Crispy, crunchy cockroaches–great neighbours, great food.

I am about to confess one of my darkest and deepest secrets.  I have lived among cockroaches.  And more than once.  Phew.  There.  I’ve said it.  One more skeleton freed from an overstuffed closet.

My very first apartment was home to so many of the crunchy critters that I had to flick on the kitchen light first with my eyes closed and not return until my raunchy little roommates had departed to crevices unknown.  In my next apartment, we learned to co-exist peacefully.  We were both aware of one another’s existence, but we respected each other’s boundaries.  They had free run of the place when I wasn’t home.  And, in return, they made themselves scarce when I returned.  My third apartment, however, dealt me a breed of cockroach that no amount of horror movie watching could have prepared me for.

Don't let these four-legged imposters fool you.  Cockroaches are not green.  Nor are they cute.

Don’t let these four-legged imposters fool you. Cockroaches are not green. Nor are they cute.

I knew we had cockroaches.  My human roommate and I had bug-proofed our food–which cost a fortune in Tupperware, I might add.  We had installed a miniature village of Roach Hotels.  And, we left the bathroom and kitchen lights on in hopes that they would move on to a less vigilant neighbour.  But these radiation resistant roamers are not easily deterred.  They opted, instead, to bring in the big guns.

Bearing the nickname "Cockroach" is not a compliment--no matter what Theo Huxtable tells you.

Bearing the nickname “Cockroach” is not a compliment–no matter what Theo Huxtable tells you.

As I lay in my bed, awakened by the sense that something was not right, I noticed a strangely shaped shadow in the hallway, just outside my bedroom door.  It had antennae and a number of spindly legs–anything with more than four is bad news.  Yes.  It was a cockroach large enough to cast a shadow.  Albeit, it was a small shadow.  But no insect should be big enough to have one at all.  Insects by their very nature should be shadowless.

Rendered immobilized by fear, I simply waited for him, the King of all Bugs, to make his way to his throne–somewhere in the bathroom (which, ironically, is where my throne resided also), and moved shortly after.  The cockroach population had showed their hand and mine was no match.  I folded.

And, yes.  The only time to befriend a cockroach is when every other living creature on the entire planet has died.

And, yes. The only time to befriend a cockroach is when every other living creature on the entire planet has died.

Here are a few factoids about this resilient little creature that even a brick dropped from a substantial height cannot kill.

1)  I am eternally grateful that my first apartment was not located in Queensland, Australia–nothing against the lovely Australian people.  I simply do not think I could handle their “giant burrowing cockroaches.”  Yes, these monsters–and expert shadow casters–can weigh up to 1.2 ounces.  Holy crap.  16 of those buggers weigh more than a pound.  Ack.

It appears to take TWO HANDS to carry a giant burrowing cockroach.  EW.

If it takes two hands to hold a bug, I sure as hell am not going to be picking it up.  Drop it and run, moron.

2) Cockroaches love to be snuggled.  Yes, these hideous, unhuggable creatures love to be touched and seek out surfaces such as walls, crevices, and household items to give them that warm and fuzzy feeling.  Whacking them with a shoe simply equates to a helping of tough love–a rough thwack of the contact that they desperately crave.

Excuse me,  You've got a bug on your chest.

Excuse me, You’ve got a bug on your chest.

3)  Decapitation is a minor setback.  Yes, cockroaches can survive a couple of weeks without their heads.  I guess it helps to be able to breathe through gaps in your body segments, to have an efficient wound-clotting system, and to be able to go for weeks without food.  Hm.  If I could breathe out my ass, I’m not sure I’d want to.  Talk about bad breath.  Furthermore, cockroaches are butt ugly, but a headless cockroach would be even worse.  Note to self: Giant, headless cockroach–possible lead character in next novel?  Great opportunity to examine self-loathing and hot topic of bullying.

Damn.  Who turned the lights out?

Damn. Who turned the lights out?

4)  Eat them in moderation.  Apparently, some people will eat anything.  But who in the hell can look at a plate of Hissing Madagascar Cockroaches and say, “Mm. Can’t wait to get me some of those.”  Six Flags has been hosting a seasonal Cockroach Eating Contest for years, but an incident in Florida has put these events on hold.  A pet store decided to hold one of their own.  The prize?  A python.  Yup, eat a plate of bugs and go home with a snake.  Well, in October of 2012, a 32-year-old man died from cockroach consumption during the contest.  He literally died of a bug.  Sorry.  I realize that this is a serious moment and I should not be making puns.

cockroach suicide

cockroach nose

cockroach exterminator

cockroach motel


Check out my latest musings at Searching for Barry Weiss…

If you’d like to read more about cockroaches, check out:

Cockroaches: More Than Just Pests

Finally, the cockroach gets some respect

Why do cockroaches exist at all?

Roaches with jet packs

Photo credits  Raid cockroaches (, Cosby Cockroach (, Wall.E cockroach (,  Giant burrowing roach (, roach tee (, headless (, cockroach suicide, cockroach in nose (, exterminator (, cockroach motel (      

Ear Gunk-Eating Insects, Polite Criminals, and A Teeny Tiny Washing Machine

Over the years, I have acquired a rather sizable portfolio of strange stories to share.  While reading a blog from one of my favourite bloggers,, I was reminded of my first several apartments.  And the many…umm…”colourful” experiences that I had there.

This looks exactly the same as it did in 1988--looks okay, right?  Wrong.

This looks exactly the same as it did in 1988–looks okay, right? Wrong.

In hindsight, I should have chosen nicer places to live in.  And I was a collection officer at the time, so I should have known which buildings were “deadbeat-riddled cesspools.”  But I was barely twenty and very naive.  I was so naive, in fact, that I thought my kitchen was full of “grease bugs.”  I later learned that these crunchy-looking, shadow-casting monsters that hated the light, were cockroaches.  My kitchen was literally crawling with them.

cockroach cartoon

The insects, however, were really the least of my problems.  Shortly after moving in, a tenant of the 25th floor came home and interrupted a robbery in progress.  A hostage-taking ensued, the SWAT team was called in, and, I can only assume, the situation was rectified.  This was soon followed by a resident of the adjacent high rise taking potshots at a passing bus with a rifle.  No one was shot.  It would appear he was a nutbar with particularly bad aim.

My thug was easier to get rid of than this guy.

My thug was easier to get rid of than this guy.

On one occasion, a deranged person tried to break down my door.  They were hollering someone’s name.  I couldn’t quite make it out, but it sounded nothing like mine.  I meekly informed the person through the door that they had the wrong apartment and they apologized and went away.  I know that this sounds like an unlikely resolution to the problem, but this exact thing had happened to me before.  I was boarding at another apartment building and was home alone, cheering loudly to the Grey Cup (Canada’s version of the Super Bowl), when a different (I am assuming) person began pounding on the door.  It would seem that someone owed this dude money.  Unsure what to do, I told him (again, through the closed door) that this was not blah-blah’s apartment.  He went away.  It would appear that deranged people can be reasoned with.

polite Canadians

And don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I live in a city filled with insane door-busting people.  I just happened to live in places that attracted insane door-busting people.  On the upside–they were always polite and apologetic.  That’s a Canadian criminal for you.

A favourite Canadian pastimes.

A favourite Canadian pastime.


Holy crap.  You could make a candle with all that wax.

Holy crap. You could make a candle with all that wax.

1) One of the things that troubled me the most about having cockroaches was the fear of having one crawl in my ear while I slept.  A giant, crusty, long-legged earwig of sorts.  One that could survive a nuclear holocaust.  Suppose it developed a taste for ear wax.  Although, after looking at this picture, I may never eat ANYTHING again.  But cockroaches are much less squeamish.  And, maybe, my ear wax is a delicacy.  My farts smell like roses, so anything is possible.

Thankfully, one of my blogger friends, (, introduced me to the Ear Vac.  Perhaps, this would not only keep my ears free of cockroach food, but it might also suck out any insects that wander in their in the first place.

Too bad I didn’t come across this twenty years ago.  Thankfully, I NOW reside in a bug free house.

2.  In case you’ve never met someone who has actually had a large insect burrowing around in their ear canal, here is a man who temporarily provided shelter for a June Bug.  

Apparently, the most common ear invaders are gnats, beetles, moths and ROACHES.  I knew it!  According to, small winged insects get stuck and can’t fly out.  Large bugs get trapped and can’t crawl out backwards.  Great.  Our ears are giant bug traps.  And, unless you are a deaf person, you get the pleasure of hearing amplified bug sounds–like buzzing, flapping, and of course, everyone’s favourite–gnawing through the ear drum noises.

3.  If you are looking for your first apartment, here are some you may want to consider (or not):


 This 100-floor monster is The Princess Towers in Dubai, the tallest apartment building in the world.  I don’t want to live anywhere that a Hook’n’Ladder truck can’t reach me.  Plus, I hate heights.  But, if none of these things are of concern to you, this may be just the place for you.  As long as the elevators are reliable.  

penthouse in TriBeCa

This is currently the most expensive rental property in New York City.  This 13,500 square foot, three floored, penthouse in TriBeCa currently rents for $100,000 per month.  A far cry from the city average of $3400 a month, which, by the way, would land you a staggeringly beautiful spot up here in the Great White North.  Except maybe T.O.  Or Vancouver.  Their prices are NUTS.



photo credits:  ear wax (ack!) (, Princess Towers (,