Home > Exclamations > In The First Degree

In The First Degree

(The event described below occurred while I was writing the preceding post.)

I was reclining rather incorrigibly in front of my desk, with one leg resting in one of the middle shelves for support. My foot reached the wall behind the desk, and, although I wasn’t aware of this at first, a rather large cockroach proceeded to feeler up my toes. When I wiggled them, it migrated up the length of my lower leg, and I proceeded to brush at what I presumed was a long strand of leg hair. The ticklish feeling persisted, and after a while I looked down. I had managed to brush the cockroach off onto the front of a drawer. It took me a moment to register that there was a cockroach on my desk, but the delay delivered me from an embarrassing moment; it would have been daft to gasp or jump after I had been paralyzed by my own delayed reaction. I proceeded to unwrap an unpromising-looking issue of ‘Home Team NS’, taking care to roll it up compactly and adding a twist for security.

Thwack – once – but it still had the strength to scramble a bit, so I thwacked it a second time. By the time I thwacked it for the third time, I was in a rather contemplative mood. Its feelers were still waving, I felt as I watched, despondently, but it only had the energy for the occasional twitch. Trusting that it would be there when I got back, I headed to the kitchen to retrieve a brush and dustpan. I swept it up and carried it to the bin, managing not to tip the dustpan along the way, and thinking about how the mind conforms so closely to the requirements of the person that I, having been interrupted in my deliberations, could only manage to proceed deliberately. My typical response is as violent as my sneezes, and about as reflexive.

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