Compassion for the bug | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Compassion for the bug | Mark’s Remarks

By on August 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Mark's RemarksAs the school year begins, I find myself spending every waking moment at school. I often go in early in the mornings on weekends or after the kids have gone to bed. For a while, most teachers put in quite a bit of time to get going.

Early Saturday morning, I had to use the, ahem, facilities down the hall. Many men might call this their own library.

I know, I know. TMI. But I have a point. I mean, I do much of my best thinking in the library.

While I was still in there, I noticed a little bug on the floor. Schools often have bugs running around, for whatever reason. Perhaps they are attracted by the pungent odor of children. Who knows?

This little bug seemed to be one of those water bugs or nasty little roaches. My first inclination was to stretch my size 11 over and squash him. I didn’t want him making his way down to my classroom and hatching a family.

But instead, I watched him for a while. I felt a little like Benjamin Franklin when he studied the ants going up and down the string into the jar of molasses.

This little bug would kick and kick. He would bend in the middle. He would kick some more and thrash around.

For a moment, he looked like Curly from “The Three Stooges.” He twirled around in a circle as he kicked and thrashed. Remember when Curly did that?

Not that I know much about bugs, but I have heard that when they get into some pesticide, they often go into convulsions and wind up on their backs. Their nervous system begins to fail and they lose coordination.

Eventually, unable to flip back over, the bug is unable to get water or nutrients and soon dies.

As I watched, I figured this little booger was about to check out. He could not seem to right himself. I think I spent way too much time in there watching that bug. I began to think about how his life mirrors our own.

I mean, we all wind up on our backs from time to time. We run into a snag in life or get into a rut. We feel as if we’ve been knocked on our backs or as if we have lost control. Then, we seem unable to “right” ourselves.

Ever felt that way, folks? I know I have. I think most of us have gone through big or small problems in which we might feel like this little bug.

But this little bug just kept on kicking. He’d rest from time to time, but he kept going. He’d thrash. He’d do the Curly shuffle. On and on he worked and worked. He was the little engine that could.

Yes, I was in there long enough to feel sorry for the little bug. I still thought he was nasty. I still didn’t want to pick him up and give him a tiny little hug. But I did feel sorry for him.

I walked over to the sink and washed my hands as I usually do. Should I put the little guy out of his misery? Should I squash him and bring about a quick death? I mean, he was working so hard that I knew the end might be near. I looked at my indecisive face in the mirror.

I thought about his little buggy life. Maybe he had family. Maybe he had just retired from his job and was planning a vacation with his wife.

So, as I opened the door to leave the library, I stretched out my foot and with the tip of my shoe, I gently flipped the bug over by giving his rear end a little nudge.

Off he scurried, helped along by a kind giant. I watched him disappear down the baseboard, knowing he would be going back to the bug coffee shop to tell his buddies about his near death experience.

We all need someone to nudge us once in awhile.


Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.