Lessons from the Insect world; ants suck

antI got to thinking about insects the other day and all the lessons we can’t learn from them. Let’s take a couple of random insects and see how they might show us not to live. Bees? Mosquitoes? WASPS? Sure a stinging criticism of insect behavior could be written about them, but how about ants and grasshoppers instead? Much better.

Grasshoppers and ants are both incredibly hard working insects. Their survival depends on different skills, but lazy ants and lazy grasshoppers usually end up in the beak of some bird. Millions and millions of these insects labor through the warm months to reproduce and then prepare for the cold winter.

Most of the grasshoppers I’ve met are really good at what they do, but the payoff for them is not always so great. On the other hand, ants were born with the privilege of being the stars of the first reality shows called “Ant Farms.” Kids from all over the world would pour some dirt in a plastic house, add a few ants, and then watch in fascination as the ants built tunnel systems, reproduced, died, and then get eaten by their fellow privileged ants. The ants became legendary for their hard work, but little was ever said about their cannibalism. Getting ahead in the ant world just naturally involved eating other ants. Signs saying “Eat or be Eaten” adorn the offices of many ant CEO’s.

Ants also suffer from a syndrome common to many sports stars. If you read enough press clippings about yourself, you get to believe you’re actually something special. Your value as an ant is much higher in your own eyes than it is in the eyes of the other insects. You actually believe other insects give a shit about what you think about anything…just because of the accident of your hatching.

So while the grasshopper, not so privileged at birth as the ant, struggles mightily to find shelter during the cold months, the ants who avoided getting eaten by other ants hunker down in the tunnels largely built by the ants they ate and wait for spring where they can emerge and show the rest of the world how incredibly resourceful one can be as long as you’re willing to eat your young.

So it should come as no surprise that ants can be real bastards when it comes for caring for insects who are less privileged than them. Let’s be honest, about 1 out of every hundred thousand or so grasshoppers and a much higher ratio of ants are just a bit lazy. While his buds were out preparing for winter, some grasshoppers are out doing grasshopper things that were fun. When an ant sees such a grasshopper, they raise their snouts in the air (ok, fine, ants probably don’t have snouts, but you get the point) and condemn all grasshoppers as being lazy.

You see ants have no compassion. Ants understand that as privileged insects they have no responsibilities to their kingdom, much less their phylum. It takes an especially cruel and insensitive ant to look a cold and hungry grasshopper in the antennae and slam the door of the anthill in disgust. Despite the long legacy of hardworking grasshoppers, the image of that one in a million lazy grasshopper is all the privileged ant can see.

Not only does the ant slam the door of the anthill in disgust, apparently they do it with so much pride, they write a newspaper column about it.

The end.


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