Monday the 13th might have a special kind of bad luck. To start the week, and hot on the heels of the one he filed last Friday, we’ve received another hyper-dramatic dispatch from Bud Buck.
This year, media consuming Americans are under vigorous assault by a relentless enemy. No matter where you turn, you are a potential victim of this stealthy scourge. Even if you spend only a small amount of time watching TV or reading newspapers, the chances are very good that before too long, you will find yourself face to face with one of these pests.
Bedbug stories! They’re everywhere!
“People are frantic and they don’t know what to do,” said TV critic Pixie Hickey. “They can’t avoid having to think about bedbugs, but all the channels are infested. Reports about bedbugs in hotels, bedbugs in taxis, in airplanes, there’s nowhere to hide. There are even stories about bedbugs in our own homes!”
Looking for confirmation, I found a group of shoppers staring blankly at the personal insecticide shelves at a local discount store. They verified Hickey’s thesis.
“I am not the sort of person who would even consider watching a story about bedbugs,” said Arlene Squeamish of Coon Rapids, “but I’ve seen at least a dozen in the past week. I was raised with the expectation that only people who live in filthy homes need to think about bedbugs, and I’d never ever have to spend a moment considering their little flat bodies and pointy sword-like protrusions. And now here I am thinking about AND talking about bedbugs too. And to a journalist – another kind of horrible creature that gives me hives. I feel dirty and worthless.”
It’s easy to understand Ms. Squeamish’s squeamishness. In the not too distant past you could read through truckloads of newsprint and watch television nonstop for months and never encounter the word “bedbug”.
Fred Critters of South Minneapolis has watched this situation change. “Nowadays as soon as my feet hit the floor and there are bedbug reports on the radio. I’m seeing bedbugs on my TV, and when I look in the paper, not only are there super close-up pictures, but they have detailed descriptions of bedbug sex habits and lots of information about the “blood meal” they’re out to get – from me!
What’s changed? TV critic Hickey thinks we let our guard down.
“There were so many taboos in the old days – stuff you simply couldn’t talk about. But the boundaries got pushed back and back until now nothing is too embarrassing and anything goes, and as a result it’s very, very hard to get attention. People have become difficult to shock and almost impossible to appall. So you need a riveting idea – something to really spark the imagination. Bedbugs crawling all over your face at night is one of those really powerful images.”
What can stop this current wave of bedbug stories?
“Boredom,” said Ms. Squeamish. Once bedbugs are no longer surprisingly gross, we’ll move on to something else that’s freshly disgusting, like cooties. Or silverfish.”
When will that day come? Not soon enough!
This is Bud (Bedbug) Buck!
What is your favorite kind of news story to turn off or skip over?