March 6, 2008


Now that I’ve introduced myself, let me share a letter I wrote to my friend, A’nonniemouse, my best friend created by Rustie, who is my creator’s best friend. It will tell you more about ME! It was written in June, 1997, and shows my struggles in self-esteem and gaining maturity. I’m a different cockroach today!

Dear A’nonniemouse,

I received your letter of May 30 a couple of weeks ago and must truly thank you for your two letters, especially the second, a real bonus, since I didn’t answer your first one.
You mentioned mitigating circumstances as to why I haven’t written to you.
A’nonnie, you just don’t know!

You said you didn’t know what to say to me because you don’t know me. Well, I must confess—therein lies the problem! I’m struggling with the current fad problem of having to “find myself,” that is, to come to know who I am, in order that I can respond to others in a somewhat healthy matter. After all, if I don’t know who I am, if I don’t know myself, how can you know who I am?

I avoid looking in a mirror because I’m so disgusted and disappointed with the image I see. When I find myself skittering across a reflective surface, and get an unexpected glimpse of myself, I ask myself who I am, what I am going to be when I “grow up,” what is my destiny?

These questions I ask myself constantly, but seem not to be able to find any answer. When I have more that a glancing glimpse in the mirror I pause (and you know how hard that is for us roach characters) and almost wish to be tromped on by a human shoe when the thought hits me, that what I see, that downcast, useless being I am, may be who I ultimately really am—that maybe I’m no better than that! That my mother raised a no-good do-badder. I’m in a quandary. I cannot become adventurous right now. I get totally depressed. I just don’t know who I am yet. I don’t have a persona, a proper cockroach aura. I seem to be spending much of my life trying to discover who I am. I’m doing what humans say is searching for myself. I just don’t know who I am, who I am to become, what’s to become of me.

Adventures, you ask of me. Oh, if only there were some worth telling. But mine are all misadventures that prove how incompetent, indecisive, scatterbrained and unsettled I am. In fact, when Russ and his friend A’nonniemouse didn’t see me while they were visiting my creator, Carolyn, it wasn’t because I wasn’t there, because I was. But I didn’t want them to see me in the state I’m in, a state that seems perpetual. I’m sure they were looking, but I used my roach skills and stayed mighty out of the way.

My life isn’t blazing or exciting. I am just barely surviving. Carolyn, I’m sure, has shared some of your adventures with me, and they are the rare dark moments among the light spots in my life (remember, dark spots are preferable to me, since light spots do me so much damage!).

I’m so envious of you, but wonder how you could go about terrorizing the homo sapien pastors of Jamestown, Pennsylvania. Carolyn told me the following story her blind friend Russ wrote to her about one terroristic event—which occurred in a church, no less. Have you no couth? Here’s the story I’ll share about you, A’nonniemouse, but I’ve rewritten it in your first person:

One morning when I was in church and I was having fun terrorizing people—I’ve got a fascination for shoestrings, and I just love to untie shoestrings. Well, I knew that Carolyn Holland wore these crazy tennies and I was thinking this was perhaps one morning when she had them on. Well, she didn’t wear her tennies to church, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if she had. She had on a nice pair of shoes, and before I could steal her shoestrings, she caught me, and perhaps it’s a good thing that she did. She picked me up and she was holding me in her hand. Well, this caused some commotion somewhat.

A lady sitting beside her, a Mrs. Twiddle Van Snoot looked at me in Carolyn’s hand, then promptly screamed and fainted. Carolyn, being thoughtful and quick minded (she’s very very quick, you can’t get ahead of her, I’ve tried. Don’t try, Cochran, it won’t work, you’ll never get ahead of her. But good luck if you do try), stuck me in her purse. She was out of it before Carolyn stuck me in her purse. Ooh, she screamed and fainted and whoop gone away, took away in a dead faint. She did. It was funny. Mrs. Twiddle Van Snoot just really did it in. She was fainted dead away.

By the time they came around and wanted to know out what made Mrs Twiddle Van Snoot take a notion to swoon away, she didn’t have the answer, because nobody knew where the mouse went.
I had to confess when I was down there in her purse in the midst of all the rest of that junk—-most of the stuff women have in a purse I think it’s junk, but they think its necessary—down there snickering to myself, playing with a set of keys, and I was laughing.

Well, this interrupted poor Monte’s sermon. I don’t recall if he ever did get the rest of that message preached. I’m not too sure.

They finally revived Mrs. T. If my memory serves me correctly she got up and moved away from Carolyn, and I don’t think she ever again liked the idea of sitting beside her. Well, don’t know that I could blame her in a way, but she didn’t know that I was a harmless mouse, that I was a personal friend of Carolyn’s. She couldn’t know that. And it’s for sure Carolyn wasn’t about to tell her. No. Carolyn’s crazy, but she’s not nuts. She’s not about to tell anyone that she’s got a mouse for a friend. They’d have her locked up in the pokey. They’d have her shipped off to the funny farm. If she’s not altogether balanced, she’s getting away with it. But to consort with a mouse? And a cockroach?

You wrote about albinism, since your master Russ is an albino. I want you to know I spend a part of my life as an albino—all cockroaches do! When we’re born we arrive the purest white, as pure a white as you ever have seen. No pigment for us. Fortunately for us German roaches, when our pigment finally develops it comes in the prettiest shades of iridescent browns and oranges, not the drab colors of out other relatives, the other roaches, that are black or brown, such bland and personality-minus coloring. Not only that, us German roaches are long and slender, while our non-descript cousins are round, fat, sometimes huge and usually very ugly! I think I would probably consider self-mutilation or worse if I had to deal with showing myself in public looking like that! And I must tell you, whilst Carolyn was in Buffalo recently there was a picture of an albino robin in the paper. Such beauty rarely falls upon human or roach eyes. Any, white mice are much desired for research, and petology, in institutions like Roswell Park Cancer Research Institute in Buffalo, New York.

When Carolyn worked there on specimens of your white mice, she also had several of them as pets. I must say, she treated the guys tenderly, even if she injected the research ones with Harding-Passey melanoma cells, causing them much grief and shortened lives.

But back to my problem. I just don’t know what to do, where to turn, until I decide who I am. How can I hold my head up and participate in roach relationships when I’m so insecure?

Now, one roach that is not insecure—only very sore—is Archie. Archie lived a long time ago, like in the 1920s, but he knew exactly who he was, what the purpose of his life was. He was a special case, a transmigrated roach who, in his human life was a poet. Poor guy, he couldn’t forget his past, and he never did learn. Jumping from the top of the typewriter, over and over, misspelling words because he dove in the wrong direction. No proper capitalizations—my goodness, none of his poems ever had a capital letter! It was an embarrassment to us educated roaches. Eve worse, he was always black and blue—diving onto the metal letters as he composed his poems nightly kept him in a constant state of bruisement that made him look like our ugly relatives whom I don’t want to claim. It’s kind of like those human beings who are never satisfied with who they are. The Caucasian wants to be tan and brown, often coming out looking like a Native American or light-skinned black person. And the Caucasian person gets hair permanents, while the black person straightens out their hair. No one is ever satisfied. Nor was Archie, never learning that his natural colors weren’t to be changed that way, into that ugly shade of black-blue that hid the gorgeous hues of his fall-like colors. And he must have been swollen from the bruises. It’s a wonder he wasn’t mistaken for one of those roaches out there, the ones we aren’t so proud of.

Well, A’nonniemouse, I know you are an educated mouse, a rarity in the rodent kingdom, having attended Mouse College. Well, you know, the reason we may have taken such a liking to each other is that we have something in common, our advanced studying. I don’t know what you majored in while in college, but I never could decide. I got a scholarship in cross country running, and thought sports was where it was at for me. I hoped to be a roach coach, preparing road runner and cross country racers, but I decided that the college was attracting mediocre athletes so I just lost interest. And these were the top runners in my species, they said!

Then I entertained the idea of becoming a roachysian neurosurgeon. But you know how long that would take! I would never be able to begin my career with all those years in school. And the chemistry courses were the pits. All those rings of chemicals making up the aldehydes and formaldehydes.

Speaking of formaldehyde—when I almost wound up becoming a true specimen, preserved in the formaldehyde drippings of the roachdaver we had to dissect, I decided I’d had enough. Without roachology, how could I become competent to care for my fellow beings?

Then I considered veterinarian work, but the patients would be so much heavier than I am that I couldn’t even fathom the thought. Imagine—working on critters who minimize my size!

Now that I couldn’t fulfill my roachsian dream, I moved on to the social welfare field. You know there are roaches who never do anything with their life. They wait for others to catch their food, considering they don’t want to take the risk of getting bombarded with Homo sapiens weapons of war, so they back off and beg nutrition off us working roaches. I contemplated trying to change the attitudes of these ne’er do well critters, who do an injustice to the roach kingdom, but my attitudes aren’t soft enough to fit in with those other social welfare workers.

Then I thought about roach pastoring. But how can I do that if I don’t know for sure there is a Rod, who created us? Perhaps we are just a figment of someone’s imagination, or maybe we are the result of random acts of black hole conglomerates that fused and fissioned over and over again in various combinations of physical and chemical orders until we became the product of some connection made between two reactions?

I hear we haven’t changed dramatically for millions of years, that mutation hasn’t occurred for us. We’ve survived through ice ages, and are expected to survive through nuclear catastrophes and global warming effects. No other beings of creation can do that!

No, I would have a hard time explaining our existence based on an omnipotent Rod. There is no explanation for our being here, and no purpose for us on this earth. Why, look at the way we run and scatter, helter-skelter, with no organization or forethought as to how to be safe? We’re only running to escape the vibes of others and the rays of light. Is that the only purpose we have, to hide in darkness, especially in the small cracks in walls that provide us with darkness and support?

So what is left for me? I have no skill with words like Archie did; I have no dexterity that allows me to become an artisan (after all, how could I have this with all the running I have to do, the built in desire to flee all the time, the inability to stay pug and quiet long enough to have a steady hand needed to prosper in the arts?). No, I leave that to the rare home sapiens who can tolerate the sitting, and the rare transmigrated roach like Archie.

I’m lost, I don’t know who I am, or what my persona is. Can you blame me for not writing to you sooner? It’s taken me days to construct this letter that is a whole lot of jibberish, a jabberwocky connection of words.

Yet you, A’nonniemouse, are so creative and industrious. Maybe you can help me clear my head and come to a decision on what I can do with the rest of my life. Maybe I will become a fireman? or a policeman? What do you think? Who am I? Who will I become? Until I can answer these questions, I probably won’t be able to write to you again.

For now, doodleoot for now—I shall return with more writings! Cochran


1 Comment »

  1. […] Russ and I each had a cartoon character made our relationship interesting. His A’nonymous (a mouse) exchanged letters to my Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach. One such letter was DEAR A’NONNIEMOUSE FROM COCHRAN (COCKROACH)*. […]

    Pingback by A Sighted Writer’s Inside View of a Blind Writer’s World | Carolyn's Online Magazine — November 22, 2015 @ 8:32 am | Reply

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