November 11, 2015
Random story time: Desert Cockroaches from Hell
As FB friends post photos of themselves or family members during their service days, I am reminded of a story involving my best friend from high school and his time in Saudi Arabia, where he repaired planes for the USAF during the Gulf War.
Back in the early 90's, e-mail wasn't really a thing yet, so we corresponded via old fashioned snail mail. I'd send a letter detailing my college shenanigans to an APO address, and every couple weeks there would be an air-mailed letter back, talking about how much Saudi Arabia sucked.
One day I check my mail in the student center, and there's one of these letters from Drew, but it's weird. It's thick. Feels like it's padded. "Did he send me weed?!?" I think, which would be highly unusual, seeing as neither of us smoked it. I sit down and open it.
Inside is a ziploc bag, containing a squashed bug. It looks sort of like a cockroach, but it's freaking ENORMOUS, about eight inches long and three inches wide. Also in the envelope is a brief, excited note. "We found this thing trying to carry off my tool box! I had to beat it to death with a crowbar! I'm sending it to you because otherwise no one would believe me!" (These days, he'd just put it on Instagram.)
OK. I now own a giant, dead Middle Eastern insect. What does one do with that? I don't want to open the bag, it might be carrying diseases. But I have to go to a meeting at the radio station upstairs, so I chuck the whole schmeer in my bag; I'll figure out what to do with it later.
The radio meeting proceeds apace; the general manager is running down various items of station business. Including: "We had an exterminator in to deal with the cockroach problem in the studio, so that should be taken care of."
Never, ever, has there been such a set-up. I pull the Saudi Arabian Monster Bug out of my bag. "NUH UH! LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN THERE YESTERDAY!!!"
Man, I wish I had a picture of that. Trust me, it was horrifying.