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Male ladybugs band together to reclaim machismo

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Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 12:00 pm

By Sonya Campbell

Harker Heights Herald

In years past, I've found newsrooms to be filled with practical jokers on April 1 - myself being among them.

Back in the good ol' days, my cohorts in crime and I managed to pull off everything from gluing stuff to each other's desks (with rubber cement) to relocating our boss' office to the restroom.

Amazingly, no one was fired for either prank.

Years later, however, I worked with a sports editor who nearly wrote himself out of a job.

He penned a column informing his readers he accepted a position elsewhere and was bidding everyone adieu.

The truth only surfaced at the end of his column, where he revealed the entire scenario was fiction - an April Fool's Day prank.

But the joke was on him.

The column jumped to a second page - one the newspaper's Human Resources Department didn't see.

The writer later learned the department had only read the first part of his column and had begun the process of preparing for his departure.

I never went that far with a prank at work. But there is something I have always wanted to do - write an April Fool's Day story about a class-action suit filed on behalf of male ladybugs.

In the suit, they would argue that although "ladybugs" are generally thought to be a sign of good fortune or luck, that sentiment does not apply to the male of the species.

They could contend that for nearly 500 years, they have had to bear the brunt of having their masculinity watered down by the very essence of their name - to the point people often wonder whether there is such a thing as a male ladybug.

They would argue that unlike "A Boy Named Sue" in the classic Johnny Cash song, male ladybugs have been unable to embrace their moniker and soar to new heights.

In fact, they could argue even the use of the word "bug" is incorrect.

Ladybugs aren't really bugs. They are beetles, the suit would claim.

Their investigation into the matter also revealed the Europeans initially called ladybugs "ladybird beetles." Americans later changed it to ladybugs.

They also point to a legend that ultimately ends with ladybugs going by the name "Mary beetles" in Germany, which caused further embarrassment on the downtrodden insect.

On the bright side, the legend has it that farmers in the Middle Ages prayed to the Blessed Lady, the Virgin Mary, for pests to stop plaguing their crops and soon after ladybugs appeared in the fields and saved the crops. Hence the "Mary" reference.

The fact that it is difficult to tell the males from the females is another sore point.

The key difference? The girls are bigger than the guys.

"Of course," said one obviously disgruntled male ladybug.

A final slap in the face comes in the form of color.

Various types of ladybugs sport various colors - red, orange, yellow and for a particularly unlucky few - pink.

Saying they can take no more, male ladybugs are seeking to cast off their name in favor of a moniker of a different sort.

From this day forward they shall forever be known as the symbol ...

Sonya Campbell is editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact her at sonyas@kdhnews.com or (254) 7557. Follow her on Twitter at KDHheightseditor.

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