My hometown of Staten Island is swarming with noisy teenagers. These beady eyed 17-year-olds rule the streets, constantly making noise that sounds like a combination of a distant car alarm and your worst nightmare. These teens aren’t obsessed with Justin Bieber or One Direction. They are much too cool for that. They hang out underground in the seedy parts of town, they block your way when you walk down the street and soon their bodies will be everywhere. I don’t mean that a serial killer is on the loose, although if there was a killer trying to kill these teens, I think it would be better to call him/her a vigilante/hero/icon/Nobel Peace Prize nominee and shoe-in for winner.
The teenagers I’m referring to are cicadas. The ugly red eyed bugs that are currently ruining my quality of life. Is that dramatic? Sure. Should I maybe calm down and stop running through the traffic filled streets to avoid them whenever I have to walk home? Yes. Definitely. But should these cicadas just go away already? YES. YEP. For sure.
The life of a cicada is simple. They emerge from the ground every 17 years to mate, lay eggs, paralyze me with fear, then die. The last time the cicadas emerged, it was 1996 and life was simple. Matilda was out in theaters, bringing joy to children everywhere, Madeleine Albright was appointed as first female US Secretary of state, and most importantly, a song featuring both Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men was number one on the charts (‘One Sweet Day’). There was no Facebook, no iPhones, not a single cicada cared if their statements exceeded 140 characters. Life was easy.
The cicadas that emerged this month are in a whole new world and unfortunately (read: fortunately) they will die before they get to explore it. Things are different now, more complex. I imagine it says the following in their observation journals, which I am sure they keep, “Humans are glued to odd rectangle shaped boxes that make as much noise as we do. They are constantly taking photos on these portable devices and sometimes they talk into them addressing a woman named Siri (do they expect a reply?) and why is no one watching Matilda in theaters anymore?”
Anyway, in an effort to become friends with the cicadas and help them with their observation journals, here is a list of just some things they missed:
- 1997- Mastercard’s motto
“There are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else there’s MasterCard” premiered during a commercial in the 1997 World Series and people everywhere repeated the phrase until they agreed it wasn’t funny anymore (though some people have decided it is a timeless joke).
- 1998- Furbys
Furby toys launched in the holiday season of 1998 and continued to haunt the dreams of both parents and children well into the new millennium.
- 2000- The Grammy dress of Jennifer Lopez
- 2001- The swan dress of Björk
- 2003- The Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project which mapped the structure of DNA and the specific information that it contained completed its work!
- 2004- Super Size Me
Morgan Spurlock gained 25 pounds in 30 days by eating only McDonald’s food. Can you say YUM?
- 2007- Rickrolling
Rickrolling was invented. This is when you click on something online, and instead of getting to your desired destination, the video for Rick Asley’s Never Gonna Give You Up plays.
- 2008- Skinny Drinks
A “Skinny” line of drinks rolled out in Starbucks’ everywhere in 2008. Can you say YUM again?
- 2010- Waking Up Feeling Like P. Diddy
Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok’ got stuck in the heads of people everywhere and it was honestly the best.
- 2011- The Apocalypse
The 2011 end times prediction made by American Christian radio host Harold Camping stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011. (It didn’t happen but some people (me) got spooked.)
- 2012- Dog Shaming
Dog shaming began as a Tumblr in August 2012 and brings joy to people and shame to dogs every day since