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

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations