The Stink Bug and the Lady Bug

One year when fall came and there was a nip in the air, a stink bug and a ladybug landed more or less at the same time on a window of a house with a brand-new furnace in the basement.

“I’m going in,” said the stink bug. “It’s getting cold out here and I don’t want to be caught in the first frost of the season.”

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” said the ladybug.

“Why not?”

“Because the housewife within will find you abhorrent. You have a terrible, awful offensive name.”

“What’s in a name?” quoth the stink bug, a saying he had picked up while hanging out in a summer stock theatre.

“Well, it’s not everything, but you’re also unpleasant to look at, and . . .”


“You stink, as the name implies.”

“Pfft,” the stink bug. “Like coffee and beer, I’m an acquired taste.”

“You’d better stay here and let me try first,” the ladybug said, as she demurely squeezed between the window sashes.

The stink bug hesitated for a moment, decided his claim to the warmth of the house was just as good as hers, and followed her inside. Soon they were comfortable and cozy, and dozed off on either side of the window sill.

The woman of the house came along and, seeing the ladybug, extended a delicate finger to the insect and invited her to crawl upon it. “You are such a cute little thing!” she gushed, and the ladybug flapped its red wings with their fashionable black spots in appreciation of the compliment. “You aren’t thinking of staying here for the winter, are you?” the woman said as she cocked her head and pursed her lips in wry little moue, to make plain to the ladybug that she was being facetious.

The ladybug cleared her throat and nodded towards the stink bug with an expression of distaste. When the woman saw the stink bug she gently lowered the ladybug back onto the sill, took a pink tissue from her pocket, and smooshed the stink bug to its death.

Moral: It’s an ill wind that blows an odious comparison your way.

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