My favorite lil’ newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, inexplicably published a brief item online about a cockroach with its head trapped in an acorn. There’s a photo, but it’s not that exciting and it’s pretty gross — exactly what you would expect, basically.
The posting immediately made me recall my youth: Stepping into my parents’ garage at night was always a nervous affair — would one fly up at me in the dark (they are fantastic flyers) and land in my hair? Would I have to squish one scurrying across my bedroom floor, and see the green guts splatter all over my orange shag carpet? I remember once trying to chase one with a broom, scared to death it would turn and make an aerial assualt at me. Purely haunting. And inescapable. Man, Texas has some big bugs.
Still, I have no idea why they felt this roach-in-a-nut was news. It’s not. I think they knew it was more like “easy page views,” a term in the online biz that we kindly call “page view whoring.”
Yet, I also have to admit: The mere act of them posting the item led to a lengthy email debate between my husband and me about what people think of when they hear the word “cockroach.” Brendan maintains that the gigantic cockroaches that flourish in South Texas (and sometimes get stuck in acorns) are actually “palmetto bugs” and that when “most people” think of cockroaches, they think of the (much) smaller German cockroach. He can be such a snooty Minnesotan.
I disagree with him, although, admittedly, there is no correct answer when you’re debating people’s perception of the word cockroach. The American cockroach — which, really folks, could the name get more generic? — is the same breed that is sometimes called the “palmetto bug.” I grew up around cockroaches as big as a deck of cards. And so did anyone who grew up in the South – from California to Florida. So, I think I win: There’ s more people living in these states than in German cockroach land, aka the states that stretch from Washington to Maine, including Minnesota.
(and folks, I’m not really serious about this being an important issue to me, but I am curious of what you think of when you think of a cockroach. Gigantic and capable of flying? Or small and incapable of flying?)