Cyber Roach

Cyber Roach 
By Walter Ang
May 18, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lately, several local companies that offer free email have had extensive advertising campaigns to tout their services. This is an interesting development since it seems that email can still hold its own even in the advent of text messaging.

So even though texting is all the rage now, it seems that people's use of the internet, specifically emailing, hasn't really waned. Amidst the usual chain letters, boring urban legends, forwarded tasteless jokes, and other useless junk, having internet access does have its perks: old friendships are renewed, and new ones form all the time. Extra perk: communicating with friends and relatives living abroad has become faster, easier and cheaper.

Aside from all of the perks, certain incidents occur that can hardly be described. One incident started out with an innocent statement, or so I thought. In one of my emails to old high school batchmates, I had posted, "By the way, don't you just love it when you step on one and it crunches?" I was referring to, well ... cockroaches. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Once, during a time of reduced workload, I went through a frenzied episode of writing loads of email. Reincarnation was one of the topics, among many others, that we discussed with much passion. One school of thought that emerged was that if you waste your present life constantly kvetching and slacking off or creating trouble for other people, you could most likely be reincarnated as a cockroach in your next life. Evil mongers take note!

All this talk about roaches prompted me to mention the crunching affair. Little did I know that it would open the floodgates of much debate and email exchange. Responses flied all over, flurrying from coast to coast. While old high school batchmates from Manila provided different methods of killing the little buggers, those now living in Canada and San Francisco gave scientific explanations on the longevity of the roach.

I know a lot of useless information, but when I got to discover other people's methods for annihilating of roaches, I wasn't sure if I should classify my newfound knowledge under the useful category or the useless category. Let me share some of the various (and surprising) ways to get kill roaches: 1. Spray them with rubbing alcohol. "Just be careful not to get it on wooden furniture, kasi patay nga ang ipis, pero ikaw, patay ka rin sa magulang mo." 2. Hairspray. "Glues them to the spot!" 3. Mouthwash. 4. Pesticide. 5. Good old reliable tsinelas.

Of course, all these techniques spawned a relevant question of why we get all worked up over these little insects in the first place. A batchmate immediately quipped, "The number one reason why we hate the little critters is because they always, always happen to fly towards you when you try to spray them!" To this statement, no one disagreed.

When someone wondered what the best method of eradication was, everyone countered that no matter how you tried to obliterate roaches, they'll always be around. So even though without any reliable source of information to back up our answers, another list was produced to reason out Why We Will Never Get Rid Of Them: 1. Millions are born everyday. 2. They have resilin in their bodies which is why it's hard to kill them if you only step on them once. 3. If the gravity of earth was multiplied six times, we'd be pancakes, but roaches would still be happily scurrying about. 4. In a nuclear holocaust, we'd be dust. Guess who won't be.

After about a week of nonstop proclamations, suggestions, condemnations, abominations, and heaven knows what else you can think of, people started sending out appeals to "Stop the insanity!!!" I suppose the final word on the roach issue couldn't have been stated more aptly: "They were the first ones to evolve, and they'll be the last ones to go."