[gardeners] Margaret's SAM Bugs

Liz Albrook (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Fri, 1 May 1998 11:08:42 +0000

Margaret Lauterbach <gardeners@globalgarden.com> wrote:

> Margaret, still smarting over one facetious, and one outlandish answer to
> my query about what selectively defoliates wormwood then puts on its hiking
> boots and hikes 40 feet to defoliate a volunteer sagebrush (A. tridentata).

Since you've already gotten one facetious answer...

My first thought was your problem was with the hitherto unsung Stone 
Age Masochist Bug -- so named for it's habits and date of evolution.  
The SAM Bug was first discovered on the campuses of some better known 
universities in the early 1960's -- the true Stone Age of American 
culture.  As you might guess, the SAM Bug of that era enjoyed nothing 
quite so much as a toke on a doobie and was frequently found 
reclining in groups of 5 or 6 on the campus green wearing bizarrely 
bright clothing, listening to Jimi Hendrix and Doors albums that 
only they could hear.

The first large, defoliating collection of SAM Bugs was found in San 
Francisco in the Haight-Ashbury district.  Up until that time the SAM 
bug was known colloquially as the D*mn Stoners.  Upon congregating 
and partaking of large numbers of tokes, then dropping bits of paper 
with cartoon characters in their mouths, the DS Bugs discovered that 
they liked to eat once a week, bathe once a month, and attempt to 
create new DS Bugs.  These activities required the cooperation of 
females.  DS Bugs were nearly all males.  It has taken entymologists 
many years to unravel the mystery of what happened next.  

These DS Bugs used their 4 and a half living braincells to give 
tokes of doobie to future female SAM bugs.  They stoned those 
gals.  After Stoning, those females believed that it was a Good Thing 
(yes, that's where MS stole the phrase) to cook food, sorta keep 
house and be Mom and Lover to the DS Bugs.  That's the "what" side of 
the story.  The "Why" is still under investigation by historical 
entymologists.  At any rate, soon hovels arose across the country in 
which the new female DS Bugs demostrated their inherit masochism 
while feeding and otherwise kowtowing to the lazy, dirty male DS 
Bugs.  In the words of one male DS bugs "We were Kings in those 
days".  It is the actions of these females that put the Masochist 
in the more correct term Stone Age Masochist Bugs.

Now you know the enemy.  There is an obvious explanation to what 
happened to your shrubs.  It almost embarrasses me to point it out.

You artemesia was defoliated by a deliberate attempt of SAM Bugs to 
get high.  This might have been inspired by a showing of 
Tolouse-Latrec prints in the state Art Gallery and by the absence of 
absinthe.  Invigorated by the consumption of your artemesia and it's 
effects, the SAM Bugs wandered around your yard looking at all the 
pretty, shiny colors while saying "Hey, Man"  and "Cool".  After a 
while the SAMs realized they were hungry but, lucky, were sitting 
right next to what they believed, in their stoned condition, was a 
large pizza and pitcher of beer.  They sat down to a righteous meal 
of pepperoni and Bud.  Unfortunately for you and your sagebrush, they 
were very stoned and didn't realize that it was a sagebrush rather 
than a a pizza with extra oregano.  Unfortunately for them, and the 
reason that you have not had any more attacks, is that large 
quantities of sagebrush are a real downer.

My advice is to go out there and stomp around on the ground near your 
sagebrush.  SAM bugs are notoriously lazy and probably didn't wander 
far so you should be able to squash them all.  If you are concerned 
that you might not have gotten them all, go sit upon the ground and 
read Kafka to them.  It'll bore them to death and they'll be so busy 
saying "cool" they won't even notice the danger.  Plus, it's an 
organic remedy.