Glyph of the word 'huoyu'.


  • (n.) cricket
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

Tomi o ei i Keli: Nemilele o Huoyu.
“My name is Keli: Killer of Crickets.”


Here’s Keli in what I call her cricket-killing crouch:

Keli crouched.

She isn’t actually after a cricket in this picture (she’s just fascinated by the new box I gave her. She’s a big fan of boxes), but this is what she looks like when she is. See, first she’ll spy it. Then she stalks it and smacks at it with her paw. When it’s been disabled and can no longer job, she sits over it and stares at it (just like this!), and swishes her tail back and forth. When it finally stops moving completely, she loses interest and meows at me.

I’ve had rather a tangled history with crickets. In the house I lived in for much of my life, crickets would frequently wander in and hop around. I never gave a thought to them one way or the other.

One night, though, I was chatting with someone on AOL (remember when that was the thing to do? [Hmm… Perhaps if you’re not my age older, you don’t…]), and I spied a cricket to my right. I relayed this information, and my correspondant said that I should kill it. Being a teenage boy, this seemed like a sensible course of action, so I set about it.

Within arm’s reach was a large bookshelf. On the shelf was a book I was reading at the time (War and Peace), and it was pretty hefty (1,136 pages, hardback). So I picked it up, held it about four feet above the poor cricket, and let it drop. A moment later, I bent over, picked up the book, and…

…the cricket hopped away!

I took this as a sign. I vowed then and there to do what I could for crickets, which I came to realize are charming creatures.

A few years later, in college, I was living at the infamous co-op known as Casa Zimbabwe. For some reason, a group of Czars got it in their heads to make chocolate covered crickets. As a conscientious objector, I declined to participate.

The day after, though, on my way to class, I did what I did everyday: I went to the kitchen to grab a handful of Ghirardelli chocolate chips. When I tossed them into my mouth, something felt strange. It felt like a clump of hair had made it into mouth. I went to the sink and went to spit it out, and that’s when I felt a little leg on my tongue. I somehow managed not to throw up, but even so, I spit everything out, and there was a dead cricket. Apparently during the chocolate-covered cricket fest, one had made its way into the common chocolate chip bag. The whole event certainly put a kink in my day.

Fast forward to today, and I currently live in a cricket refuge. Crickets come from miles around to get out from the cold and into my nice warm house (why, I don’t know). I wasn’t bothered by this, but Erin, it turns out (and for reasons I can’t begin to fathom), is terrified of crickets. She doesn’t like them, and is actually disturbed by their presence in the house. To accommodate this peculiarity, I made a cricket catcher so that I could catch them up and transport them outside.

Things were going on quite merrily until Keli came along. Keli sees crickets as little toys, and has feels no remorse when she torments and kills them. I will often wake up and go downstairs to find a trail of fresh cricket corpses. Their losses sadden me, but what could I do? I save those crickets that I can find first, but they’re not many. I would love to find a way to keep the crickets from entering the house—now for their own good. I haven’t hit upon a successful strategy yet, though.

So that is me and crickets. I really do think they’re charming creatures, and I don’t wish them harm. Despite my best intentions, though, harm seems to come to them through me. What an odd life this is…

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5 Responses to “Huoyu”

  1. Ka kavaka Richard Littauer ti:

    Just wanted to say that I’m starting to judge the weeks as passing by the Happy Caturday! notice. Thanks.

    Also – sad times about the crickets. I used to feed them to my lizard. It drove me crazy when they lived and tweeted from the undergrowth of his cage for days…

    Do crickets tweet?

  2. Ka kavaka Sylvia Sotomayor ti:

    What Keli is to crickets, DC is to lizards. And I like lizards!

  3. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    @Richard: I’d say they chirp. Some crickets tweet, but only the more famous ones.

    @Sylvia: Oh no! I took like lizards. I tell ya’, what can you do with animals? They don’t listen to reason.

  4. Ka kavaka Nissa Annakindt ti:

    I don’t mind when my cats kill crickets— it’s when they kill a nearly grown-up duckling that they really tick me off….

    I think ‘huoyu’ is a cool word for cricket, by the way.

  5. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    @DJP: Ugh, how embarrassing… I of course meant to write “I too like lizards”. This problem I have (whatever it is) is just getting worse…

    @Nissa: Awww… Not ducklings! Now I’m sad. :(

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