A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.


By Nina Pajak

Oh, come on, New York Times. Did you really have to go there, again? Haven’t you tormented me enough over the years?

But no. I understand. News outlets must go for the stories that sell. And what sells papers best? Well, I happen to think real estate is pretty interesting.

But no, really, it’s fear. And what critter consistently terrifies New Yorkers more than roaches, rats, or cannibal cops?

Yeah, it’s bedbugs. Henceforth to be referred to as BBs, so I can avoid continuing to type the word for Those Who Shall Not Be Named.

I really thought that perhaps we’d come out the other side of our media obsession with BBs, but then they had to go print a piece about how there are bedbugs in libraries and library books, which duh. My first reaction was to dismiss the story in exasperation and annoyance. But then my second reaction was to pick it back up and read it, because come on. What if there’s new information I need to know to continue my campaign of hyper vigilance? But then I read it and my third reaction was, I knew all of this, have done for years, and wish I hadn’t just rekindled active thoughts of BBs for no good reason. Then my fourth reaction was to get all itchy and freaked out and then my fifth reaction was to worry intensely about how I am going to go see “Les Miserables” in theaters in a few weeks (more on this another time).

Essentially, the story is about how libraries across the country have encountered BBs in both their books and furniture, and how the library systems are fighting back and how patrons are more and more afraid to borrow books, lest they lead to infestation. One girl recounted finding a bug crawling across the page of an edition of True Blood she’d lent. Much as I love libraries and all they represent, I hardly think a free read-through of Sookie Stackhouse’s adventures is worth months of extermination fees and sleepless nights.

Who needs this? Not I. On top of everything, we’re moving in a few months to accommodate our growing family, and this prospect has me preemptively scratching. I honestly found myself wondering recently whether it would be worth living in a cramped one bedroom since we know it for a fact to be BB-free, rather than moving to an unknown quantity with enough square footage to fit two adults, a baby, a 60-lb dog, and all of their possessions. These are the things I think about. It isn’t healthy, I’m well aware.

Can we just all agree that at this point, the public is well-informed, the situation is stagnant, and any new reporting should be to announce changes in the BB status (ideally, improvements)? If the BBs were with it, they’d do what everyone else does when their existence is deemed a trend worthy of note by The New York Times: they’d stop it and move somewhere else.

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