“Almost two trillion insects are killed by being splattered on Dutch cars every year, new research has found.” –The Telegraph

Jim Nicholson stood by a 1987 Datsun with a clicker. The clicker used to sound like a cricket, but as the weeks wore on, it sounded more and more like his life going by.

“This is an extremely important job,” his boss, the ever-scratching Mays Corning had said when he’d first handed Jim the clicker. “I wouldn’t entrust this to just anybody.” Mays scratched behind his ear, then under his chin. He continued, “Here’s your map. Count the dead insects on cars. Make me proud.”

And now Jim was outside a diner near Concrete, Washington, counting the splats on the windshields and front fenders. He refused to care that his boss had sent him off to do busy work, no doubt trying to get him to quit. Forget about him. He would do the job the best he could do, whether it mattered to anybody else or not. He would count every mosquito, every gnat, every fly, every stinking bug.

Then he thought about it. He didn’t have to count every stinking bug. If he only counted the bugs on the license plates, he could multiply them out to get a body count for the car. If he kept track of the type of cars he saw, he could accurately calculate the front surface of the car. He would be able to count more dead bugs, and therefore cover more territory in a shorter time.

When he finally returned to the office, the job done to the best of his ability “on a fast track basis,” his boss scratched his ribs, examined Jim’s report, and, finally, gave Jim a whopping big grin. “I knew there was something special about you. I’ve sent dozens of people out on this assignment, and you’re the only one who did it correctly. You did such a great job, we’re sending you to the Netherlands. The Dutch need serious help counting their bugs.”

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