Bad Dads We Love: My brother, cockroach edition

April 20th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Bad Dads We Love  |  11 Comments

In retrospect it seems fairly obvious that this was a bad idea. My brother decided that for April Fool’s Day he would play a small prank on his daughters, Sonia (7) and Georgia (4). He snuck small plastic cockroaches into their lunchboxes and sent them off to school, thinking of all the hilarity that would ensue when they opened them up and discovered the bugs that will survive the apocalypse nestled in between the wax-papered souffle and hand-crafted châteaubriand (my brother is a chef). Great idea!

Reports from their respective teachers weren’t long in coming: Georgia, the younger and more readily adventurous of the two, found it funny. Sonia, however, who is more careful, was, reasonably enough, scared shitless, and spent the good part of her lunch break in tears.

Once the girls were home my brother had some explaining to do, which he did, and by the time he was done, Sonia, no fool, had sharped him into promising her a new pet (context: the dog died recently and he’s refused to get another one), in this case an insect.

Off to the pet shop with the girls where he had a conversation that went like this:

“What sorts of insects do you sell at this fine establishment, good sir pet purveyor?”

“Insects? You mean bugs?”

“Yes, bugs, roaches, creepy-crawlies, what have you… No, seriously, what have you?”

“We don’t have none of those … except for this here giant Madagascar hissing cockroach!”

“Oh, dear. What, pray tell, do you feed a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach the size of my fist?”

“Dude, it’s a roach. It eats everything.”

These are the dilemmas one faces as a parent who has decided to prank his young children and now must decide if he actually wants to spend money on purchasing a cockroach. He must, he does, he leaves the store with the bug.

Once home little Georgia wants to play with the family’s newest addition, and my brother allows her to open the small box said Blattaria was sold to him in. The roach, being a roach, makes a run for it, evades Sonia, Georgia, my brother, his wife, and the cat, and takes refuge in the walls of the house, never to be seen again, assuming no one counts an eerie scuttling noise you can just barely make out at night.

Now, you might say that it’s only one giant Madagascar hissing cockroach, and with no one to breed with,where’s the harm? The harm? Do I even have to say it, in an appropriately stuttering and self-conscious actor-y kinda way like Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park? The harm is that life finds a way. And life now lives in your walls and is a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Sorry, bro, we’re not coming to visit this summer.


  1. john cave osborne says:

    April 20th, 2011at 2:31 pm(#)

    oh my god, i found this funny as hell. still laughing. what a dumbass your brother is. that’s something i’d do. well, the plastic cockroach part. not the purchasing of the madagascar cockroach.

    “assuming no one counts an eerie scuttling noise you can just barely make out at night.” was a particularly nice touch.

    but one question: why on earth did his (horrendous) april fool’s joke necessitate him actually purchasing an insect? missing the logic there. (assuming there is some…) perhaps a punishment of sorts?

  2. dadwagon says:

    April 20th, 2011at 2:46 pm(#)

    John–it was like a make-up thing, plus guilt at not replacing the dog. My niece had been after him for a new dog not long after the old one passed. He was persistent in saying no, but the conversation widened into one about having a pet more generally. the bug thing happened, and voila–here was a pet that somehow he couldn’t say no to. –theodore.

  3. Libby Dougan says:

    April 20th, 2011at 3:29 pm(#)

    Have they considered that the cockroach might be “expecting”?

  4. dadwagon says:

    April 20th, 2011at 3:52 pm(#)

    Libby–exactly! –theodore.

  5. SCOTTSTEV says:

    April 20th, 2011at 5:10 pm(#)

    “Aww babies! 300 cute wriggling seething masticating babies.”

  6. A Tiger In The Kitchen says:

    April 22nd, 2011at 4:19 pm(#)

    This is the FUNNIEST thing I have read in a while. (I am still laughing as I type this!) My childhood pet — a dog — was a master at eating cockroaches. In fact, I’m not sure how he did it but he only enjoyed eating their legs so we used to find bits of legless gnawed-on roach bodies in the house sometimes. If he were still alive, I’d definitely loan him to your brother…

  7. dadwagon says:

    April 24th, 2011at 8:53 pm(#)

    Tiger–i’ll send you my brother’s address for the dog, although the thought occurs to me: you have a great recipe for those legs? –theodore.

  8. A Tiger In The Kitchen says:

    April 25th, 2011at 6:39 pm(#)

    Ha! Somehow I kept all roach recipes out of my book. But I suppose I shouldn’t rule it out for future books!

  9. Vincent } says:

    April 26th, 2011at 12:06 am(#)

    I laughed out loud at your brother’s antics yet really got creeped out as well.

    Sleeping with the lights on,

    Vincent |

  10. dadwagon says:

    April 26th, 2011at 8:37 am(#)

    vincent (I’m sorry, can’t call you “cutemonster”. we don’t know each other well enough yet)–we at DadWagon aspire to laughing-terror. So job well done for us! –Theodore.


    Shhh: the king is on his throne | DADWAGON

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