I am notoriously phobic when it comes to cockroaches. I have written about my encounters with these vile and disgusting creatures many times. I don’t know why they frighten me so much–and frighten is the correct word. The sight of a shiny roach skittering around, flexing its nasty wings, and waving its roach legs at me is enough to send me shrieking into the night. They are horrible. I can’t even kill them because I KNOW that if I try to stomp on one, it will avoid my foot and then crawl up my leg, attempting to reach my head so it can eat my brain. It’s why I want to move to the South Pole.
My family is well aware of this phobia, and they frequently use it to torment me. One time, the children purchased a very realistic looking rubber cockroach and took turns planting it in various locations around the house. They took great delight in my screams of terror, and then ran like hell when I discovered it was fake. Or on those rare occasions when a roach invades our home, I will stand on a chair, screaming for them to kill it. Oh they kill it alright. But once it’s dead, they derive sadistic pleasure from scooping up the corpse in a napkin and chasing me around the house with it, laughing demonically at my tears and pleas for mercy. If I ever turn up on CNN for having murdered my children, there was probably a cockroach involved.
On Thursday night, Napoleon took this torture to a whole new level. In fact, he elevated it to the most exquisite heights of irony. I was at school until very late that night, helping with a fundraiser, and when I got home, I collapsed in an exhausted heap on my bed. And Napoleon came galumphing in to the bedroom like a Saint Bernard pumped up on Red Bull, threw himself on the bed, and said “Oh MY GOD MOM, I JUST GOT YOU THE BEST VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT EVER!!!!! Can I tell you what it is now, Please?? PLEASE PLEASE!!!”
Based on his extreme excitement, I knew it was going to be weird. He’s a weird kid. For Christmas, he kept asking for a Trojans™ Pleasure Pack assortment, the one with the different colored/flavored condoms. He asked for this, not because he is sexually active (HE BETTER NOT BE!!!), but for the sheer joy of watching the color drain out of my face when he asked. He’s that kind of child. So I knew I was in for trouble. Wearily I said “sure son, give me my Valentine,” and braced myself.
“It’s perfect mom!! I heard about it on the radio!!! I….are you ready???….you’re not going to believe this!!!!…..It’s the BEST ten dollars I’ve EVER spent!!!…..The BRONX ZOO IS NAMING A MADAGASCAR HISSING COCKROACH AFTER YOU!!!!!” He then collapsed upon my bed, overcome by his own genius.
When I finally managed to calm him down, I learned that he had heard an ad on the radio about the Bronx Zoo selling the naming rights of its cockroaches as a fundraiser. When he heard this, Napoleon knew immediately he had hit upon that perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for me, the kind of gift that would give me great blog material. What could be better than that?? “Mom, it’s totally legit,” he gushed to me, “and they’re even going to send you a certificate!!!”
And sure enough, this morning, I received an email from the Bronx Zoo, informing me of its newest cockroach named “Jennifer”. My heart went pitter-pat, and my stomach turned as I beheld a picture of my new namesake. Wow. A roach the size of my palm, named after me. And I was hankering for a big diamond for Valentine’s Day; what the hell was I thinking?? Lots of girls get diamonds, but you almost never hear of one getting a roach. I’m a lucky, lucky girl…
But there are some questions I have that were NOT answered by the email. For instance, is there a guarantee that they are actually going to call the roach by its new name on a daily basis to help it learn its name?? How are they going to identify JENNIFER as herself, and pick her out from all the Susans and the Dianas?? I mean, don’t all roaches look alike? How are they going to keep up with Jennifer??? Will they paint a “J” on her back to help her stand out?
And is this going to be like one of those Feed The Children deals? Do I get pictures twice a year? Do I get progress updates? What assurance do I get that my namesake roach is getting the star treatment that Napoleon’s ten dollars was supposed to purchase? The information on the website merely states that the money will help save wildlife around the world. I don’t care about wildlife around the world, I care about Jennifer the Roach living in the Bronx Zoo? Is she getting the highest quality grubs that money can buy??
Fortunately, I have a nephew living in Manhattan. I am going to insist that he go to the Bronx Zoo (as soon as they find it underneath all the snow!!!) and visit Jennifer the Roach. And if they can’t produce her, then the zoo director will have to answer to me. She may be a roach, but she’s Jennifer the Roach, and I will defend her to the end!! By the way, if you would like to send your sweetie a Madagascar Hissing Roach just click the link and wow your honey with a roach!!