Did I mention we had a lot of roaches in our dorm? Did I mention that all the dorms had a lot of roaches? In 1975, East Campus became the national test-bed for the rollout of the Roach Motel, a little cardboard box with two openings, one at each end, and a super-powerful bed of sticky glue inside. A roach crawled in, got stuck and stayed stuck until death. Which could be a while; have you ever seen a roach poop? This method has proven so successful that they've now made mouse-traps on the same principle. I still prefer traditional killing methods - like a cat.
Of course there were roaches in the dorms. How could there not be? We had lots of food - on shelves in our rooms, in the lounge areas and in the wastebaskets half-eaten. We also had garbage of various types, dirty piles of clothing and even such delicacies as loose leaf paper, newspapers and, of course, textbooks. Did I mention that a roach can subsist on almost anything?
Roaches are different from one part of this country to the other. I know that because the Texas cockroach - which we euphemistically called a palmetto bug - was easily twice the size of the traditional MIT roach. What the MIT roaches lacked in size, however, they made up for in just plain old toughness. They always knew when danger was coming, and they never moved in a straight line. Try to stomp them and they were already under the refrigerator before you could get a shoe on them. They didn't fly, which was fortunate because the Texas roaches did, but they could get into any small space. And they ate whatever they found. I know that because I could occasionally hear them chewing.
But there were some things that even a roach could not eat.