The Great War For Civilization

The meeting takes place in a room.

The malignant stench of misunderstanding was palpable. There is no reasoning with “these” people. After all, they are not even really “people” to begin with.  These “fuckers” are so low on the evolutionary scale that even the Animal Rights people have nothing but contempt for their pathetic, wretched existence. Every single time their ridiculously literal name is plastered on a TV news station the coverage is always negative. Always. Screw them. Let them all die. And as the stench of irreconcilable ends hung in the tepid air, unclaimed or acknowledged, the weather of the mood was unmistakably violent.

There are two sides in this war.  The first is a superpower with considerable resources, wealth and access to military grade biological and chemical weapons. The second is a national-liberation army merely struggling for survival. So, how does it end? Genocide is not a word to be tossed around lightly. If someone merely wants to survive long enough to eat, fuck and defecate, who is one to cast aspersions on such modest goals? Still, our society is hurling towards an inevitable confrontation with these parasites. A final solution must be reached. I, for one, suggest we gas them to death.

This war started roughly a week ago, when upon changing my sheets I discovered a small and nasty little “bug” crawling around in my “bed”. Could these be the infamous bed bugs sociopathic parents use to frighten and punish their children with neurosis-inducing bedtime rhymes? After a quick Google search I discovered this was in fact the case. Needless to say, I felt violated. What did I do to deserve this? Besides keep a filthy apartment, fail to do laundry regularly and according to outside observers such as my DAD… apparently live in “third-world squalor-type conditions”.

The war began with a tactical retreat on my part to safer grounds (my parents house) and after devising a long , complicated procedure to avoid bringing the insurgency of blood sucking parasites to my parents home, we sat around the war room (map room, it’s actually a room full of ancient maps) and began plotting our larger strategy.

The process of coming from my contaminated apartment back to a clean house involves disposable plastic gloves, 4 garbage bags for contaminated clothes, clean underwear and t-shirts pre-placed in the garage and changing in the garage before bagging all contaminated clothes. Then a shower is taken and the clean underwear and t-shirt is also bagged along with the towels used for the shower and combined with the other contaminated clothes where it is carefully put into the laundry with disposable gloves at the highest possible temperatures. Then they go through the dryer for 40 minutes on the highest possible temperature (including shoes, wallets and gloves). This process we dubbed “the re-entry procedure”.

A decision was reached in consultation with my landlord to sub-contract out this sort of military operation to the type of people skilled in chemical and biological warfare on defenseless populations. I suggested Blackwater, she called Toronto Public Health.

Two days later they sent a man who did an “investigation”, confirmed my original suspicions and we set a date a week later for what they call “treatment”, which coincidentally happens to be the exact same word that the Nazis used when they designated entire trainloads of people to the gas chambers as opposed to the labour camps.

Long story short, after a hellish week or “prepping” my apartment, which included emptying my closest, all of my drawers and cupboards and moving all furniture away from the walls I was half done. Then came the disposal of my mattress, box spring and lazy boy chair and washing every article of clothing I own and bagging it away in special storage. The pest control people were to come back on Thursday to do their thing and then once again in two weeks. Currently I am living at my parent’s house until May 15th when I move into a new apartment.

Here’s the thing: Even in a time of crisis, the left side of my brain still works. So, I couldn’t help but notice that for someone poor or even just working class, bed bugs can literally bankrupt you. I am truly blessed to be born into a position of power and privilege and economic security. Sadly, for most people, that’s just not the case. If someone is poor how the fuck are they supposed to do any of the things I did to deal with this program?

For example:

1)     Having a computer with internet access to immediately I.D. the bedbugs and self educate about not only the bedbugs but potential options

2)   Having somewhere else to go. Somewhere with washers/dryers/a garage/garbage bags, disposable gloves, working showers, etc.

3)    Having a landlord who is cooperative and will actually work with you (a luxury that many poor people do not have)

4)   The financial resources necessary to buy a new bed, mattresses, clothing or furniture

5)    An employer who will work with you and give you time off to deal with the problem and find a new apartment (something much harder to do with bad or no credit)

For all of the conservative bullshit about being equal before the law and the whims of free market capitalism substituting for social policy, this seems to be a fairly large and concrete example of why such an ideology is not only factually nonsensical but also not even reality based in its logic. The Toronto Public Health website clearly states that “anyone can get bedbugs” including “rich people and even fancy hotels” and at no point during this whole ordeal did anybody even suggest I had brought this on myself. Considering that the relevant government authority on the subject is already stipulating that it’s NOT the victims fault, then what kind of recourses are being allocated to help poor people (or the elderly) deal with these life destroying and financially devastating parasites?

Or maybe a better question is what kind of forces are being mobilized against such action? Why did the “renters right to know” act fail become law? Why has the Toronto Public Health department gone from 40-50 reports in 2003 to being overwhelmed with thousands of reports every year? Why isTorontothe third most infested city in all ofNorth Americawith bed bugs?

Most experts attribute the rise of bed bugs to a combination of three factors. First, more and more people are living together in concentrated urban areas such as apartment buildings. Secondly, environmental regulation has banned the use of most effective insecticides and lastly, international travel is far more common than it used to be. Since I assume that no one wants to give any of that up, something will need to be done.

Regardless of ones stresses/problems in everyday life, there is a certain amount of comfort in being able to retire to one’s home and just sleep for a few hours. What is truly rotten about these critters is they rob you off that luxury. Without a place to sleep, one’s anxiety levels increase exponentially.

If any of you discover bed bugs in your apartment (and some will, believe) me…. do not panic. Take a deep breath and consider your options. Learn as much as possible as you can about bed bugs and learn your rights as a tenant! These are all listed on the Toronto Public Health website, including lawyers that you can contact if your landlord refuses to co-operate. Also, for people looking to move, check out to find out if the apartment you’re looking at has had reports of bed bugs.

Anyway, I’m off to do battle.

About Joe

Joe a public servant in the truest sense of the word, tirelessly advocating for YOU. He doesn’t “technically” work in government but considers all of the citizens of Toronto to be his children. Recovering drug addict, social worker, certified life skills coach (really), political dissident and former ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt manufacturer... Joseph pushes the boundaries of new Journalism. His mission is clear; merging opinion and fact into semi-coherent gibberish designed to generate ad revenue to feed his editors pockets (and ego). Joe’s writing represents your number #1 online source for what Joe may be thinking at any given moment. Other PP posts by Joe can be found [here]