Doin' the cockroach
absurdism and or just moments of an existential crisis?
Hello, readers. Hope everyone is staying cool and hydrated.
I was recently listening to my ‘liked’ songs on Spotify, shuffled because I had no idea what kind of mood I was in, and when Modest Mouse’s “Doin’ the cockroach” started to play this launched my brain into a nostalgic state of mind and I started thinking back to when I first heard this song in high school and how this song was my introduction to Modest Mouse and how after I listened to the whole album, The Lonesome Crowded West (“Trailer Trash” and “Doin’ the Cockroach” were and still are my favorites), I shared with my friends and tried to get as many people obsessed with the song and the entire album for that matter as I had gotten. Re-listening to it as an adult makes me just as obsessed but for different reasons now that I am paying attention.
Now remember, I was in high school, so the lyrics meant nothing to me. I mean, yes, I knew the lyrics, but by all means did not listen to the lyrics. It was just a catchy tune with catchy words and catchy riffs and I didn’t even understand what ‘doin’ the cockroach’ meant and I honestly can’t even understand half of the lyrics Isaac Brock sings in the tune unless I read the lyrics while listening and only then do they become clear as day. It was just cool and catchy and got my attention and I definitely didn’t think twice about a cockroach being of actual great significance to the song. Bear with me as I’m going to attempt to break down a few lines with my own interpretations.
I was in heaven, I was in hell, Believe in neither, But fear them as well. Heaven and hell, whether either exist after we die or not, he has already been to both implying that they exist in the world already. But after we die, we’re going to end up somewhere beyond our corporeal bodies can exist with the chance of it being the same place, right? One or the other possibly. I’m not scared of death, but it’s the unknown of what happens next that causes a little anguish in the blood. I think either are better than the darkness and void-like emptiness with something beyond death waiting as the Torchwood series suggests. This makes the idea of doing the same thing every day like a cockroach indeed perhaps meaningful. Or is it meaningless because we could end up nowhere anyway and what’s the point of our existence? Does it even matter?
This one's a doctor, this one's a lawyer. This one's a cash fiend, taking your money. Doctors and lawyers are cash fiends, but everyone is here to live. Everyone is the same. Everyone is a cockroach. The profession is insignificant, the personality is insignificant (ruling out murderers and rapists and all the bad people of the world). rant- When I go to the supermarket and anxiety hits because there are too many people in the aisle that has the peanut butter, and they are standing directly where I want to be, I have to remind myself that they too could be having an anxious time here (and they could be a lawyer!) and want to get in and out as soon as possible but are lingering in this specific spot because they cannot decide if they want to get the same thing as last time or try something new, so they stand and ponder an insignificant jar of peanut butter and I wholeheartedly understand this indecisiveness because these small seemingly insignificant moments are actually significant. I will stand and contemplate life and future decisions based on the peanut butter that I choose. Will I be happy with my future pb&j sandwich while sitting at work? Will this peanut butter comfort me as the other has? Small decisions are significant decisions and everyone is the same. Everyone is here to live and do the small things that equal the big things to create a bearable and hopefully happy life. Take your time because you gotta choose the peanut butter that is right for you.
Back of the metro, ride on the greyhound. Drunk on the Amtrak, please shut up. Another rider, he was a talker. Talking about TV, please shut up. This one's a crazer, daydreaming disaster. If heaven and hell are already here, the metro and greyhound and train are the mode of transport and the people who ride them are everyday people stuck in a trance from everyday things. The drunkard, the irrelevant-tv gossiper, the daydreamer possibly dreaming about a better life or hoping something significant will happen in their daily commute, wishing and hoping for things to change. It all isolates us and it’s all self-inflicted.
The origin of junk food, rutting through garbage. Tasty but worthless, dogs eat their own shit. We're doing the cockroach yeah, Doin the cockroach yeah, Doin the cockroach yeah (alright, not bad) (X3). We feed our minds garbage and, like junk food, it’s tasty, but meaningless, so we do the cockroach and create routine and live like machines doing what we can to survive and continue existing and trying for whatever kind of life.
One year, Twenty years, Forty years, Fifty years, Down the road in your life, You'll look in the mirror, And say, "My parents are still alive." Have you ever stared in the mirror so long that it no longer looks like you? You get older, you notice the wrinkles, the mannerisms, the thoughts, and you observe the similarities of your parents. You are now an accumulation of people before you and the idea that you are different is in question. I am an individual, but am I different? Or am I just another cockroach?
You move your mouth, You shake your tongue, You vibrate my eardrums, You're saying words, But you know I ain't listening. It's all bullshit.
See, cockroaches are resilient (they can survive more than a week without their head!). They are ancient creatures and it’s been said that they would most likely survive a nuclear war. They are tenacious. They run when they feel threatened. They adapt to situations. They are nocturnal and flourish in darkness. They create ways to survive, living moment to moment, pondering each decision and anticipating their next move. Does any of this sound comforting (minus the headless thing)? Does any of this make their lives meaningless? Is our life meaningless? Is the song talking about the negative aspects of every day things? Is the song saying the meaningless and mundane are significant? Or is the song just about smoking weed?
This is all just opinion, so if you have a different take on anything, please leave a comment. I would love to hear more interpretations.
Anyway, cheers to all who are doin’ the cockroach.