Sunday, October 01, 2006

COLUMN: Bedbugs

Okay, so we've all watched shows like "Dateline NBC" and "48 Hours." As a result, we all know that every item in our household is, in fact, a ticking time bomb of danger that could, quite suddenly and without warning, kill us painfully. We all know that every square foot of our kitchens can be put under a microscope to reveal a world of parasites, bacteria, and legions of micro-ickies that could, quite suddenly and without warning, kill us painfully. We all know that every guy who uses the internet, is, in fact, a child predator who could, quite suddenly and without warning, gross us out bigtime.

Not even our own publications are immune to a touch of sensationalism now and again. Thanks squarely to articles in our papers, I am now completely afraid to go outside in the summer. Once upon a time, I lived a blissful life of ignorance -- before discovering that every innocent mosquito buzzing about is, in fact, a carrier of deadly West Nile whatzit that could, quite suddenly and without warning, make me act like a ninny anytime I hear buzzing around my ear.

Now, thanks to four articles that we've run in our papers thus far in 2006, we can welcome a new addition to my closet of paranoid fears and neuroses. Scoot aside, identity theft. Make way, tainted spinach. Don't crowd, contagious anthrax. Say howdy to our newest paranoid fear: THE BEDBUG!

Prior to this year, I didn't even know there WERE such things as bedbugs. I thought it was just a little nursery rhyme fun: "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!" Little did I know this phrase was less happy ode and more fearful prayer. Turns out that bedbugs are quite real, and the little suckers are supposedly making a comeback. Once upon a time, the bedbug menace barely existed thanks to our insecticide buddy, DDT. But, wouldn't ya know, it turned out that DDT can, quite suddenly and without warning, kill us painfully. Sigh. So bye-bye, DDT; hello, bedbugs.

Great. Like I had an easy time going to sleep in the first place. Now I get to lay there and feel phantom bedbugs crawling all over me, causing me at least once a night to leap out of bed, pull the covers back, and REALLY tick off my cats.

Good news, though! The last article I saw said that if you suspect that your home might have bedbugs, "Don't panic!" In fact, all you have to do is look for tell-tale "tiny blood spatters on your sheets!" Neat!

Let me ask you this: If finding tiny blood spatters on your sheets is NOT a good time to panic, WHEN EXACTLY IS? Frankly, any type of living situation that requires one to routinely check for your life essence leaking onto your bedsheets is, decidedly, a panic-able situation in my book. Plus, my sheets are black. When I was shopping for bedding, the ability to see things-that-go-suck-in-the-night wasn't exactly a priority.

And every article basically says the same thing: if you've got bedbugs, it's pretty much game over. The little vampires hide in mattresses and wood cracks and fabric and then wait til you're asleep before coming out to the blood buffet. You can't kill them unless you can find them, and you pretty much can't find them no matter how hard you look. To the bedbug, we're a human Ponderosa, and it apparantly doesn't matter if you slather yourself in Deep Beds Off.

"Do your research!" the article instructs. "Talk to (or hire) a professional pest-control worker." Do my research? Do my research WHERE? 'Cause let me tell you, the day I wake up and see tiny blood spatters on my sheets is the last day I wake up in THAT apartment. And I won't be happy with a pest-control worker, no siree. I would need the entire Orkin Army showing up en masse with enough ammo to suddenly and without warning kill every bedbug painfully within a radius of five square miles.

So, hurrah! Bedbugs are real, and it is our duty as media-watching citizens to be very, very afraid. So what's next? What other seemingly fictitious evils are next in line to spring into reality? Let me guess -- there really ARE boogeymen living in our closets? The Grinch really MIGHT steal Christmas? Eggs & ham might suddenly turn green? If that's the case, let me be the first to go on record: I would be afraid in a box. I would be afraid with a fox. I don't want bedbugs in my house, I freak out enough when I see a mouse. I do not like this paranoid fear, and I wish that it would

No comments: