August 07, 2013 - I've ridden round enough revolutions of this earth that I am pretty confident in my abilities. I lived, loved, laughed and cried. I've survived lows and highs. I can even walk alone at night in a deserted building and not be too scared.
However, at this point in my life, I also know that Clint Eastwood was right -- but not when he tried to have a conversation with an empty chair a couple of years ago. The Clintster was correct when he growled these words in the 1973 Dirty Harry movie, Magnum Force: "A man's gotta' know his limitations."
I've lived through spooky-as-heck old homes; saw part of an autopsy -- live and in person; I've squatted down next to a police cruiser for cover and then had the local copper I was with show me how to use his sidearm, if the situation arose and I needed it. I've survived some wild and crazy things that have helped harden my meddle against most of life's travails.
But your hero (that would be me) doesn't do bugs. Creepy crawly things wig me out, dude! Bugs are ookey, and if I am completely honest with you, on more than one occasion I have shrieked like a school girl at the unexpected encounter of the insectoid kind.
Bugs just harsh my buzz, man.
So, it was with great trepidation I read a column by the Detroit Free Press' Jim Schaefer. Jimbo took his readers on a icky, icky cockroachy journey. I am shivering just thinking about it.
Seems this college kid, Kyle Kandilian, "no longer sleeps in his bedroom in Dearborn. It's crawling with roaches. Tens of thousands of roaches. Maybe 200,000, he says."
My heart sank, my head bowed and my shoulders slumped forward when I first read that. Two hundred thousand cockroaches in one Dearborn bedroom.
Shivermetimbers and get me a Xanex!
Oh my. I know my boys have mentioned wanting different "exotic" pets in the past -- things like rats and snakes and yes even the Hissing Madagascar Cockroach. And those dreams my children dreamed I have quickly squashed with unabashed harshness and a firm, "Oh, hell no."
I know, I'm 'sposed to nurture their hopes and aspirations, blah, blah, blah. When they get older they can tell their psychologist how I screwed up their lives by denying them their right to a hairless rat.
All I can say is Kyle "Chuckles" Kandilian has better parents than do my boys. Guess what, I don't care. Roaches can sneak in like the rest of bugs, but I'm not willingly letting cockroaches into my home.
So . . . enough of my prejudices against Roach Nation. Chuckles, if we are to believe a person who has 200,000 cockroaches in is bedroom, actually has some interesting facts about his friends.
"The body shape in almost every roach is the same, but the way that Mother Nature has tinted and changed each individual species to look slightly different."
Hmm. Didn't know that.
* * *
"Some of them give live birth like humans. So I've read books that have said that there's a very intimate association between the cockroach egg inside certain female cockroaches ... as there is to humans and human birth."
Nor that -- but I can see a SyFy original movie script taking shape in my imagination.
* * *
"Also, they have a bacteria inside of them, an endosymbiont bacteria that allows them to recycle nitrogen. So they don't need to eat a lot of protein to survive. They can keep growing and growing and growing without ingesting large amounts of protein."
Another fact that was unknown to me. I'm starting to feel stupid.
* * *
You know what? After reading all this cool stuff about cockroaches, I've come to the conclusion that maybe I was wrong about them.
They're still creepy and if there is ever an earthquake in Dearborn and the roaches escape and spread all they way up here, I will be angry. And, I won't be able to sleep well knowing what could be lurking in the shadows.
Want to know more about Chuckles Kandilian and his roaches, check out his website (I didn't and won't), www.roachcrossing.com.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org