26 January

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift For Maria: A Hissing Madagascar Cockroach Named Full Moon Fiber

by Jon Katz

Buying things for Maria is never simple.

She needs little, is fiercely individualistic, wants nothing, never buys anything retail, gets her clothes from consignment and thrift shops,  is passionate about animals, nature, and science, and deeply resents getting expensive gifts.

I’m a romantic; I need to buy her something on  Valentine’s Day. The Gods were with me.  I named a cockroach from the Bronx Zoo in her honor, and she gets to meet him on Valentine’s day.

Over the decade in which we have lived together, I have studied the gifts she likes and the ones she doesn’t close. Any man worth anything should know what his wife likes and doesn’t.

This year, and this morning, I found the perfect gift for Maria for this coming Valentine’s day, courtesy of the Bronx Zoo.

I not only named a hissing cockroach in her honor, but I also bought a zoom session on Valentine’s Day she can meet the hissing cockroach I named for her. His name is Full Moon Fiber.

FMF (my nickname for him) is a hissing cockroach from Madagascar who lives in a hollowed-out tree trunk inside the Madagascar exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

Maria is not like the other children.

When I bought Maria a new Iphone five years ago for her pictures and videos, she nearly threw me out of the house and didn’t speak to me for a day or so.

When I told her I bought naming rights to a cockroach and also grabbed the slot for a virtual meet on Valentine’s day, she lit up, beamed, thanked me profusely, and came over to hug and kiss me.

Really, I don’t think I’ve ever met another human being who would love to get a hissing cockroach on Valentine’s Day.

I remember that we named a cockroach at the zoo last year and went to meet him in March, the same time we saw the penguins. It was the last normal day before the coronavirus turned the world upside down.

The Zoo remembered and e-mailed me an offer I could not refuse. For a donation of $75, which I would gladly have made anyway – we are members – I got a whole Madagascar Cockroach package for Maria.

If I gave  Maria expensive clothes or jewelry, she’d be disgusted. A Madagascar cockroach that hisses is the perfect gift.

I not only got to name the cockroach, but Maria will receive a printed naming certificate, a plush toy, a candle, and a Valentine’s Virtual Cockroach Encounter.

“On behalf of roaches and the other species, we’re eternally grateful,” said the zoo. Me too; this is the perfect  Valentine’s Day present for a woman who wants nothing.

This Thursday is her birthday. I’m cooking special lobster meat and spaetzle dinner. I got a neat bottle of wine.

I also got a couple of small things that will also make her happy, I’m sure of it. I can’t give them a way here, but I will when they come.

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