Photo: AP

On Tuesday, in what could only be read as a terrible omen for Mueller Day, a rather large cockroach suddenly appeared, out of nowhere, crawling across my desk. I do not have a photo of this because I absolutely DESPISE roaches—especially the big daddies like this one, with very long antennae and beady eyes—so I yelped and eventually smacked it with my Birkenstock. (No further questions about my office appropriate summer wardrobe at this time.)

This had the effect of knocking the roach onto its back on the windowsill, where I thought it would draw its last breath watching the big Times Square ball/skyscraper of ads that drain my serotonin stores every day. No such luck—this thing’s disgusting, hairy little legs kept twitching; he was ready to flip himself over and go about his day. Finally, with the help of my colleagues, we vanquished and disposed of the vile beast.

As happens with some frequency, this set off a debate among my colleagues at Splinter about which city pest is worse: roaches or rodents (rats, mice). My anecdote should make it pretty clear where I come down on this issue, although rats are another kettle of fish entirely. Mice? No big deal, to me.

Where do my colleagues stand on this critical issue? Judge them for yourselves.

Jack Mirkinson

It’s definitely rodents. Roaches suck but getting rid of them is easier, both on the practical level and on the guilt level. If you have to kill a rodent, it’s horrible. They’re mammals, they make noise, they have faces. Killing a roach is deeply whatever. Also god forbid I ever have to deal with a whole rat in my house, I would lose it.

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Libby Watson

I would rather have a roach infestation than a rat infestation, obviously. We had a rat in our walls one time and it was both frightening and disgusting—the only way we knew it was coming out was it kept pooping on the stove overnight (and obviously Digby did nothing). I think I MIGHT prefer a mouse infestation to a roach infestation, just because mice are cute, even if they are disgusting, and roaches spark a lizard-brain fear in me. Also, in a different living situation, we had mice and my roommate caught two of them fucking in our kitchen, and I respect that.

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Hamilton Nolan

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Paul Blest

Roaches by a mile. They look disgusting and move in an extremely creepy way. Plus they can survive a nuclear bomb and would probably mutate into super roaches the size of golden retrievers. Fuck that.

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Rafi Schwartz

There is no doubt in mind that roaches are worse than mice by several orders of magnitude. Neither is something you want to find scuttling across your kitchen at 2 a.m. (I’ve experienced both) but in terms of sheer killability, it’s much harder to get rid of a roach infestation than a rodent one. Yes, it might be a little more traumatic to off something fuzzy that squeaks, but if that’s what needs to be done, so be it. Life is pain. Roaches, on the other hand, are damn near invincible. Step on ‘em, and they just look at you like “what the fuck, pal?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stomped around my front hall only to have one of those little bastards scurry into a crack or drain or something, totally unscathed. Roaches, like God, laugh at us and our hubris.

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Jack Crosbie

Roaches? Bad. Gross. Hard to get rid of and there are often LOTS of them. Mice are mostly fine. You can set a trap and kill it. Using snap traps is better because glue traps seem very mean. Usually if you put the trap in the right place the mouse falls for it and gets trapped. That shit doesn’t work with roaches. You gotta cover your house in chemicals and stuff, or if your roommates have a dog and only want to use like, natural remedies like some kind of dirt they bought online that’s supposed to repel bugs, but actually is just dirt. D.J., if you’re reading this, you’re a great roommate, but I don’t think the dirt worked. Also mice are kinda cute, but not so cute that I feel that bad killing them.

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Nick Martin

I have two stories to tell.

1) It was dark, probably around 11 p.m. I was sitting on my couch watching television when I heard a noise from the kitchen. My cat scurried out to the hallway. Thinking he had jumped on the counter and snagged some food, I leapt up to grab him. Again, the lights are off. I bend down, because he is not letting go of whatever he’s got. I realize I am two inches from a mouse. I slowly back up and let Nature do what Nature does. My cat paralyzed the mouse’s back two legs and began pawing it around as the mouse tried to crawl to nonexistent safety. My partner was standing on the bed by now. At one point, I was in my pajamas, holding a hammer, yelling, “What do I do?!?” I ended up grabbing five plastic bags and dropped the mouse out our three-story window. I am not sure if it survived the fall.

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2) I was in my bathroom. Unclear what time. The shower was on and I was fully stripped down, towel in-hand. I pull back the curtain and take a step into the tub. That’s when I see it. A roach, maybe an inch-and-a-half long—a fucking huge one, with the big dangly antennas scraping across the shower floor—chilling in the middle of the stream. I shouted. I nearly fell. I ripped the curtain open and stood in shock in the hallway. When I grabbed some shorts and went back in, it was gone. I did not take a shower that night; when I did the next day, I wore flip flops and nearly donned swimming trunks. Two days later, it reappeared, on my damn loofa, which hangs high in the corner. I went to the kitchen and returned with a pair of tongs and a trash bag. After staring it down for about 15 minutes, I swiftly snatched the loofa and threw it and its new friend in the garbage bag and sprinted to the chute in my hallway and dumped it. I still can’t take a shower without checking the tub five times first.

Roaches are worse.

Caitlin Schneider

The other day I glanced down at the street as I stepped squarely on an ant, and it fully ruined the next hour or so of my life. I don’t enjoy killing things. But cockroaches are tiny little robots that will outlive us all and when one skitters or—dear god—FLIES into my home, I feel absolutely nothing crushing it to oblivion. Mice are sweet little dudes who wish you no harm and killing them is a sad nightmare. Please don’t talk to me about anthropomorphism. I am aware that I’m delusional. In conclusion, I would much rather see a cockroach in my home and dispose of it quickly and never think about it again. Mice are worse because mice are better.

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Aleks Chan

ok here’s me: roaches. Mice are true pests but they are generally more afraid of you and actively try to avoid you (most of the time). Roaches however are real motherfuckers who will crawl all over you and some of them can fucking FLY—no thanks.