Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cockroaches and Self Deception

I grew up in Georgia, in a series of houses that lacked many amenities, including central air conditioning. As a result, I've become nearly impervious to the Georgia summer. Anything above 75 and below 100 feels awesome to me. 95% humidity? Yes, please!

You know who else loves weather like that? Bugs.

Mostly just me and the bugs.

And since I grew up in houses with attic fans and open windows, I've seen a lot of bugs, in a lot of different places. In the shower, for one. Moseying across the kitchen counter, for another. Skittering along the living room wall close to the ceiling is something I've found they like to do in the evening, right before they settle down for a quiet snooze on your pillow next to your face. While it would undoubtedly be nicer living without them, bugs don't bother me too much.

Bryan, on the other hand, is bothered by indoor bugs. Ants, spiders, fleas, those little mustard-colored beetles, June bugs, earwigs, silverfish, grain moths, regular moths, fruit flies, house flies, and especially the ones he calls cockroaches and I call Palmetto Bugs.  He HATES them.

Luckily, the South is a place where euphemism is culturally embraced to an arguably unhealthy degree. One of my grandmother's friends still refers to the Civil War as "The Unpleasantness." And when you live someplace hot without air conditioning, you've just got to open your windows and deal with the various arthropods that emerge from the deep, dank places in the earth and want to cuddle with you.

So, you call roaches something romantic like Palmetto Bugs.  Or "wood roaches," which is what my dad calls them.

I guess my point is, one benefit of growing up in a culture full of stubbornly self-deceptive people is that I've learn the valuable skill of bald-faced lying to myself.  As a result of calling cockroaches "Palmetto Bugs," I am 100% not freaked out by them.  And I believe that my calling them that gives Bryan permission to be about 15% less freaked out than he would be otherwise.

Thanks to my homeland, everybody's almost kinda happy about something lame!


  1. Do you think you could come up with one for scorpions? The best I can do is "Probably Won't Kill You Bug", and that's not helping a whole hell of a lot.

  2. How about "Dangerously Mysterious Bug"?

  3. Nice. I actually just saw my first (ahem) Palmetto Bug in the bathroom this morning. I thought that was the one type of vermin we WEREN'T harboring. Thanks to you, I wasn't freaked out. Very much.