested in April
  • What's a Britney Spears?  Is she one of the Spice Girls?  ("Wannabe" debuted in June 1996, while "Hit Me, Baby... One More Time" doesn't come out until 1999)


  • There was only one MTV and it still played music videos (I know because I just started being allowed to watch it at home)
  • People were debating whether to re-elect Bill Clinton or vote for Bob Dole in the fall and the stock market was booming
I could go on like this all day, but I think this gives you enough to think about for now.  This was a really fun post, so if you can think of other differences (or similarities), post them in the comments!


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