Why Chicago should embrace the misunderstood centipede

I am a bit of a news junkie. I watch the local channels as well as the cable offerings. I read the online versions of The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. I want to know what the right, left, and center have to say about all the important issues impacting the world and my family.

But every once in a while, I get plumb tuckered. With a non-stop loop of election year punditry, missing plane speculation, and a defiant Russia ready to take on the entire world, I decided to simply turn off the tube.

And in doing so, I noticed a monster centipede crawling across my living room floor.

Centipedes scare me more than Russia, missing planes, and politicians combined.

So in lieu of the time normally spent reviewing the stock market and 10-day weather forecast, I began researching centipedes.

I soon learned that despite their terrifying thousand-legged look and unholy speed as they run from your husband’s size 14 boots, these little buggers are actually good for your home.

The hell you say.

Totally true.

Centipedes EAT all the bad bugs – the ones with potential to do real damage to your house and person: bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, flies, fleas and termites. And because of their ridiculous speed, they are practically Orkin on Red Bull.

So once our fuzzy little creepy-assed friends perform their civic duty and successfully rid our homes of the true enemies, what do you suppose they do next? Breed and take over? Turn our homes into a centipede safe haven? DVR their favorite shows?

Nope. Those selfish little bastards leave. With no food remaining, they go eat your neighbors’ bugs.

The reward for all their hard work and pest eradication? We scream like lunatics and freeze them with AquaNet hairspray until we locate something to heave across the room.

All of this because they look like the devil.

My little internet investigation did more to change my perception of a sworn enemy than any Twitter campaign or celebrity spokesperson could have ever done.

So in honor of the heroic nature of this underappreciated critter, I debated starting my own centipede campaign. I was torn between #HugABug and #CentipedesForever, but I felt neither truly captured my message.

Instead? I have taken the vow to not kill a single centipede this spring. I’m simply going pretend they are all “Charlie” — my really tiny and incredibly fast Shih Tzu.

It is sad to go through life feeling misunderstood like the poor centipede. I can relate.

Now excuse me while I go put out some warm milk and cookies for my arthropods.

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