Sure, Oak Park has had its share of blunders, boondoggles, fiascos, fandangos, and just plain embarrassments. But the events (or should I say non-events?) of the past few weeks must have poor old Papa H. and our other Oak Park forbears spinning in their collective ever-afters. Put simply, where are the much anticipated billions and billions of 17-year cicadas? Endless friendly TV news features and chirpy newspaper articles have had the local brethren, young and not-so alike, fairly trembling with anticipation over those beady little bloodshot bug-eyes to appear.
So far, no dice. Oh, there has been the occasional report of a schoolkid sighting one or two of the little buggers on the sidewalk, but except for the rare whispered report of a solitary tree or two fairly well covered (have you heard about the one on south Home Avenue, for instance?), you have to venture over to Proska Park in Berwyn to see a real infestation. Berwyn, for Pete’s sake! What’s the matter with us?
Well, in the interest of answering that pesky question, I’ll tell you what’s the matter with us! Here are “The Top 10 Reasons the Cicadas Have Forsaken ‘Good Old Oak Park’ (that’s ‘GOOP’ for short)”:
10) Oak Park village ordinance restricts the number of pets per residence to one pigeon, two rabbits, three dogs, four cats, or 11 cicadas.
9) After 17 years, it’s finally dawned on them that the proposed Cicada Condo Complex in the Colt Building is never going to happen.
8) They’ve swarmed Madison Street in Forest Park to take advantage of the re-invigorated shopping district.
7) They tired of waiting for the Forestry Division of Public Works to come up with a list of approved tree limbs to affix themselves to.
6) Parking regulations.
5) They’ve always preferred the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
4) That whole “mate and die only on even/odd days by street address” rule really ticked them off.
3) Relocated to Berwyn for its superior “arboreal diversity.”
2) The meeting place they selected 17 years ago? The Marion Street mall.
And the Number 1 reason the cicadas have forsaken Oak Park:
They can’t afford the property tax.