Thursday, March 30, 2006

Japanese ninja cockroaches

Warning: you will be grossed out. The first Japanese cockroaches I experienced in our western-style apartment (no tatami mats) taught me to respect these beings, even if they are just insects they are incredibly skilled superinsects at that. I believe each skill deserves to be studied and worshipped in turn in an orderly fashion.

Menacing appearance

They look so ugly and repulsive that if cockroaches made music, thousands of Kiss fans all over the world would jump ship and buy their records. This is a skill, because it is an effective deterrent to us evil humans trying to disturb their peace. I however have gotten quite used to them, they may be as long as my finger with their long black waving antennas but I refuse to be terrorized. They might intend to frighten me into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; I am strong.

Supersonic speed

Pop quiz: what is black, but moves like a lightning? One thing I couldn't read in a book was how fast they are, I mean you'd expect a creature this clumsy in appearance and so large to move at a bit more leisurely pace but oh no, dead wrong, when they move it's like zzzZZZAP. They are one of the few creatures on earth that can move faster than light speed, creating an appearance of several of them as light of the creature in its new location reaches your eyes while the creature is also being perceived in its old location simultaneously (see Picard Maneuver). Or maybe there just are many of them.

Advanced hiding skill

I had been chasing one around the room and managed to corner it into a metal box which had only a few items in it. I pushed the items to the other side of the box and expected what's left to be the cockyroachy thing I was looking for. No such luck. So I start looking at the items I pushed to the side, then remove the items one by one. As there are only two smallish items left I start to believe that the insect must have escaped. Nevertheless I continue to remove the remaining items and what do you know, it was hiding cleverly behind one of them!

Another incredible thing about cockroaches is their ability to fit through incredibly small spaces. I mean for a creature of their size it's not something you would expect. Case in point -- I am chasing a particularly nasty one around our loft and finally have it in a corner where it clearly has no place to escape anywhere. What happened next I could hardly believe, IT PASSED THROUGH THE WALL. Whooo... creepy. On closer inspection there was a tiny little space between two planks of wood but not such that I would have expected anything to be able to pass through. This infinitesimal crack (even if you added an infinite amount of these cracks together, I doubt it would make an actual crack) has since been filled in my neverending attempt to extinguish the stream of these spawns of satan.

Unmatched strength and bravery

I believe this little story will illustrate this well enough. I think this was actually the very first cockroach I ever killed. I had tried to capture it with all kinds of clever methods, without any success. Then suddenly in midrun it flips over. Then while waving its little legs hopelessly it just stays still, since its on its back, on its black shell. Rather than calling it quits and giving mercy, I decide to kill it. I put a newspaper over it and stomp it with my foot. Dead? Nope. I stomp it again. I lift over the newspaper and see it split into two pieces with some internal organs spilled on the floor. Success!

I approach it in order to throw the pieces away, but what happened next I could hardly begin to believe. The thing started moving. It's in two pieces, but it moves! It moves with a purpose, it starts escaping, quite slowly, but it attempts escape. While it's doing this, it's DRAGGING ITS INTERNAL ORGANS BEHIND, which is the reason why this attempted escape is quite slow. I mean come on, it's against the rules of the universe to continue moving when you are in more than one piece with your internals hanging out! They certainly have sisu (Finnish concept of not giving up and fighting 'till the bitter end).

Well, this concludes my little treatise on this wonder of nature. I hope you found it both educational and amusing. Thank you.