Exterminators in training

As we piled the family into the van Sunday morning to drop me off at our local church building for some early meetings, Jonathan announced to Cassia the presence of a “giant ant” on the garage floor.  Only it wasn’t an ant – it was an adult-sized cockroach.

My upbringing has led me to give hardly a second thought to killing unwanted insects and arachnids around the house.  Cassia, on the other hand, prefers to scoop them up in a drinking glass and release them outside.  I’ve long maintained that this was more trouble than it’s worth, but after five years of marriage I’ve started to soften my stance a little — even rescuing a critter or two myself rather than subject them to the pinch of a kleenex or the sole of my foot.

However, I draw the line at cockroaches.  I never really had to deal with them until my mission to South Africa, where in one apartment they were a constant presence: living in the bathroom, hiding in our kitchen cabinets, feeding off of the crumbs at the bottom of our toaster.  My response to them is a combination of fear and revulsion, soon followed by quick destruction.  Roaches are a constant presence in Georgia, but we’ve done quite well at keeping them out of our house for the time we’ve lived here.

Cassia quickly buckled Jonathan and Emma into their seats and closed the van’s sliding door to obscure their view while I raced back into the house to grab a broom.  Re-entering the garage, I kicked aside the tricycle under whose wheel the roach was hiding and decimated it with somewhere in the range of 5 or 6 hard smacks.  I then swept the remains out of the garage and hopped into the van for a speedy jaunt to the ward building.

After the rest of the family returned home and began milling around a bit before beginning earnest preparations for church, Cassia heard loud thumps against the living room carpet.  She found Jonathan using his kid-size broom to whack a yellow rubber lizard he’d received from his first day in preschool.  “I’m killing bugs!” he excitedly announced.

Emma was beating against the toy lizard too.  “We’re killing bugs!” she parroted happily.

Cassia tried to explain to the children that we don’t kill all bugs — we actually try to save several of them.  But the lesson was completely lost on them, as they continued whacking the lizard and exulted about “killing bugs!”

Wow, I guess they were paying pretty close attention to me after all.  I hope this isn’t what the patriarch who blessed me foresaw when he told me I had a “personality of influence.”  I suppose that if no other opportunities for life advancement work out for them, they could always go into the extermination business together.  Right?

Cassia wistfully remembers the days when the kids called the bugs they found “sweetie.”  Isn’t amazing how quickly a culture of life is — ahem — swept away?

3 Responses to “Exterminators in training”

  1. Bryan, you did the right thing.

    Love, Mom

  2. I’m sympathetic to both of your plights. I don’t like killing things, but bugs cannot exist within the house. Outside, I leave them be, but once they come inside they’ve breach of our gentlemen’s (gentlecreature’s?) agreement. I don’t bother them in their space, they shouldn’t bother me in mine. Paul, however, is just like Cassia. Even to cockroaches (which, thankfully, have only come up in hypothetical situations). Compromise can be a long road.

  3. EWWW! I’m glad there weren’t cochroaches there when i was there. I have NO mercy for them but all i would’ve done was stood there because my stomach either goes up my throat or down to my heels either way i hate the idea of them because i hate beetles and they are like bigs ones.

Leave a Reply