It’s late at night. A tiny baby cockroach scuttles past me and pauses within reach on my floor. I search for a sock to grab it (my plan was to flush it down the toilet). My slow motion reflexes, however, are no match for its ninja disappearing act skills. I do a search on the internet and discover the horrible truth.
The horrible truth is . . . we all have cockroaches. The White House has them. Martha Stewart’s house has them (cockroaches can survive almost anything, even Martha’s frigid personality). My house has them. Your house has them. (The only kitchen or home that doesn’t have them is the one on the space shuttle.)
We might think of ourselves as kings of our castles, but the cockroach is the ultimate unwanted guest we just can’t get rid of. Just read up about his noctural jaunts all over your house and kitchen in this article by an entomologist Hal Coleman. Click here for the article. Just be warned that you won’t find it pleasant.
Nevertheless, living in space to avoid cockroaches altogether doesn’t sound very appealing either. In spite of our unwanted, creepy and nearly impossible to kill stowaways, WE manage to survive. Martha Stewart still leaves a giant bowl of lemons on her kitchen table. Entomologists don’t sleep with a bottle of Raid under their pillows. I’m not about to scrub every inch of my future kitchen with a toothbrush soaked in bleach. That wouldn’t work anyway. The cockroach is an unstoppable noctural ninja just trying to survive like we are.
Still, I have to admit I was delighted when I saw one giant cockroach caught in a black widow’s web under my trash can. I applauded as she bound him with her silk threads and hauled him up for a long leisurely dinner.
In closing, here’s a poem that describes with starting accuracy the noctural activities of the roaches in your home. It’s one of four poems about insects under the title Nursey Rhymes for the Tender Hearted by Christopher Morley.
Scuttle, scuttle, little roach—
How you run when I approach:
Up above the pantry shelf,
Hastening to secrete yourself.
Most adventurous of vermin,
How I wish I could determine
How you spend your hours of ease,
Perhaps reclining on the cheese.
Cook has gone, and all is dark—
Then the kitchen is your park:
In the garbage heap that she leaves
Do you browse among the tea leaves?
How delightful to suspect
All the places you have trekked:
Does your long antenna whisk its
Gentle tip across the biscuits?
Do you linger, little soul,
Drowsing in our sugar bowl?
Or, abandonment most utter,
Shake a shimmy on the butter?
Do you chant your simple tunes
Swimming in the baby’s prunes?
Then, when dawn comes, do you slink
Homeward to the kitchen sink?
Timid roach, why be so shy?
We are brothers, thou and I.
In the midnight, like yourself,
I explore the pantry shelf!