Jonathon JonesThis morning, while styling my daughter’s hair, we noticed an ant on the wall.
My girl is terribly afraid of insects, and as expected, she did her usual “Ew! Moooom! Kill it! Kill it now!” (I’m a pansy when it comes to killing any creature, and am known far and wide as Spider Woman because I allow house spiders to roam freely about my home -- I only kill when coerced by high-pitched shrieks and intolerable whining), and I did my usual lollygagging in the hopes the ant might run off to a safe girl-free place before I would be forced to crush it. But this particular insect was different.
He looked exactly like this:
And as the shadow of death (wadded-up toilet paper) eclipsed his tiny body, he suddenly stood upright, cued an invisible band with a barely audible “a-one and a-two,” then did a little dance, a desperate jig that immediately charmed my daughter into silence. We looked at one another, she and I, our mouths open in disbelief, then turned back to the ant, who had finished his dance with an impressive triple pirouette, then abruptly rolled himself up into a ball. I moved in closer, my face only inches away from the bizarre ball of antness, and whispered “Dude. Dude?” The ant unfurled himself and looked right into my eyes. Neither of us said a word, just stared intently at each other, his weeny thorax trembling with exhaustion, and perhaps, fear. After what seemed minutes, the ant finally spoke: “I am Jonathon Jones.”
That was it. Just “I am Jonathon Jones.” Then he disappeared beneath the baseboard.
The experience so moved me, I wept.
The moral of this story is a simple one: Don’t kill another living creature except in cases of self-defense (serial killer, charging bear, angry hornet) or obvious threat to home and health (termites, cockroaches, rabid bats), or when coerced by high-pitched shrieks and intolerable whining, (preserving one’s mental health is of the utmost importance), because despite our differences, we all dance to the same tune.