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well you're a-scairt of it aren't you?
august 21, 2001
garden centipede

I once thought, when I was very young...

...that color was a recent invention and before the mid-1940s the world was black and white.

...that trombonists had to swallow that long trombone slide.

...that Gloria Steinem's name was Glorious Diamond.

...that men who wore suits and ties were an entirely separate species from farmers.

...that presidential candidate Robert Kennedy and Bob Kennedy, the local seller of woodstoves, were one and the same.

...that the proper name for centipede was "scairt."

I thought that about centipedes because one time when I was about 5 years old, my brother took me around the pasture lifting up old barn boards to show me all the critters living under them. The metallic-looking centipedes were always the first to scramble away and hide.

"See those?" he said. "Those are called scairts."

"Scairts? Why?"

"Well, you're a-scairt of them, aren't you?"

Photo: Lithobius forficatus, the common garden centipede
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