The Mothman Delicacies

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Back when we were kids my mom would load my brother and me up into the old Volkswagen Camper, circa 1970-something, and take us on a month long camping trip around the U.S. I think over the many summers, we hit every state except Maine and Alaska.

They were always adventure filled with near death on stormy lakes, running through hail storms, getting incautiously close to live bison and their young, and riding possibly suicidal asses down into the Grand Canyon (donkeys, I am talking about donkeys). It was all great fun and very eye opening. I was a very lucky child.

One particular trip, my dad had joined us and we were somewhere in the southwest-ish. It was a desert and there were lots of rocks and boulders to go rock hopping on so that sounds right. Anyways, it was a grand ol' time, mom and dad could relax and stretch a bit after driving with the kids for 8+ hours. My brother and I often went off rock hopping long distances seeing if we could get lost or find a mountain lion den (mom must be so proud reading this).

After my brother and I morosely found our way back, sans mountain lion, we would all have a meal of spaghetti-o's, milk, and and canned green beans. the four of us then began to chat about our rock hopping adventures like we had found our way into a Joseph Conrad novel, and mom and dad would listen intently, enjoying their spaghetti-o's with gusto and listening with true interest.

We then would move on to joyful games of travel Clue or Mad-Libs. (It is still my firm belief that all sentences are indubitably better with the word "butt" inserted anywhere.) At some point in the night our conversation had somehow moved onto how bugs are eaten in other cultures.

You see where this story is going?

Dad said it wasn't anything big. I decided to call him on it, "Oh yeah? I dare you to eat that moth!" My hand thrust towards the unkowing hapless creature, hypnotized by the lamp light.

"How much?"

I was taken a bit aback, but only for a second. I studied his face - try to imagine me around the age of eight, and apply that sentence. "A nickel!" (Big Spender!)

"Deal." And he made me shake on it, the better to seal a deal with an 8 year old. Mom just kind of looked on, not knowing whether to stop it, or keep on watching because it was so joyfully voyeuristic. She smiled, my brother smiled, I smiled.

Dad reached for the moth and caught him in his hand. What would the moth care? He was busy trying to self-immolate himself, and diving head first into the glass. He opened his fist and picked the moth up by the wings.

The smiles vanished into stares. Dad opened his mouth, and popped the moth in. He took a bite or two, and swallowed. No flinch, no emotion, just swallowed the poor creature that the universe, with my help, had deemed to die.

There were roars of disgust and pleasure from three of us, all applauding dad. Back then it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen, and in retrospect, it still is.


  1. I love this story--there's something tragic about people who don't have someone like your dad, willing to try new things, even if only to gross out his kids on a bet. My Dad is the same way, and you better believe there was no one better suited to introduce me to the Tokyo food scene.spr

  2. You are such a wonderful writer - reading your story, I could picture the scene perfectly! It sounds like you had a terrific childhood.

  3. You know, I have memories of my dad forcing me to eat canned sardines. Not a great memory. To this day I nearly upchuck at the sight of sardines.

    But your dad?? Brave man. And he even chewed it a couple of times? Gross, but I'm amazed.

  4. Reminds me of a basketball game I played as a kid with my sister and neigbours. The loser had to eat an ant and it was always my sister that day. I think she said they were a bit sour. Good story.

  5. my dad would have told us the science behind the moth attracted to the flame, the protein potential, but in the end he would not have eaten it. nor would we have dared him.


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