Cockroaches and tortilla shells

Q: What do cockroaches and tortilla shells have in common?

A: Both of them can withstand the blast of a direct nuclear missile impact.

Long after the nuclear holocaust renders all human life extinct, the cockroaches will still be skittering around the surface of the planet. Their hard shell, known as an exoskeleton, will have allowed them to withstand the nuclear blasts. This applies even to those within mere inches of the point of impact. It does not, however, apply to turtles.

All those survivor cockroaches will require food to eat. Although cockroaches normally feast on human skin cells (the average human being will, over the course of their lifetime, unwittingly inhale up to 30 live cockroaches while sleeping), humans will be incinerated by the searing heat of a thermonuclear blast.

So what will the cockroaches eat? Tortilla shells.

This magical food lasts forever. You can leave a tortilla shell sitting out on your kitchen counter for 10 years and it will not shrivel, decompose, or grow mould. (However, it will most certainly dry out. You can revive a dry shell by sprinkling it with a few drops of water and microwaving it for 5 to 10 seconds, depending on the power of your microwave oven.) The cockroaches will survive for decades on tortilla shells. First, they will eat the ones that are left out on kitchen counters. Then, they will find their way into pantry cupboards, and tear through the plastic packaging with their razor-sharp cockroach-fangs. When all the tortilla shells are gone, they will turn on each other in a fit of rabid cockroach cannibalism. This struggle for the perpetuation of life, the survival of the fittest, will play itself out over a global scenario lasting 100 years or more. By then, the nuclear winter will have subsided and the dolphins will rise out of the sea and take over their rightful place as the species atop the evolutionary ladder. No longer subservient to their one-time human masters, the dolphins will rule the world.

And what will the dolphins eat? The cockroaches of course.

And the biological ballet goes on.


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