Cicada Pee

Just for fun, let’s play around with active/passive voices.

This afternoon, we were sitting under a tree, enjoying the breeze and digesting our lunches, when a cicada peed on my husband’s head.

This is not a cicada. This is a cute little ladybug. Cicadas are too ugly.

A cicada peed on my husband’s head.

This is clear and direct and probably paints more than enough of a picture for most folks. But just in case it doesn’t, cicadas are hideous, grey creatures with bulgy eyes, nasty spindly legs and over-sized translucent wings. The males spend their lives chasing the females, as happens with most species, but their chosen serenade is a high pitched screechy buzz that, when the horny little buggers really get going, will make you want to tear your ears off or bury your head in a bucket of sand. (Wikikpedia, you are way off the mark calling this a “clicking sound”.) They have a nasty proboscis type appendage they use to suck sap out of trees and said sap becomes cicada pee. If you happen to step on a dead cicada, the resulting crunch will travel up your spine like a jolt of lightning and leave you quivering and slightly nauseated.

Now let’s try the passive voice.

My husband’s head was peed upon by a cicada.

In this case, my husband’s head has been spotlighted as the victim and the repulsive cicada has been relegated to the back seat where he belongs. On a positive note, the use of the delightful “upon” is clearly called for by the passive voice and has given the sentence a certain lilt lacked by the active voice. But the passive has also given the sentence a formality that the active didn’t have. It took the punch out of the pee, so to speak. (The pee had the punch taken out of it?)

Japanese people generally love cicadas and their song is called a sentimental hallmark of summer. My husband used to catch them and stick them in my face saying, “Look! Isn’t it cute?” He knows better now.

The little wretches are hated by me…actively.


9 thoughts on “Cicada Pee”

  1. Interesting! I didn’t know cicadas peed. When I was in Japan, I was surprised by how kids loved to pick up the shells to play with. Cute? Not really… but at least they don’t bite us like those “ka”, right?

    1. I didn’t know either until it happened. There’s a rather gross video of the phenomenon on Youtube but I thought that a bit tacky for a blog post.

      This year has been so warm that the dreadful “ka” are still biting in October. Yuck!

  2. I like 蝉 (cicadas), actually.
    Even though, I’ve been peed on by one once, too.

    >They have a nasty proboscis type appendage they use to suck sap out of trees

    Sometimes, if you catch one, they seem to mistake your arm for their favorite tree…and try to drill for sap.
    A bit painful, that is.

  3. I have been peed of constantly like rain for the past four weeks. You can see the pee come down out of the trees like drops of rain quite regular and it has kept my garden alive over the past few weeks as there was no rain save the cicadas efforts. I can’t really concentrate enough to write about the raucous R&B

    1. so i found out what is happening …. it is not pee (Damm it!) it is juice from my trees and the cicadas suck out the sap and spew out the overflow that they can’t handle … and like the romans they do it all again and again eat and vomit eat and vomit maybe I feel better or should I?

      1. Love the image of a cicada orgy. I guess that’s what they have to screech about.

        There are some truly disturbing images of cicada pee on Youtube if you really want to get grossed out.

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