by Baxter Black, DVM
The National Insect

Thanksgiving is a time for
reflection. Warm memories,
overstuffed afternoons and
family. Yet rising from this
cornucopia of good feelings,
like a rubber chicken from a
shopping cart full of cut-up
fryers, is that runner-up for
national bird…The Turkey.
Despite its cinder blocklike
intelligence, gurgling
vocals and dangling snood,
there is nothing absurd
about the turkey being nominated
as our national bird.
After all, a group of entomologists
has tried to convince
Congress to name a National
Insect. Their suggestion was
the Monarch butterfly.
I have always assumed
that the turkey was passed
over for the bald eagle for
obvious reasons; beauty,
grace, majesty, strength and
inspiration. But after watching
Congress consider the
Monarch butterfly, I realized
how it is simply a matter of
which special interest group
presents the most convincing
There was considerable
rancor stirred amongst the
feminist groups when they
pressed their case for a National
Insect to represent
them. They were divided
between the ladybug and the
queen bee.
Organized religion sprang
forth to submit their nominees.
The Catholics liked
the idea of a preying mantis
on the fifty cent piece. The
Methodists suggested the
water skipper while the Baptists
chose the lobster.
The legal profession
marshaled its considerable
influence behind the scorpion.
Civil service employees
thought the humble,
diligent ant would be a good
choice. Roto Rooter placed
the tumblebug into consideration.
Suggestions for the National
Insect came pouring in
from special interest groups:
Pork Producers-the sow
bug, carpenters-termites,
insomniacs-bed bug, librarians-
book lice, Nike-millipede,
Republicans-the Sherman
tank, Adams County bowling
team-bowl weevils, uncle
wanted aunts, the A’s wanted
the B’s, Volkswagen wanted
the beetles, honky-tonkers
wanted night crawlers, and
the Texans thought the oil
derrick would make a nice
National Insect!
So I can imagine if there
is this much interest in a
National Insect, the competition
must have been double
tough for the National Bird!
If Ducks Unlimited, the
Pelican Farm News, the Kansas
Jayhawkers or Chicken
of the Sea had been able
to nominate candidates for
the National Bird, our coins
might have looked a lot different.
However, if the Turkey
Growers are still bent on installing
the turkey as a symbol
of something uniquely
American…they’d have to go
to Washington D.C. anyway…

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