Some of the female 17-year cicadas have mistaken the whine of truck engines around Exit 150 of I-81 for the call of male 17-year cicadas, resulting in some embarrassing encounters at the truckstop.
Q: Holy Christmas, G-man, have you come across any of the clusters of 17-year cicadas around here? My wife and I were out on U.S. 220 in Daleville the other week where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. We were going to take a hike, but the combination of the noise and the fact that my wife got three or four of them on her and in her hair as soon as we got out of the car turned us away.
A: Hey, that’s not all they do, LM. Gossipman and his foolish bride took a walk on that very day on that very trail section. You should see all the holes in the trail where the little boogers came out – like a thousand thru-hikers all carrying three sets of hiking poles. Plus all these creepy tan exoskeletons all over the trees and the trail blazes, and dead ones all over the place with those little beady red eyes looking at you like the devil himself. And the noise, as we walked north from 220 and under I-81, was often on the exact same pitch as the 18-wheeler traffic in the area. In fact, several female cicadas, thinking they were hearing the mating call of the males, actually got arrested for trying to pick up truck drivers at the big truckstop there at Exit 150.
Q: Dear Gossipman. Well, maybe not so “dear,” what with the stuff you have in this issue on people sweating their brains out at these CrossFit places for no good reason, lifting huge amounts of weight also when there is no purpose to it, and getting all vained up about their bodies when they should be out plowing the south 40. My question is really two questions: One, what is there for us people down here on the farm trying to make a living and two, how the hell would we have time to do it anyway?
–GF, Franklin County
A: Calm down, GF, calm down. Your rural perspective reminds us of an urban one, once when we were running the streets of New York City and a cabbie rolled down his window to shout: “Go home and mow your lawn!” But there may be opportunities for the likes of you and me on the horizon. A franchise called CrossFat is considering the valley for an outlet; the early returns from the California locations are very promising, where CrossFat “boxes” feature treadmills that won’t tilt up and have two settings for speed: 1. Your Grandmother, and 2. Tim Conway’s Old Man Walking. There are also mandatory doughnuts every 10 minutes, and all of the weightlifting plates and barbells look totally real but are of course filled with air.
Q: What’s your opinion on liquor by the drink in Montgomery County. Isn’t this long overdue, especially when C-burg and B-burg already have it? –MM, Riner
A: Gossipman thinks not, possibly as the result of a favorite old joke from an uncle, as far back as the 1960s on visits to Montgomery County. Once all the families had gathered at G-man’s grandparents’ home in Radford, the uncle would announce that it was time for ROTC. Then there would be a pause, while he waited for someone to ask what student military training had to do with anything, at which point he would say no, no, no, it’s not time for Reserve Officers Training Corps, it’s time to Run Over To Christiansburg!