I know in my rational mind that they can’t even bite or sting (I swear, if someone links to an internet article saying cockroaches can bite, I will cut you). I know that I can step on them and end their miserable little garbage-eating disease-spreading lives. However, the irrational side of me is completely skeeved out by the THOUGHT of both the feel and sound of crunching one under my shoe. I’ve even perfected the technique of swinging the largest available shoe/boot over my shoulder in a downward motion and releasing it at the last possible moment so that I don’t have to feel the subtle transference of “crunch”.
With that said, I have three corpses in my server room at work.
It started out as two dead cockroach carcasses a few days after the pest control people sprayed the building. I walked into the server room one afternoon and noticed one just inside the door against the wall, as if he’d been running his tiny disgustingly hairy legs against the wall as his nerve endings shorted out and he finally expired.
“Eww. Nice. Totally don’t have time to take care of THAT right now. Ugh.”
As I walked around the server rack, I saw the other one just under a table in the back of the room. I kind of imagined him running under the table toward the light, trying to escape from zombie cockroaches like the scene in “I Am Legend”, except he didn’t make it and they devoured his brains.
“TWO? Jeebus! Well, at least I know they’re dead. I’ll have to scoop them up later.”
I changed the backup tape and left the room, completely forgetting the crunchy nasties before I’d even locked the door.
This scenario repeated itself for 2 more days, until on the third day, I walked in and there was a very large, VERY MUCH STILL ALIVE cockroach sitting on top of the voicemail server.
I stopped dead in my tracks. Dead roaches are one thing. I know they’re dead and I rationally know they’re not going to suddenly spring on me if I get too close. At least, I RATIONALLY know this. IRRATIONALLY, I’m terrified that every dead cockroach is just lying in wait, playing possum if you will, waiting for the perfect opportunity to suddenly return to life as an un-killable zombie cockroach with a thirst for CRAWLING ON ME WITH ITS NASTY HAIRY LEGS! GAH!!!
Live cockroaches are a different story. My mentality is more like that of an aboriginee sizing up a doberman-sized poisonous spider, debating the best way to either flee or politely give the right of way. Except that this cockroach was obviously suffering the effects of whatever bug poison had been sprayed days earlier and didn’t have all his wits about him. (All cockroaches are male. I don’t make the rules. That’s just how it is.)
I saw the opportunity to rid the world of one more cockroach and take my revenge for my broken coffee mug (a story for another time). I grabbed the thickest, heaviest user manual I could find, took a fighting stance (feet shoulder-width apart for maximum leverage, knees bent) and threw it with the precision of a seedy carnival knife thrower.
The manual rebounded off the voicemail server and the cockroach went flying involuntarily through the air, landing beside a plastic step stool. And didn’t move.
I stood there for a second, staring at it, trying to determine if it was dead or simply stunned. If I hadn’t killed it, I fully expected it to recover its wits, recognize me, return to the cockroach horde and give them directions to my office in order to take retribution. Not taking any chances, I quickly changed the backup tape and scurried out of the room.
The next afternoon, I’d once again forgotten about the crunchy nasties until I opened the server room door again. When I saw cockroach #1, I immediately remembered the events of the prior afternoon and quickly scanned the floor to see if my adversary had escaped with his life.
He was still there.
I still haven’t swept them up and I still am slightly unnerved that they’re all three going to absorb my life-force if I get too close and come back to life as zombie cockroaches. So they’ll probably stay there until someone else sees them and gives me grief about having dead bugs on the floor of the server room. I feel better knowing where they are, honestly.