Roach Rest

April 27, 2010

Last night, I dreamt of cockroaches.

At first, it was just one. Then one became two, two became four, four became eight and before I knew it, the sink was crawling with them.

Then they were all over the floor, the pipes, the toilet, the bed … everywhere.

I tried squashing them and that worked for a while but then I realized that every time I killed one, there were another two that appeared, hissing and dirty and evil. Ugh. I turned on my computer this morning and realized what I was dealing with in my dream last night were basically Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

Now, I’m not the cockroach-fearing type (my wife is). My fear factor of choice is actually the common house gecko – that curdles my blood to no end. But, of course, who wouldn’t freak out at the sight of millions of cockroaches climbing out of the sink and into your house?

I think my fear stems from very early on in my life. When I was a kid, my parents let me watch anything. And I mean ANYTHING. My Mom’s favourite way to get me to shut up was to plonk me in front of a TV, switch it on and go do her thing. Strangely enough, my grandfather did the same to me, except that he used to buy me a ticket to a movie, leave me in there, go do his own thing and then come get me after (I was about 5 years old). So needless to say, I watched a lot of movies and a lot of TV, not always of quality, I might add.

One of the flicks I enjoyed a lot was one I caught on TV one of those days my Mom left me in front of it.

It was a 1977 film called Damnation Alley. The basic premise of the movie is that the world is in shambles after doomsday and a group of survivors try their darndest to make it across the post-apocalyptic United States where a sole radio transmission has been detected.

Along the way, they deal with crazy mountain men, intense radiation and, my favourite – killer cockroaches.

I must’ve seen Damnation Alley about a hundred times ‘cos I had recorded it on tape (eventually the tape snapped and it ended my viewing of the film – who knows how long that might have gone on had the tape not broke.)

I managed to find the film and the cockroach scene on YouTube so here it is, just to give you a taste of what six-year old Leslie, home from school, spent his afternoons watching:

Man, I love the way George Peppard (rest his soul) says “This whole town is infested with killa cockroaches! Repeat – killa cockroaches!” I must’ve repeated that line to myself a hundred times over, trying to sound like him (so much for scoring cool points with any of you out there reading this.)

Anyway, it’s funny what a little research can yield. As I was searching for stuff on Damnation Alley – I realized that the movie was intended to be 20th Century Fox’s big sci-fi blockbuster for 1977. It was the movie that would rake in the bucks for them and the only other sci-fi movie they had that year was a little film the studio had absolutely no faith in to make ANY money.

It was titled Star Wars.

Talk about zero foresight.

So anyway, Star Wars came out, was a huge hit – exploded the box office, rocked audiences and to this day, is still producing content spun off the original 1977 hit.

And where is Damnation Alley, you might ask?

Languishing somewhere on somebody’s VHS tape shelf (mouldy, no doubt)? On discount sale on iTunes and Amazon VOD? Or posted in the far reaches of YouTube?

All of the above?

Maybe so and we can only guess. But somewhere in the strange and complicated psyche of Leslie Tan, somewhere between his telencephalon near his medulla oblangata, it lies in wait.

And comes to me in dreams that I cannot understand.

Or maybe I do?

A dream site said dreaming about cockroaches signified my “need for renewal, rejuvenation and self-cleansing of one’s psychological, emotional and spiritual being.”

Maybe I do need to cleanse my soul.

Maybe I do need to renew my spirit.

Maybe I do need to rejuvenate my body.

Or maybe it’s just the universe telling me I need to watch Damnation Alley again soon – I can’t say for sure what it is but right now, the second option’s looking pretty damn good.

Killa cockroaches, anyone?

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