After my parents got divorced in 1965, I lived in a one-room apartment with my mother at 56-10 94th Street, in Elmhurst Queens. The apartment had a small alcove, and a wall was built to separate it from the rest of the space, and that was my room.
Our apartment was next to the incinerator room. For those of you born before recycling, you tossed your open bags of garbage down the chute, where it was burned. Some lazy jerks couldn't be bothered to open the chute's door, so they just left their bags of garbage (usually just open paper grocery bags) on the floor. Guess who's coming to dinner?
Unsurprisingly, we had a lot of roaches in our apartment. I became inured to them after several years; if you've never had a roach infestation, you'd be shocked at how awful thousands of them smell. I became so used to them, in fact, that one night I was sleeping and woke up to see a little brown figure sauntering down my arm. I blew it off and went back to sleep. Just like that.
When I remember that awful smell and the shadows of those little pieces of shit scuttling around in the dark it gives me a shiver.
After moving into my own place in Manhattan, where the little fiends were already in evidence, I bought a bug bombing gas fogger for every room. Set each one off and ran the hell out of there. Came back a day later and cleaned up. No roaches. I was not about to let those little turd-dropping brown prehistoric bug-ass mothers into my domain. Yeah, they've been here since the dinosaurs and will still be here long after the human race is gone, but I don't have to know see them.
Which leads me to this article I found on SoraNews24 (nee Rocket News), about an astoundingly easy way to rid your abode of cockroaches. Posted on Instagram by @adreamorreality, the remedy is stupidly simple: fill empty tea bags with dried peppermint leaves.
While @adreamorreality affectionately calls the bundles "mint bombs," they're not explosive booby traps. Instead, the scent of the oils present in the peppermint is highly repulsive to cockroaches, and so the packets work as non-lethal repellants. In spots that are ordinarily especially attractive to the pests, such as underneath the sink, @adreamorreality recommends leaving two mint pouches.
This is the only thing which causes me to wish the internet existed when I was a kid.
Postscript: Earlier this month, on April 11, my old apartment building in Queens, The Monte Plaza, burned down. I had not been there since January, 1992 when my mother died, so I didn't get to yell "GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE!" to the half million cockroaches who got their asses toasted in the fire (fortunately no humans were harmed).
Al Jones, a reporter at 1010WINS, the all-news radio station in New York, snapped this photo and uploaded it to Instagram.
Meanwhile, there are still millions of folks living in roach-infested apartments and homes, spraying dangerous chemicals all over the place to kill the bugs. That's bad for them, and their kids and pets … and the bugs will come back. So, spread the word: dried peppermint leaves in tea bags. Would have changed my life.