Cockroaches seem to inhabit a different realm of this kingdom
When my landlord showed me my current apartment two years ago, I was instantly sold. It wasn’t the cozy kitchen or the unit’s washer and dryer (all three of which are nice), it was the deep dark, mahogany floors.
The floor was a little beaten up, but it was part of the character of the building, which was pushing 100 years old. I like old buildings and I like wood floors.
What I don’t like, however, are the rodent-sized cockroaches that come with these things.
For the record, I like bugs. As gross as they are, they’re interesting looking, and Louisiana is chock-full of strange and creepy critters that fly, crawl and slither.
Cockroaches seem to inhabit a different realm of this kingdom, though.
My girlfriend has a particular variety of entomophobia (or a fear of insects) that is pretty bad. As a result, we have an entire arsenal of Raid products under our kitchen sink to exterminate ants, cockroaches, wasps, other “flying insects,” spiders and scorpions.
Her combative approach to this fear has left her emboldened. Now, when she sees a cockroach scuttling along the floor, she doesn’t flee in terror, but instead blasts the thing with shower of chemical weapons.
Or she did, until recently.
A few weeks ago she found a cockroach scurrying along the top of the bedroom closet door. She was determined to see the thing dead. But she had to be careful, because Raid doesn’t smell particularly great and nobody wants it all over their clothes, closet doors or floors. (Military leaders recognize this as collateral damage.)
Like a sniper settling into position, she took aim at the unsuspecting creature from about 4 feet away and gave it a well-aimed blast.
Stunned, the cockroach started to scurry away. Realizing its options were limited on top of the closet door, it stopped, pivoted and made an angry assault downward, sputtering its wings as its fat body floated toward us.
Unaware that the damn things could fly, we both screamed and ran.
“La Venganza de la Cucaracha.”
I came back and applied a liberal dosage of Raid after she and our two dogs settled down.
Generally, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for insects – they’re not the most cuddly, after all – but I don’t like watching anything die a slow, miserable death. While effective, Raid is cruel. Unless they are completely coated in the stuff, the cockroaches can lie on their backs for hours, twitching and writhing in misery.
This sympathy isn’t totally misplaced. In the Tokuyama Zoo, in Japan, cockroach “petting sessions” are available to children and adults to rebrand the creatures from disgusting to delightful, according to a New Yorker article. Contrary to popular opinion, the creatures are not disease carriers, nor do they hunger for human flesh, the article states. Rather, they perform some beneficial bottom feeder functions in our human ecosystems.
More locally, in Plano, Texas, there’s the Cockroach Hall of Fame, where visitors can meet with famed pianist “Liberoachie” or television host “David Letteroach.”
I don’t know. I’m not quite there yet.
Until we reach the human-cockroach symbiosis, I’m content to keep my can of Raid at the ready.