This is something of a prequel to last week’s comic. There’s a good reason Lorie doesn’t care to know about shower bugs. Back around the turn of the century, Lorie was on a school trip to Florida, where she was attending the Future Homemakers of America National Competition, in which she won a gold medal in scrapbooking. She also had her first encounter with a cockroach, depicted above in the comic. She screamed as though being murdered, and her three roommates burst into the bathroom to find her huddled in the corner of the tub, trembling in terror after “smashing [the cockroach] to death with a shampoo bottle.” Was it really as big as a cell phone? Lorie indicates that it was bigger, but… well, it’s Florida, and they have big damn bugs there.

As you might guess, we don’t have many cockroaches in Montana, so we usually only encounter them when we venture beyond our borders to visit other places. Generally, they’re only found in dwellings of extremely spurious cleanliness here– true nightmare situations, as opposed to other regions, where they are common, and, as I understand it not necessarily indicative of one’s housekeeping. If I knew more restaurant inspectors, though, I’ll bet I’d hear stories. Heck, my Dad has a pretty good one from Billings, from his police officer days, but perhaps I’ll save that tale for another time.

As for myself? I’ve only seen a handful of cockroaches, and also in Florida. I remember my folks finding a dead one in our hotel room when I was about five years old (they weren’t very happy about it; I thought it was kind of cool, having never seen a bug that large before), and later in my teens, I think I saw one running down the sidewalk one night. It was fast, and I couldn’t get a good look at it.

When the day comes that one pops out at me from somewhere unexpected, I too will probably scream and crush it with whatever I have at hand. I might be inoculated by experience to deal with earwigs, but I think the size factor of the cockroach will require me to have a few recalibration experiences.