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Friday, July 29, 2011

The Palmetto State and Other Things Palmetto.....

South Carolina just so happens to be my birthplace and although I hadn't visited the state until very recently, I've known for some time now that it is also known as the Palmetto State.

...this after having seen random cars over the years sporting a SC license plate announcing to one and all that South Carolina is the Palmetto State. Well I'm no dummy and I also happen to know that the Palmetto Tree is not just a regal looking tree but also the state's official tree. But that dear reader had been the extent of my knowledge of things Palmetto until just recently.

So I was somewhat bemused the other day when a FaceBook friend living aboard another sailing vessel, posted a comment on her page announcing that a Palmetto Bug had freaked her out after scurrying across the V-Berth late one evening.

She later went on to give periodic updates of how that bug was going to meet its untimely demise which included closing up all the hatches and setting off a few insecticide bombs.

Well I might have been born in South Carolina but I'd never heard of a Palmetto Bug before and was understandably somewhat perplexed as to what could possibly have incited such a repulsive reaction to what was surely a little harmless bug crawling along its merry way.

Lady-bugs and Beetle-bugs are the first and only bugs that readily come to mind and both are harmless little critters from my perspective. And a Palmetto Bug couldn't possibly have been any more of a threat if you were to ask me.

It was then but a few days later when the thought of a Palmetto Bug, which had been lurking in the back of my mind, reminded me of a question that I had been meaning to ask.

I proceeded to ask my lady-friend what I thought was a most innocuous question as we were making plans to drive on through South Carolina. My question was simply, "What is a Palmetto Bug" whereupon she proceeded to matter-of-factly reply that it was a large brownish looking cockroach with long antennas.

With that I came to the immediate realization that we weren't talking about some harmless little bug but of a repulsive cockroach... the kind that can make a persons skin crawl. In no time I was suddenly feeling a complete body revulsion just as if that cockroach had crawled all over me.

How anyone could possibly attribute the regal sounding name "Palmetto" to such a repulsive cockroach is completely beyond my comprehension. Having lived in Puerto Rico for a good while, these cockroaches were aptly named and known as "Cucarachas"...

Not "Tree Roaches" or some other "sanitized" name but Cucarachas. A most appropriate sounding name that is sure to incite immediate revulsion and a Terminator-like instinct to indiscriminately exterminate upon sight.

All of which reminds me of one of the many suggestions included in "Why Didn't I Think of That?... by John and Susan Rogers, a live-aboard cruising book. The suggestion states that absolutely no cardboard or paper bags are to be brought aboard the boat.

Cockroaches have a predilection for laying their eggs on paper products and the last thing a live-a-board cruiser needs is to have a bunch of Palmetto Bugs scurrying about the V-berth in the middle of the night.

Yeah I know... I couldn't help myself and just had to share! You can thank me later!

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