MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Love poems are nice. But if you're not in a loving mood with Valentine's Day right around the corner, the El Paso Zoo has just the thing. They are offering to name a cockroach after your ex. Yeah. And it gets better. Here's what will actually happen on the 14th.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
On Valentine's Day, they will feed that cockroach to a hungry meerkat live on a webcam. As you might imagine, this offer got a lot of interest.
SARAH BORREGO: We really didn't think it would go as big as it did. We thought, maybe in El Paso and that's it. But it's gotten all over the place.
SHAPIRO: That's Sarah Borrego, the zoo's event coordinator. The staff soon realized that the meerkats would get full really fast. So they had to recruit tamarins and white-headed marmosets to share the cockroach feast.
KELLY: And the requests kept rolling in, from people like Maggie Smith in Columbus, Ohio...
MAGGIE SMITH: I'm mid-divorce, (laughter), and my birthday is the day before Valentine's Day. It's pure fantasy.
SHAPIRO: ...And Ariane Rowland. She is already divorced and named a cockroach after her ex-husband.
ARIANE ROWLAND: He's the one who originally made me hate Valentine's Day, and there's always this little piece of you that wants to get even. You know?
KELLY: Cathartic, sure. Constructive? Well...
SANDRA LANGESLAG: My guess is actually that that may not really work very well.
KELLY: That's Sandra Langeslag at the University of Missouri St. Louis. She studies love, breakups and all the emotions that go with them.
SHAPIRO: And she says if you're still angry enough with your ex to have them eaten in effigy by a meerkat, well, it might be because of lingering feelings. Here's her less-carnivorous suggestion to get through Valentine's Day.
LANGESLAG: Distraction is also helpful to feel less unpleasant. So just think about unrelated things that don't have to do with your ex.
KELLY: Good advice, but if after all that distraction your ex is still bugging you, the El Paso Zoo Facebook livestream is waiting for you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MARK REDITO'S "LOVERS")
KELLY: Happy almost-Valentine's Day, from all of us at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED at NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.