A Tree Cricket Walked Into A Bar


I just heard an audio story on the show Radiolab about tree crickets.  Everybody knows that a male peacock uses its tail feathers to attract a mate. The biggest and brightest plumage gets the best hens.  Tree crickets have a similar system but they are all about the loudest and longest song. It’s all about that chirp.
Every evening, the crickets come out and sing for the ladies.  The best singers get the best mates and their genetic material is passed on.  It seems safe to assume that the lousy singers don’t get to reproduce and their line ends.  However, some sneaky little crickets figured out how to cheat the system. There are quiet singers that learned how to use a leaf to build a sound baffle.  They get down inside the leaf and it becomes a megaphone that broadcasts their song far and wide for all the fine, young crickets to hear.  Scientists have found that the quiet crickets that sing into the megaphones can reproduce as effectively as the absolute best singers.  
This made me think about a guy that I know.  He reached a certain point in life and realized that he didn’t have a lot going for him.  He did not do well in school because goofing off was more important than academics. He had no real-life skills.  To say he wasn’t athletic would be a compliment.  He was so uncoordinated that he was picked last when choosing teams for a game of charades. This guy had nothing going for him.  So he found an old guitar and learned how to play Summer of ‘69.  He found he was able to carry a tune better than a sieve carries water.  When he could remember enough of the words to get through the song, he headed down to the local dive bar. He played that song and it wasn’t half bad.  Sure enough, there was a cricket in the audience that fell for the trick.  They are still together.  He no longer plays the guitar but he likes to sing along real loud with the radio in his truck.  

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