Monday, October 06, 2008

La Cucaracha del Infierno

I do not like bugs.

When I was a kid I used to be terrified of just about anything that crawled on six or eight legs. If there was a crawling creature in my room, I simply could not go to sleep as I would imagine its little legs crawling on me as I slumbered. My parents were often called in to kill the vicious creature as I could not bring myself to face the fear of being devoured by something 1,000 times smaller than me.

Over the years I have -- for the most part -- overcome this fear. My first challenge of overcoming this fear was living in a fraternity house in college for two years where let's just say cleanliness was in short supply. You got used to creepy crawlies living amongst 30 housekeeping-challenged guys under one roof.

Then when I moved to North Carolina where I lived in an apartment by myself. One night as I was about to walk out the door to meet Amy (we had just started dating), there was a decent-sized spider crawling under the door into my apartment. I seized this moment to overcome my arachnophobia. I actually tried to scoot the spider with a broom back out the door instead of killing it. But my noble effort was soon thwarted as out poured dozens of baby spiders onto my floor. I was being invaded by a pregnant mother spider looking for a dark, dry place to have her offspring. A bottle of Windex and a size 11 foot prevented me from being on P.E.T.A's mailing list. But hey, at least I was not running scared from bugs like I did when I was a young lad.

As I have gotten older, gotten married, and had 3 kids my fear for the most part has subsided. When you are the man of the house you just take these bug invasion challenges as part of your role. And for the most part I don't even mind bugs anymore.

Except for the dreaded #$%@ cockroach. There is no more despicable creature on earth to me than la cucaracha.

These little hairy-legged boogers have roamed the earth for 320 million years. They were here before us, and they'll be here after we're long gone. They eat anything. They are quick as hell. And they are hard to kill.

I cannot stand cockroaches.

So last night I was awakened at about 12:30 when I felt something crawling in my hair. In my half-asleep stupor I swatted at it only to feel little legs crawling on my neck. As I felt this sensation begin to crawl down my shirt to my back I immediately sprung up out of bed shouting and fumbling for the light, scaring Amy half to death.

As the light filled the room the rotten little vermin scampered under the sheets. Amy shrieked and immediately began demanding that the man of the house take care of this nuisance of a visitor. That's when seven year-old Derek reared his head again.

I was not having any part of that cockroach. I have dealt with snakes, spiders big and small, ants, termites, ticks, fleas, wasps, birds, bees, you name it since my days of being terrified as a kid of bugs. But awakening in the middle of the night to the feeling of a cockroach on the back of my neck catapulted me not into a position where I would seek revenge on the creature for invading my bedroom, but into a stunned fog where I could not bring myself to do anything about it.

Throughout this ordeal my loving wife was shouting at me for my cowardice and berating me to emerge from my haze. There was nothing I could do. She chased that little insect from the pillows to the floor as it dodged shoes and books before seeking shelter in the air conditioning vent in the floor.

I summoned up the gumption to pull the hand vac out of the closet to give to Amy who at this point was completely disgusted and dismayed with my inaction. She removed the floor vent and tried to vacuum up the monster so she could go back to sleep. But la cucaracha proved to nimble and quick. She ended up taping Saran Wrap over the vent and covering it with large, heavy books to secure the room from another invasion. It was a humorous reaction to the situation, but it was much more than I was able to conjure up at 1:00 in the morning.

Amy made fun of me some more, but I didn't care. She even pulled the red cape off the boys' Superman costume in the closet and wore it back to bed. There was no question who had saved the day, and it wasn't me.

Somewhere in the A/C ducts in my house, a conniving little six-legged mutant is plotting his next attack.

I hope for the sake of my manliness that I will be up for the challenge.


Jason V said...

What is that old adage? For every one you see, there are 1,000 more hiding. Check your hair... see if that's true.

This is precisely why we had this written in our wedding vows... "Amanda will kills all the bugs and clean the bathrooms... Jason will do the dishes."

Melrutl said...

Oh, yes, I remember the 6'2" 13 year-old shrieking from repulsion at anything that scurried; remember him with disgust at his inability to stand up to anything smaller than his pinkie toenail. BUT, even I refuse to chase the dreaded cockroach. :-)

Derek said...

For the record, I was 6'2" when I was a shrieking 8 year-old not a 13 year-old.

Anonymous said...

AAH!?The truth from my children.CER