Bedbugs bite for world peace
Published: Saturday, January 28th, 2006
New York City is being eaten alive — literally — with a bedbug epidemic. Yes, those infamous creepy creatures of nighttime rhyme have infested the Big Apple, where they’ve been chewing their way through town worse than those squirmy worms depicted in cartoons. Alas, you may ask, why should we, nestled snuggly — and unbitten — in eastern New Mexico, even care. For two very good reasons. First, we can rejoice no bedbugs have yet gone west, young man. We can revel in gleeful harmony that the open Plains remain free from infestation, save for the water-sucking salt cedars and an occasional tourist who may annoy by not knowing the difference between north and south. But nothing as icky as bedbugs. Secondly, we need to prepare ourselves in case some do hop in a suitcase or refurbished mattress and head this way. Rifles, bows and arrows and those owls people jam on rooftops to scare away crows won’t work with these tenacious creatures. Nor will they succumb to rat poison, roach killer or the neighborhood barn cat, who works well for eradicating mice. DDT would work, but it’s been banned, one of the reasons the two bedbug experts left in the world say the epidemic now exists. Bedbugs won’t even get scared away by bedtime stories, even those that involve a viscous wolf who disembowels grandma and a little kid wearing red. We may knowingly nod and say we can defend ourselves by simply burning all the beds. After all, they aren’t known as couch or futon bugs, now, are they? But the two experts say the critters even live beyond their names and don’t even hang around beds half the time. Instead these teeny, apple-seed-sized buggers hide in crevices, cracks and frames of ugly paintings hung around the house. Thus, our only solution is ... to burn down the house. The two experts said absolutely nothing about the bugs thriving in the High Plains or beneath a field of open stars. We could live in tents — unless, of course, the tents happen to have crevices or ugly paintings. If that seems too drastic a measure, especially with nighttime temperatures that plummet below 30, we can go for the proverbial big guns. We can simply change our attitude about the buggy critters. Back in the 1600s, metaphysical poet John Donne penned a poignant poem about a flea, changing its perception in the human mind forever (or at least until 1702). He writes about a flea that bites him and then his lover and how the flea has now become a sacred temple of their mingled blood. Perhaps we can begin to view bedbugs in the same manner. Rather than brushing them off (which can’t be done anyway), we can learn to admire them. After all, if they travel the globe as unwilling to die as the two experts say, they are effectively becoming mobile United Nations. Just think of all the blood from every stretch of the planet mingling in the little creature. While at first bite they may seem like menaces, the bedbugs are, in fact, promoting world peace. Heck, all wars would end, all nations would be fed and we may even get cheaper imported incense from India because we all now love each other. Sounds like an excellent trade-off for an itchy little red spot on the ankle, no? Let’s call those two experts just to verify.
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