Banking on Disgust

July 19, 2010 at 10:59 am 6 comments

Years ago, I had my own special strategy when I left valuables in my car. I kept a box of tampons in the console between the two front seats. If I had to leave money or jewelry in my vehicle, I would bury it in that box. If anyone wanted to steal from me, they would actually have to touch a tampon to do so.

Now these are unused tampons, of course, but from the faces I have spied on various male acquaintances when their significant others requested a “special pick up” from the grocery store, I was pretty confident the mere notion of a tampon would be deterrent enough.

I was banking on disgust.

A couple of months ago, when hiking Old Rag, our group of hikers ran into a dung beetle.

Old Rag - Beetle with Dung
Dung Beetle at Old Rag

I was actually unaware that dung beetles lived in North America. I had thought they were only found in Africa, when in fact, they inhabit all the continents except Antartica. While reading to rectify my dung beetle misconceptions, I ran across a cute Aesop fable called THE DUNG BEETLE AND THE EAGLE.

Basically, a beetle got pretty darn miffed at an eagle for brutally devouring a hare. To retaliate, the beetle ransacked the eagle’s nest and destroyed all its eggs. The eagle made another nest, this one higher and safer. But never underestimate a grudge! The beetle found that as well and once again the eggs were destroyed. The next time, the eagle had to step up his game. Men are always having to protect their crotches from the likes of irate knees or toddlers with whiffleball bats. So what safer place could there be than the lap of the almighty Zeus himself?!?

So here’s this little beetle. If he wanted to destroy his nemesis’ eggs, he would have to take on the King of the Gods. The King of the Gods! He’s a tiny beetle!!! Zeus is HUGE, not to mention he has a whole arsenal of lightening bolts at his disposal! There was only one thing the beetle could do.

He banked on disgust. 🙂

…he stuffed himself with dung and went straight up to Zeus and flew right into his face. At the sight of this filthy creature, Zeus was startled and leaped to his feet, forgetting that he held the eagle’s eggs inside his lap. As a result, the eggs were broken once again.

— “THE DUNG BEETLE AND THE EAGLE” translated by Laura Gibbs

P.S. It’s all a happy ending, I suppose. I never had anyone infiltrate my tampon box and run off with my jewelry. Meanwhile, Zeus changed the eagle’s nesting season to when the beetle was harmlessly hibernating underground. The eagle’s eggs were safe for centuries. That is…until the beetle finally mastered DDT.

Entry filed under: Dung Beetle, Hiking, Old Rag, poo, Tampon.

Hearts in Nature: Flamingos My Sister, Myself and Our Underwear on

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. roketman  |  July 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Note to self: Don’t mess with dung beetles…..or tampons!

  • 2. Kristina  |  July 19, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I realize this is pretty filthy and extremely juvenile, but I have to really laugh to myself at the subliminal connection between tampons and Old Rag…

  • 3. chriggy  |  July 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    It’s not so much that the tampons themselves disgust us, as much as we just don’t want to be seen in public holding a box of them. 🙂

  • 4. geekhiker  |  July 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    So, have dung beetles expanded their range of birds they want to take out, and have gone to work for BP?

    (Low, I know, but I couldn’t resist.)

  • 5. Clint  |  July 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    RE: The Zeus Story:
    that’s the most complicated abortion procedure EVAR

  • 6. Kitty  |  July 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

    First of all, I didn’t make the connection to Old Rag and tampons until reading the comments–but that is pretty funny!

    Second of all, what a great idea for keeping valuables in your car! Although now you know you just gave away your secret! All those car thieves who read this post are now going to go rummaging in every tampon box they find, probably. Way to go!

    Finally, that fable is great. I’ve never heard that one, although Aesop seemed to write a fable to explain just about any natural occurrence, so why not write one to explain why dung beetles are covered in dung (even though they aren’t… they just roll it), AND why eagles nest so high in the trees. Leave it to Aesop!

    by the way, I had no idea dung beetles like the one shown lived in North America, either! I mean, I subconsciously did since we’re not wading through feces… BUT really?! Cool! Where’s Old Rag? I kinda wanna see one!!


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