The cockroach conundrum


I hate bugs.

I really, really hate bugs.

I will scream about a tiny spider. I will lose my mind if something bigger crawls over. Unfortunately, I live in the South, where bigger is better. Including the beetles.

When I started working again two years ago, my first splurge was to get pest control. I hated the cost and the thought of chemicals seeping around, but the peace of mind outweighed the negatives. For the first time since I moved south I could get up in the middle of night to get a glass of water without cringing the whole way in case I was unpleasantly surprised. (Happened before.) Plus, if I ever were to see a bug I’d freak out and, in a fit of self-defense, unleash half a can of industrial-strength spray on it.

It was better if I didn’t get involved.

Then the other day, I noticed a cockroachy-type thing. I’m no entomologist, but it was scary: big . . . and black . . . and scaly. With long, unfriendly antennae and legs that looked like they could propel it onto my ankle very quickly. I jumped, screamed, and slammed the garage door. I figured the chemical barrier around the house would take care of it like usual, right?

It was still in the same spot the next day. So, it must have died crossing the barrier.

Then it twitched.

Weird. I gave it a wide berth.

The following day I saw it again. One of its legs was off. It was still twitching. I stared in horror. Pity, almost.

I mean, this creature, this horrible, frightening, dirty, disgusting creature that I hated so much had been lying there for three days in what appeared to be pain, moving vainly until its appendages were severed. I . . . just . . . couldn’t . . . watch.

Yet the image didn’t leave me.

I mean, how could this be right?

If someone did this to a dog, the internet would be up in arms. Yet it’s okay to torture a cockroach because . . . we don’t like them? I don’t know.

I believe we’re supposed to be good stewards of the natural world. We may use, but not abuse, the resources we’ve been given. I don’t think cockroaches are very useful or cute or pleasant. I think they’re disgusting, actually. But I somehow don’t think this kind of death, this kind of torture, was supposed to be part of the plan.

So now I don’t know what to do.

And I’ve started thinking about vegetarianism and the way food animals are treated and heck, the horrible way human beings are treated in areas of the world that provide so many of our consumer goods. Like, slave labor bad. And I’m not sure any of that was part of the plan, either.

And this is turning on its head the whole way I’m used to living and I’m not sure I like this. I don’t want to think about it. But I can’t not think about it.

I just don’t know.

I hate bugs. Really, I do.

But this? Is a lot bigger than one tiny cockroach.

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7 responses to “The cockroach conundrum

  1. (hugs) You can control your impact on those larger things, There are humane ranches, you can buy local and support your farmers. You can keep doing what you just did and speak your mind. We can all work together and make statements via our collective actions. If we all, for example, stop buying Smithfield products because of their vile animal husbandry practices, they will be forced to change or go out of business. It is bigger than a cucaracha. It is empathy, not apathy, that will change it. Namaste, sister.

    • thetwistingkaleidoscope

      Yes, you’re right–things can start out small, but everyone working together can make a big difference. Empathy rather than apathy is a good motto!

      Oh, and I can’t wait for the local farmer’s market to open 🙂

  2. I suppose the cockroach is serving the purpose of getting us thinking of the bigger picture? I don’t know. I’m reaching here.

  3. Amazing how something so seemingly trivial can start such a snowball. Wonderful post!

    • thetwistingkaleidoscope

      Thank you! I certainly wasn’t expecting this whole thought process to happen–I’m legendary for my feelings about bugs. Sometimes it’s the smallest things!

  4. Pingback: Five things your realtor won’t tell you | The Twisting Kaleidoscope

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