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Lights on

May 10, 2011

There’s a cockroach in our room. I see him when I go in the bathroom at night and turn on the light. He’s big, and fat, and has really long feelers. He’s shiny and brown and seems to be in excellent health. He’s probably looking for his companion, whom I smushed and flushed a couple nights ago. You see, I grew up with a hatred of cockroaches. Actually, more of a frightened loathing. When I see a cockroach, I usually jump just a little bit. My skin crawls. My throat tightens, and I immediately make a plan for how I’m going to extinguish the little bastard.

It took me three stomps to kill the first one. He was also big, and thick, and really crunchy. When I finished him off, my roommate yelled “you didn’t kill it, did you?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Why? He wasn’t hurting you. He was a harmless living thing.”

Ross has some kind of respect for these creatures, something having to do with them being able to survive a nuclear holocaust. As I flushed the guy down the toilet, I felt a pang of guilt. Ross was right. The bug had no ill intent. He was just looking for some dead skin or some mold from which to fashion a nice dinner.

This cockroach is still alive, the beneficiary of tenuous Buddhist generosity gingerly visiting upon my conscience. He slowly walks around the edge of the tub, sniffing with those gigantic feelers. I swear he’s looking for his friend. When I first decided to let him live and wondered if he was missing his pal, I muttered under my breath “Too bad. Let that be a lesson to you sewer sucking bastards.” Now I’m really trying to see him as just another of God’s noble creatures. Some mama cockroach’s son. Maybe someone’s lost pet.

Spiritual practice with a cockroach.

Just stay out of my bed, you fucker.

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