photo: blackbass on flickr

photo: blackbass on flickr

Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever had someone not get you at all? Have you ever been snubbed or judged unfairly?

The grasshopper knows your pain.

While some insects get all the glory (cough**butterflies**cough), others are forever shunned from the Insect Hall of Fame, their little insect noses pressed against the glass while their show-offy cousins soak up the limelight.

It’s time to rectify this situation. The injustice must end!

Grasshoppers are a mighty species and the day has come for them to receive their props!

But first, let’s review the evidence against them, shall we?

It started in Ancient Greece. That’s when a storyteller named Aesop decided to thoroughly diss grasshoppers by portraying them as wild and crazy lowlifes with no work ethic. The ant, on the other hand, was described as a model citizen, hard-working and frugal.

photo: Samantha Henneke on flickr

photo: Samantha Henneke on flickr

The ant? A model citizen?

I don’t know about you, but when was the last time a swarm of grasshoppers invaded your kitchen, nibbling all the food on the counters and building super-highways on the floor?

(If your answer is yesterday, your problem is Biblical and beyond the scope of this blog. I’m sorry I can’t help.)

After Aesop, the dissing continued.

Unfaithful women became known as grasshoppers, “hopping” from man to man. Those with ADHD tendencies were said to have a “grasshopper mind.”

The television show “Kung Fu” equated the grasshopper with one who has a lot to learn. Yes, Master Po used “grasshopper” as a term of endearment, but the message was clear.

Grasshoppers were unworthy, “less than.”

The final blow came with the movie “A Bug’s Life.”

don't be dissin the hopper

Once again, the ants got all the props and the grasshoppers were losers. They even had the lead grasshopper get eaten alive by a bird.

That ain’t right. The violence stops here, people.

So here’s what you need to know.

Yes, grasshoppers have big appetites. Yes, they have been known to consume entire countries and not look back.

But that’s only some species of grasshoppers. Most of them are much better behaved. And they have all kinds of cool traits.

Check it out:

1. Grasshoppers Are Elite Athletes.

photo: Hermitianta Prasetya Putra on flickr

photo: Hermitianta Prasetya Putra on flickr

Some species of grasshopper can jump two hundred times their length in one jump. That’s like you or me jumping over a thousand feet.

Take that, little ant!

2. Grasshoppers Are Meteorologists.

map it

You know the chirping sound grasshoppers make? That’s not just any ordinary noise.

That’s the sound of a super-powered auditory thermostat. If you count the number of chirps that take place over fourteen seconds and add 40, that’s the current temperature in Fahrenheit.

Can you do that? No, you can’t! But grasshoppers can!!

3. Grasshoppers Are Freaky. In A Good Way.

photo: mike goren on flickr

photo: mike goren on flickr

Most of have ears in a regular place. Like near the eyes and mouth.

But grasshoppers are renegades. Maybe it’s all those years of getting dissed. Maybe they wanted to show the world just how creative they can be. Or maybe they just wanted to make a statement, via body art.

Whatever the reason, grasshoppers have ears on their bellies. And they’re not ashamed to flaunt them.

Yes, it might look a little funny to those of us who are used to carting our ears around on our heads, but grasshoppers don’t care. Their cute little belly-ears allow them to hear the songs of their fellow grasshoppers.

And if that’s not a commitment to community spirit, I don’t know what is.

4. Grasshoppers have OCD. In a good way.

photo: US Dept. of Agriculture

photo: US Dept. of Agriculture

If having ears on their bellies wasn’t enough, grasshoppers are super duper neat freaks. They clean themselves all the time.

Like, all the time.

You’re never going to come upon a grungy, smelly grasshopper. It just won’t happen.

The grasshopper’s commitment to cleanliness is so strong, they will even pull their antennae through their mouths to get them as squeaky clean as possible.

You heard that right: Pull their antennae through their mouths.

Even if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t. Am I right?

But the grasshopper does. Because they rock like that.

5. Grasshoppers Are Masters of Metamorphosis.

photo: jay iwasaki on flickr

photo: jay iwasaki on flickr

For years, grasshoppers have had to sit on the sidelines while the butterfly was carted out as the model of metamorphosis and rebirth. (Dragonflies have been on the sidelines too, but that’s another story.)

There’s nothing wrong with the one-shot model of change. Hide away in a cocoon and emerge with wings. Pretty cool.

But the grasshopper presents a different model, one that is actually more realistic and accessible to the masses.

The grasshopper doesn’t just go through one big change. Oh no.

After the tiny little grasshopper hatches from the eggs laid by its mother, it sheds its skin and emerges as a bigger, better version of itself five or six times.

photo: planthealth.info

photo: planthealth.info

Anyone can do that once. But five or six times?

It takes a strong commitment to personal growth and fulfillment. Not to mention an ability to stand up to years of shame and abuse by the mainstream media, all the way back to Aesop.

photo: mike dierken on flickr

photo: mike dierken on flickr

So the next time you feel misunderstood, the next time someone snubs you or makes fun of your ears, just remember the grasshopper.

Remember that a feisty little long-jumping, meteorologist-chirping, freaky-eared bad ass is on your side.

No one knows better than the grasshopper that we never stop changing and growing. That it’s never too late to morph into a newer, better version of yourself.

And if all else fails, you can always pull your antennae through your mouth.

It just might make you feel better.

photo: ben ostrowsky on flickr

photo: ben ostrowsky on flickr

How has your life been like a grasshopper’s? How many times have you experienced rebirth? Share your comments below!

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