Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Roaches and Me

Unless you have company over, it is only sporting to kill a cockroach with a rubber band. It has been nine or ten shots since my last direct hit, but I feel that using a rolled up newspaper, gasoline and matches, or a suitcase full of sex toys gives me an unfair advantage.

To arrive at this conclusion, I had to deal with my instinctive fear of the little brownish-black aliens. On Saturdays, around four in the morning, I would stagger into the kitchen for a cold grape Gatorade only to find a living blotch on the floor. I would jump into a murderous hysteria, flinging books and magazines at him to remove his plague-ridden insect consciousness from my home. Then, once killed, I would slide his body-goo under some other garbage and begin to forget him. This is what an upper-middle class upbringing did to me -- until, through repetition, I became somewhat desensitized to the roach's brand of ugly.

And I discovered this:

As a human, I have access to poison gel bait. I can kill a hundred cockroaches at will. But they, as a species, are a nearly invincible opponent, so it becomes unnecessary and impractical to kill every roach I see. Where there is one roach, there are a thousand. Killing is superfluous. Maiming, maybe not. Maybe maiming with a rubber band sends a chemical message to the other nine hundred ninety-nine. A chemical message of my machismo.

After all, it takes skill and luck to maim due to the cockroach's sheer speed. A quick, smart one will give me one good shot with a good thick rubber band, and if I miss, even by an antennae-length, it's under the radiator or under the stove before I can pull the second rubber band back.

They are God's creation, like me.

And so our rubber band dance goes on and on...



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