21 2 / 2014
When I was a kid, I loved catching critters, bugs, amphibians, anything I could put in a jar and gaze at adoringly. Sadly, I noticed that if I caught one insect, it became increasingly difficult to find another to catch. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I thought of it as though the caught insect was telling all the others of its own kind, “This is no fun. You don’t want to come here,” in its own secret language I couldn’t hear.
As an adult fighting off cockroaches in a shitty apartment complex inhabited by college students, I wondered if I caught one roach, if I’d have trouble finding more, just like when I was a kid. So the very next roach I saw, I trapped it under a tumbler and waited to see if any others would appear. I didn’t bother feeding the poor thing. There was no way to get food in without releasing it. But I gave it water by sliding the glass over water drops I’d placed on the table. This was the Ambassador Roach, an honored guest in our home, and its glass prison occupied a distinguished spot on a sideboard within sight of the dining room table.
Sure enough, roaches didn’t show. And when the roach died and others began to creep back in, I merely replaced the tumbler over another, letting it inherit the same revered position as its predecessor.
I suspect that when under stress insects release a pheromone that says, “This is no fun. You don’t want to come here.” This was the secret insect language that vexed me so as a child, reworked to new purposes as an adult.
10 2 / 2014
Don’t hold an opinion you wouldn’t state on camera.
(You will quickly either become a nicer, more honest person or a blithering jerk.)