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DOODLE AND DOODLE BUGS

 

Robert E. Duncan, Phi Sigma ‘14, Grand Presiding Senior 21st & 22nd Grand Chapters, delivered at the 21st Grand Chapter June 17, 1919.  I have taken some excerpts from Brother Duncan's article as published in the December 1919 edition of the Phi Chi Quarterly.  Editor Note:

Luckie, as mentioned was Lorenzo Foster Luckie, Nu '10, Grand Presiding Senior at the 15th Grand Chapter in 1910 at Louisville. Cicindela Patruela was named in 1825 by a Frenchman Dewed.

DOODLE-- You have read of spoken of and have often been an impersonator of, but I dare say, you have never realm found out much about it.  The reason is because it is not defined as used in Phi Chi, in the books or records of common knowledge.

Luckie, a Past Grand Presiding Senior, brought it to Phi Chi and told about it in a toast at the Grand Chapter banquet in Louisville, 1910.  He said the most enthusiastic thing he did as a child was to fish "doodle bugs' and so he coined the word to mean ENTHUSIASM, to mean according to the dictionary, "intense or rapturous feeling with display, either habitual or in a particular case, by individuals or by masses, especially, as exhibited in ardent admiration or zeal for a person principle, or cause; zealous admiration, earnestness, fervor. “  Luckie also went on and stated that everything worthwhile in the world has been accomplished through enthusiasm.  “In the early centuries the martyr went to the stake because of his religious zeal; great generals of the world won their battles because of the enthusiasm they had for the cause or which they fought.  "Enthusiasm enables the artist to catch the blue of the sky, the crimson flush of autumn leaves, the golden rays of the beaming surf or the silvery beams of the moon and transfer them to canvas.”

“Enthusiasm causes the poet to word the songs of the birds or the whisper of the wandering breeze, or to paint a word picture of the clouds, or to repeat the heart throbs that lie so deep within the human breast.  Enthusiasm causes the musician to try to catch the three of angel harps, the accompaniment of the mother’s lullaby or the music of the spheres.  Enthusiasm causes the mother as she looks upon the face of her first born to see the invisible angel hand that dimpled its little chisels and to hear love's nesting song sounding sweet and strong above the din.  Enthusiasm causes a man to seek his mate, to make the home.  Enthusiasm shall some day draw all men of all creeds together and shall cause thorn to look upon each other as brothers, shall cause the sword to be sheaved forever, and the battleships to be converted into monster ships of commerce."

Luckie then gave us the word which expresses well what the Greeks describes as "A God within us", and Phi Chis have found that it quickens, illumines, inspires—it, times three, equals the elixir of life.  It stirs our pulse, brightens our eyes, and quickens our steps.  It alone has made it possible for us to climb the ladder of progress with its steep rounds to the position we now hold.

Luckie also suggested a symbol for Phi Chi Enthusiasm but did not visualize it.  I believe in signs and symbols, so I started to search for information about the bug which he claimed he used to fish for.  After consulting almost every conceivable source, I was informed that there were two groups of insects to which the name "doodle" was applied: one, the larvae of the antlion of the family of myrmeleondae; the other, the larvae of the tiger-beetle, of the family of cicindelidae.

The larvae or worm stage of the tiger beetle, of which there are one hundred and fifty species in this country, makes a vertical burrow, more or less straight in roads and pathways.  The larva lies in its burrow usually with its head in the opening waiting for any unwary small insect that might approach.  Somewhere about the middle of its back or toward the tail end there is a hump which has several up-curving spines which enable the creature to take hold of the walls of the burrow so that it will not be so liable to be jerked out should it encounter an insect of greater strength than itself, and it also enables it to drag its victim down into the burrow to devour it at leisure.  When alarmed by the approaching tread of a person, the larva will retreat to the bottom of the burrow and as one walks along he may see, if he is watchful, that these little holes suddenly appear in front of him; he could not see them when they were plugged by the dirt-colored head of the larva.  The holes become visible only when the creature drops down into the burrow.

The larva when grown changes to a pupa, and then to an adult type beetle.  The variety as illustrated is greenish in color with metallic and purplish reflections, marked with white dots and stripes.  They abound in sunny paths and sandy shores of rivers, ponds, and the ocean flying and running swiftly and are thus very difficult to capture.  The adult tiger-beetle of all varieties is very graceful and beautiful.

I have given you a rather detailed description of the insects, “Doodle Bugs," but purposely, believing that you have been and are interested in the derivation and development of Phi Chi’s word for ENTHUSIASM, also for another reason as I have this evening Suggested that we have a symbol for our work.  On Founders’ Day of this year before Beta Delta Chapter at their banquet, I suggested that the larva of the antlion be used as a design for our symbol of DOODLE because of its uniform color and energetic life.  I forwarded a copy of my talk to our Grand Secretary, “T.B.", and he came back and suggested the adult tiger-beetle for the design because of its beauty and structure; he also suggested that the design be used for a convention badge and me Creek letters Φ X, be engraved on the wings of the bug design.

“T.B.'s” suggestion is good and if our symbol for DOODLE it be, then let the sight of it re-inoculate us, as it were, with what it would signify, literally set our minds on fire, a symbol that will again and again tend to declare that great truth that DOODLE is POWER, make us believe it, dream it; GO FORTH AND CARRY IT INTO ACTION.

A symbol that will tend to create as much for us as a body as did the insignia of the wild cat for the Wild Cat Division of our victorious army; for it is said that it was the wild cat that made them wild.

DOODLE, our word for ENTHUSIASM.  DOODLE BUG our symbol for DOODLE.  Let it be a symbol to be followed with every atom of YOU, for where it goes things will be accomplished.

This page was last updated on: March 26, 2014
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