Cricket Head on a Stick Story

This article is a part in the Cruel Kids, The Animals I Know and How to Neuter a Cow series.


Weather-wise, there were probably just two most common types of days from my childhood memories growing up in Việt Nam: scorching hot and torrential rain. People don’t call it a “Jungle of ‘Nam” for nothing.

Once in a while, the sky stayed a cloudy silver as if it was about to rain, but didn’t actually pour. As kids, these were the perfect days to go cricket hunting in the fields.

Fun fact, crickets are probably the “horniest” bunch of critters I ever known. Not that I know of many horny critters anyway. I’m pretty sure they make only two sounds: when the mails chirps and calls for a potential females and the quiet rhythmic sound they make during the mid-coital good times. This made it a little easier to find them.

They were often in caves or under dried grasses and shrubberies. Catching the latter group was pretty straightforward: just quickly dive for them when you lift whatever they were hiding under.

The cave-dwellers were a bit more tricky. You couldn’t simply “take a hoe to the cave” so-to-speak because you might accidentally cut the cricket in half. So you would have to bring a bucket of water, flood the cave and even the stubborn ones would get flushed out eventually.

Crickets were cool as pets. They can “sing” and “fight”. All my friends had crickets and the best thing was to pit them against each other. Cricket fights were simple, just throw two into a bucket and watch them gnaw and kick each other until one runs away and the remaining victor chirps in celebration.

Fighter in the Ring

Two things we did as kids with crickets that were very cruel now but we didn’t think much of it then:

  • To get the cricket rowdy up for a fight, you would take a hair, loop it around one of the cricket’s hind legs and spin it in the air until it was drunk & dizzy and ready to go into “beast-mode”.
  • When one of your best crickets is tired or loosing steam, you would take a “throwaway cricket”, rips the head off and put it on a toothpick. Then you would taunt the tired cricket by jabbing it with a terrible version of “cricket head on a pike” construction. I’m not sure if it actually did anything, but for some reason, we all did it.

I hear people are frying up crickets as alternative protein source. I haven’t had a chance to eat cricket yet, but given the chance, I suppose I’ll try anything once.

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