B. v Mothra

Late last night, I looked up in the corner of my kitchen and there was an enormous moth. Like the size of a small station wagon. I could see little 1970s children looking out a window in that moth’s butt waving to me for help, that’s how big it was.

I know we’ve talked about this before, but Jesus Christ, if you were born between about 1965 and 1980, it’s really a wonder as many of us made it to adulthood as have. It was all, eh, throw the kids back there with the spare tire and I’ll drive them around town while I smoke and let the littlest one sit on my lap and work the stick shift.

I can remember being in the back seat of one of my friends’ mom’s cars and my door wasn’t shut tight (which, in those days, seemed to be a real concern–my cousin once went rolling down an interstate saved only by his pillow when he fell out of a car because the door wasn’t shut tight and my brother lost some beloved GI Joes when they fell out of a car) and she just reached back behind her, right cigaretted hand on the wheel, left hand grabbing for the door handle, and she just opened that thing, slammed it shut, and kept going, never dipping below 40 miles an hour.

And I still have that vision of the passing pavement practically beneath me seared into my brain.

Seriously, the people of my generation need to take my parents generation aside and just grab them by the lapels and shout, “What were you thinking? We could have died!” and also “Was littering a public sport back then or what?”

You can almost imagine that the guy tossing his little styrofoam clam from his Big Mac out the window just as my cousin rolls out of the car ahead of him was all “Damn, there goes my chance for victory!”

Anyway, the moth. It was huge. And I did the sciency crap where you turn off all the lights in the house and turn on the light in the garage to try to lure the moth into being fooled into believing that that’s the sun out there or something. But Mothra was having none of it. Mothra was all, heh, now that we’re alone here in the dark, let me fly right at your face!!!!

Thanks for nothing, science.

I got the broom out of the other room and tried to swat Mothra outside. But of course, Mothra just sat on the end of the broom and was all, “That’s right! Take me for a ride, tiny human!”

And folks, I am embarrassed to admit that it took me a good ten minutes to realize that the solution was to let the moth land on the broom and then take the broom outdoors where the moth promptly flew away.

So, victory for me! Kind of. I mean, ten minutes! But, in my defense, look at how my parents brought me up.

15 thoughts on “B. v Mothra

  1. This seems like the right attitude to have about our generation and those prior – shock (and some humorous relief). I remember there was a poster in the bathroom of the Alley Cat that listed all the things kids used to do and survived, implying that we are raising boring, thoughtless, uncreative weaklings today with all the safety gear like seat belts, bike helmets, and inspected candy wrappers. And I think it is this justification that my brother-in-law gives for not watching my niece and nephew, letting them roam the neighborhood at will, and not making them do things like stay in booster seats in seat belts, etc.

    As for the moth, a regular occurrence here is that shortly after I battle a bug, I remember that my uncle taught me that the vacuum or dustbuster is as fast and easy bug killer that keeps me a safe distance away from my fears. Over and over and I still haven’t learned in the moment.

  2. I remember that poster in the Alley Cat well – it made a very good point. Kids today (ugh, hate saying that as I feel I should add “get off my lawn!” to it) are so unequipped. They’re almost scared of their own shadows in my estimation. I had stitches 3 times by the time I was 5 years old – and my mother is a nurse.

    Your post made me laugh, b/c I clearly recall being 3 or 4 and standing up in the backseat of my parents Buick station wagon, or riding in the back of my grandfather’s pickup truck. And I lived to tell *gasp!* – there was even an episode of Mad Men in a similar vein – Betty Draper tooling down the road in the station wagon, slamming on the brakes and the next shot was of the kids in a pile in the backseat floorboards. Ah, memories…

    I’m with The Professor on the dustbuster… and Windex kills ants, FYI.

  3. What color was the moth? How actually big was it? I’m dying to identify it. I’d have grabbed the camera and gotten right up in its, er, grill so to speak, but I am perhaps a little nutty that way.

  4. In the late 60s/early 70s we had a kits’ car seat that hung over the back of the front seat on two hooks made of bent metal tubing. If there’d ever been a wreck it would have turned into a slingshot. As it is, the metal tubing wasn’t capped, and a friend of mine got her finger stuck in it and we had to call the fire department to get her out.

    The parts of Mad Men I’ve loved the best have been the moments where you see how kids were raised back then. A kid playing with a dry cleaning bag on her head, or an unrelated adult smacking a kid for being too rambunctious at a party. I’m not old enough that that could have been me, but I’m old enough for a “whoa!” moment of recognition.

  5. Jagosaurus, it was brown and it seemed to be about the size of an oak leaf, but it flew.

    And wait until tomorrow when I show y’all the caterpillars I saw just now! One was black with white and yellow stripes and the other was huge and green and I poked it. Gently, but you know, just to see.

    I felt like I was five again, out playing in my mother’s garden.

  6. i’m the designated dealer-with-insects in my household. i’ll kill spiders and beetles, but i can’t stand to hurt moths; them i’ll catch and release outside. never seen any reason to be afraid of them, i think they’re kindof cute.

    and ‘ive been debating with myself whether or not to link a picture of the Atlas moth. i guess “link it” won out.

  7. Don’t forget how we used to ride around in the beds of pickup trucks, scooting from side to side and hanging our arms over!

  8. I was on a road trip with my goddaughter two weekends back, and we were relating to her our memories of road trips, which included my brother and I arguing over who got to sleep on the floor of the car- which was the best spot to be in when my dad would get bored and start erratically whipping the car back and forth across the interstate at 1 am when there were no other cars around. It was an improvised roller coaster, lit up with the tip of my mom’s ciggerette making whirly shapes in the night.

    Good times. On the one hand, I’m kind of shocked that my parents ever thought that was a good idea. On the other, that’s one of my favorite memories!

    (Ps- hi! I’m Sarah, and new to reading you, but I love your writing!)

  9. I once removed a bat from my house by carrying out the 2×4 it had landed on. It took me a lot longer than ten minutes, though. I think you did well.

    As for the moth Nomen linked to… holy cow. From the Wikipedia entry:

    Atlas moth cocoons have been employed as purses

  10. Here I am laughing AGAIN. When I was about a year old I knocked out my dad while driving. I was standing on the seat between my parents and Mom was sitting on my bottle. I tugged at it, it came free, and from the force of tugging I swung it back ward and knocked Dad in the head. He was over and out. Mom grabbed the steering wheel and managed to keep the car on the road. All the while, I was just standing in the seat between them. STANDING. No car seats back then. No seat belts. OH! And don’t forget the station wagons where the back seat faced BACK. We loved making faces at the drivers behind us.

  11. I told y’all about how my parents drove my brother and me, before the Butcher was born, to California in an old Olds that they rigged with peg board between the rear view window and the top of the front seat, so we sat on a shelf up at head height. If there had been a reason for my dad to slam on the breaks, we would have slid right out the front window (unless our parents’ heads stopped us).

  12. My sisters and I were just talking about our rides to school in the early 80’s. Our school was a couple of towns away so the second grade teacher, who lived near us, drove a bunch of us in. She had one of those enormous station wagons with the rear facing seat in back. But instead of letting us face backward, she would fold down both rear seats and us kids would just kind of slosh and slide around. Good times.

  13. My least favorite response from my mother when I ask her not to allow my son to *insert whatever I don’t want him doing here* is “well you did it when you were a kid and you survived”. Second least favorite is “It’s a wonder I was able to raise two kids to adulthood”. Yes, mum, yes it is a wonder.

    I have heard the story many times about us taking a family trip around the Cabot Trail. I was in the front seat, on mum’s lap, traveling with the passenger side of the car on the coastal side of the road. I reached out and opened the door. 1200 ft above the pounding surf below. Good times.

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