FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Melting Down and Through

A centenarian went to Las Vegas to celebrate. Sounds like the beginning of a joke. It isn’t. The adventurer’s a woman who lives in my condo complex and she brought back souvenirs from her trip. By the time she realized what was feasting on her 103-year-old body, there was such an infestation of bedbugs that she had to get rid of almost everything in her bedroom.

Just after hearing the story, I saw the condo board president outside. “They’re here, they’re here,” I whined. For months, she was diligent in an effort to rid the place of mice and roaches, posting typed instructions above the mailboxes about proper trash disposal. I’d told her repeatedly that we should be concerned about bedbugs, too.

Seems I have a reputation among my neighbors?as a freak. Okay, not just within my little community, but web-wide, thanks to Jeffrey and Alexander. I’m the unofficial bedbug expert, one who’s mounted a preemptive strike against the bloodsuckers (bedposts in containers of diatomaceous earth), who knows their favorite feeding time, how they reproduce (traumatic insemination), one who accesses the bedbug registry before booking a hotel room, and who, upon entering a hotel room, goes directly to the bed to pull up the mattress cover, checking for telltale signs and, then, inspects the folds of drapes and anything hanging on walls, while explaining to some stunned bellhop that I’m looking for bedbugs and why he should leave my bag in the bathroom where the little hitchhikers are less likely to lurk, after which I express some apology for, yes, being a frigging freak.

Anyway, I, recently, opened the front door and saw that someone had left a newspaper article on the welcome mat. Its title: “Bedbugs may be spreading superbug MRSA, study finds”. Immediately, I had this thought: So, now, they won’t be considered a mere nuisance; they could be a health hazard. (Of course, they’ve been my personal mental health hazard intermittently since I read of their resurgence.) But the study finding is both bad and good. Bad because methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be life threatening and is spread by casual contact and good because once bedbugs are considered a public health threat, eradication efforts will intensify.

My friend David Ker Thomson once asked about this bedbug fixation, wanting to know if it’s a metaphor. I think, maybe, he’s on to something. I’ll confess that at the pinnacle of the disorder (I’ve descended sanely), I lay in bed, staring at my closet, and pictured bedbugs, the size of VW Beetles, marching robotically towards me until I said aloud, “Get a grip.”

I got a grip.

But, then, I began to obsess on real and urgent dangers? a foreign policy of U.S. imperialism/Zionism that serves Wall Street and a domestic strategy that also enriches the banksters. Greed is the distillate, the buttress of war, dehumanization, and denial of dignity. The issues are vast and overwhelming: expanded war, troop deaths, drones, civilian casualties, our use of WMD, the economy, income disparity, healthcare, immigration, the ravaging of the environment, and a political system controlled by big business.

On Wednesday, we learned that three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant suffered melt-through.

While Congress and the mainstream media are riveted by Anthony’s wiener, our treasury continues to be pillaged, the middle class is disappearing, our planet is being contaminated, and people are dying.

Voting for a Democrat or a Republican changes nothing. Once considered a sacred right, the vote now is a charade, providing only an illusion of participation. Until we remove power from the multi-national corporations that control our sociopathic politicians and place it with the people, we have no voice, no chance, and no hope. Jeez, after deliberating on this, I might prefer staring at my closet, waiting, waiting for the attack of the super-sized bedbugs.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, MD, where it’s as good a place as any to obsess. Reach her at missybeat@gmail.com.

Limited Time Special Offer!
Get CounterPunch Print Edition By Email for Only $25 a Year!

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail