Try not to think about roaches


There's a reason you hear that scary music in the background. (Photo courtesy of; scary music courtesy of yearstricken's brain. Try listening harder if you can't hear it; I can.)

I’ve been giving some thought to cockroaches lately. (Notice that I didn’t begin as I so often do with something like, “Roaches are on my mind.” That is too creepy, and I would then plant a disturbing image in your mind that would be very difficult to get rid of, especially if you have ever seen Planet Earth: Caves on the Discovery Channel or on video. If you kept your eyes open during the scene in the cave that was filled with millions of roaches feasting on bat guano, you probably slept with a can of RAID beside your bed for at least a week, or possibly for the rest of your life, if you’re like me. We don’t have a lot of bat guano lying around in our bedroom, but roaches will eat just about anything. And for all I know, as I lie in bed, I may very well look like a pile of bat guano. It’s one of those questions that I find hard to ask my husband.)


Why am I using up my limited number of brain cells thinking about roaches? I blame it on my first grade teacher at Ascarte Elementary School, Mrs. Severe. (Yes, that was her real name; and no, she was not severe.) She has always been my favorite teacher because she taught me to read. During that time, the public school system provided education starting from first grade, not kindergarten. In the fall of the year I turned five, mother felt it was time I started school. She had put up with me all day for five years; now it was someone else’s turn. So, the school allowed me to start, with the proviso that I had to keep up.


Although my sister was 18 months older, she was one grade ahead of me because she was born in the middle of the year, and I was born in the beginning.  However, just as she wanted to keep a wide space between us when we shared a double bed, having just one grade between us was not wide enough for her, so she skipped a grade. We always attribute that to the fact that she is smart, but I vaguely remember that it had something to do with “cooties.” Mine, I believe.


But back to roaches. I lived in Okinawa, Japan for a number of years, so I am familiar with the small, scurrying kind, as well as the large, flying ones. But recently I read this article about the leaproach. This roach can leap a distance of 50 times its body length, has “extreme” bulging eyes, and its favorite food is grasshopper poop. Which leads to the important question: why I am obsessing over a leaping roach that lives in South Africa?


Maybe watching all those horror movies as a child created the need for the adrenaline rush that can only come through an adventure in which I face terror (or peek through my fingers at it) without backing down. Right before I am overwhelmed or overtaken, I escape and live to tell about it. Now, when I read an article about something that can scare or startle me, like leaproaches, my imagination takes over. Sure that peaceful-looking field, humming with grasshoppers, looks like a nice place to take a walk. But, folks, there are tens of thousands of roaches in there. Don’t look now, but they’re starting to leap! Somehow I always escape, finish reading the article, and not only live to tell about it, but live to write about it as well.


22 thoughts on “Try not to think about roaches

  1. I’ve only read the first paragraph so far and I’m already drawn in (ALSO, so far, I’m the first commenter but I probably won’t by the end of it. People racing to be the first commenter is surely a mark of popularity/fame on your part ahaha :D) by your wonderful opening! You always start your pieces in such enticing ways!

    Woah, I always wanted to go to Okinawa, was it as lovely as it’s supposed to be? I love Japan (I say so at the risk of sounding Wapanese, but I assure you whole-heartedly that I am no such thing!).

    That cockroach is formidable indeed! Perhaps it feeds on grasshopper faeces in the hope that it will one day be one of them. It doesn’t look dissimilar to one, I must admit.

    • I’m glad you liked the post. I always appreciate your comments. Okinawa was lovely; the people are so friendly, the beaches beautiful, and the weather mild. I’m glad you love Japan. I do, too. I actually found the article fascinating – that’s an incredible leap for such a small creature.

  2. Coincidentally, I typed the question “What are the best foods to have on hand in case of a nuclear war? into Google yesterday (I was feeling inspired by Korea’s new leadership). Wikipedia popped up with an article on cockroaches. My son is terrified of cockroaches so it is best he doesn’t survive a nuclear war.

    • So, roaches were on your mind, too. That is you were also thinking about roaches. I guess it’s true that great minds think alike. : ) They say that roaches can endure just about anything. I guess if you have to eat poop all day, you just learn to put up with whatever come your way.

    • Sorry to have disturbed your meal. They do serve a purpose in the order of things. And I’m thankful for that; I’d just like them to serve that purpose somewhere else, not in my vicinity.

  3. I hate, hate, hate roaches! We have the HUGE Brazilian flying ones here, which I notice always seem to want to land somewhere on my head! Now excuse me while I get a poofy towel to cover myself….

  4. How did you manage to be bright and breezy and still manage to scare the felt out of me over roaches? You really have a talent for the twist that will get you at the end!

    Where I live we have palmetto bugs (tiny roaches), waterbugs (the grandaddy kind), and the flying cockroach.

    Because insects can and do migrate, I am now going to start worrying about leaproaches. In advance. Thanks. ; )

  5. The exterminator is due. Now, you’ve got me watching my step. Don’t turn the lights in the kitchen on too fast. Look before you step in the shower. Careful with that stack of books on the floor.
    I’m going to call the exterminator first thing in the morning.

      • riatarded

        We used to have a green colored bin sort of thing to trap insects during the monsoon season because otherwise they used to infest the whole place.

        One rainy afternoon, as a 3 year old, I decided to ‘explore’ and pried open the box. You see, the box was really pretty for some reason, though why they would sell ornate trap boxes is beyond me. Anyways, the moment I opened it, out came a ton of roaches and flying ones at that! YUCK!

        The memory still makes me shudder!

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