I was at my son and daughter-in-law’s home in Atlanta recently. Every couple of days someone would cry out, “Grandpop, Pop, Bob, Dad (they would all be me). Help! A giant cockroach is crossing the floor! Hurry! Quick! Yuck!”

After a couple of kills, I started feeling sorry for the poor devils. All they were doing was crawling inside to find something to eat. Or, with a lack of rain, something to drink. It’s not like they had targeted this house. It wasn’t personal.

Maybe I should try to relocate them back outside rather than just squish them with a paper towel. I mean, who am I to be smashing these poor creatures. For all I know they have hopes and dreams, families to care for out in the wild, and a ton of social obligations to be fulfilled. Just because I’m six feet three inches taller than any of them doesn’t give me the right to stomp on these insects. Or to call in an exterminator.

You know, I’m starting to feel better already just contemplating this new relationship with nature.

But wait … what if I’m sitting at the kitchen table at breakfast pouring a bowl of Raison Bran when out slides a cockroach into my bowl. Gross! Or what if I were to reach over to kiss my sleeping wife goodnight as I put a book aside on the nightstand and a two-inch, rust colored cockroach appears crawling through her hair. Gross squared!

I mean, okay, I’m still pretty supportive of this “let’s be kind to other creatures concept.” But I think I owe it to myself and my family to reconsider. I’m now thinking there absolutely should be territorial limits that we, all creatures great and small, must respect. As in, if I need to respect their space outside, they need to respect mine inside. It’s the balance-of-nature thing. Reciprocity only seems fair.

Note to self: pick up more paper towels at the supermarket.