I’m going to go out on a limb here…but keep in mind that I haven’t done any scientific research or conducted any experiments or anything and I am basing this opinion on personal anecdotal history and observation and I will leave it up to you to decide if you will agree or disagree with my assessment but I’m pretty certain, and I am stating this without reservation, that…grasshoppers are pretty stupid. There. I’ve said it. Do you agree? I can’t see there being a whole lot of intelligence in their tiny little insect brains and they sure don’t seem to show any sign of smarts in their behavior at all either.
Take the other night, for instance, I was working away in the yard and one of the stupid little creatures kept half-jumping half-flying, as they are wont to do, into everything. It’s like it was leaping off of the ground and it didn’t have a clue as to where it was going or why. “Here I go…wheeeee….oh, oh…damn…” Let’s try that again…”Here I go…wheeeee…oh, oh…damn!” And on and on it goes.
Aesop (620-560BC), a slave and story-teller who lived in Ancient Greece, told a tale called the Ant and the Grasshopper. In this tale, the ant worked hard preparing his shelter and stores of food all summer, while the grasshopper played and played. When winter came, the ant was prepared, but the grasshopper had no shelter or food. He begs to enter the ant’s house, but the ant refuses and the grasshopper starves. As a result of the fable the grasshopper became a symbol of improvidence or rash, incautious behaviour. Those who are unable to keep a single subject in focus but keep bringing in inappropriate associations (hopping from one thing to another) are said to have “a grasshopper mind” and in Pop Culture “grasshopper” is identified with someone who has much to learn. See. What did I tell you? Even the Ancient Greeks knew how stupid these things are.
A number of years ago, right around this time of year, too, I was cruising some wheat fields with my then-brother-in-law, Maurice, checking out whether the harvest would soon commence and a grasshopper flew, not only through the open ½ ton truck window, but directly into my brother-in-law’s mouth, which happened to be open in mid-sentence. He hacked and he coughed and we almost rolled the truck while the stupid grasshopper was halfway down Mo’s throat and trying to crawl back out. Maurice grabbed a cucumber sandwich from our lunch and gobbled it down in an effort to force the damn thing down because he just didn’t want it to come back up. He said that it wouldn’t have been THAT bad except for the fact that the grasshopper evacuated its bowels all the way down! Not his exact words but…Yech! I don‘t know if he ever ate another cucumber sandwich again but I’m pretty certain that that was the last grasshopper he ever ate.
Apparently the sole purpose of the insect is just that though…a source of food. But usually there should be some pre-swallowing preparation, don’t you think? At least for human consumption, then again, my research indicates that in certain countries, grasshoppers are eaten as a good source of protein. In southern Mexico for example, grasshoppers are regarded for their high content of protein, minerals and vitamins. They are usually collected at dusk, using lamps or electric lighting, in sweep nets. Sometimes they are placed in water for 24 hours, after which they can be boiled or eaten raw, sun-dried, fried, flavoured with spices, such as garlic, onions, chile, drenched in lime, and used in soup or as a filling for various dishes. They are abundant in Central and Southern Mexican food and street markets. Yummy?! Keep in mind though that caution should be used when eating them raw as they may contain tapeworms; giving us yet another reason for some pre-consumption preparation.
Many other countries besides Mexico eat grasshoppers, too, but my research says nothing about the creature’s intelligence, though, so I’ll stick to my initial assessment…stupid…but nutritious, I guess, under the right circumstances.
“The two most common elements in the Universe are Hydrogen and stupidity,”- Harlan Ellison (1934-).