Well, that settles it - I have bedbugs. Bedbugs in the bed, bedbugs in the pillows, bedbugs on the couch, bedbugs in the car, bedbugs in the other car, bedbugs in the amphibious assault vehicle, bedbugs in the panic room, bedbugs in the haunted nursery, bedbugs in the room that the clowns dress in. In short, the entire place is thoroughly infested with bedbugs.

Well, that settles it - I have bedbugs. Bedbugs in the bed, bedbugs in the pillows, bedbugs on the couch, bedbugs in the car, bedbugs in the other car, bedbugs in the amphibious assault vehicle, bedbugs in the panic room, bedbugs in the haunted nursery, bedbugs in the room that the clowns dress in. In short, the entire place is thoroughly infested with bedbugs, which, of course, brings up the crucial question: "Thoroughly infested" is totally redundant, right? Because I'd hate to squander my word count on superfluous adverbs.


I should point out here, by the way, that I don't have bedbugs, not at all, though I hardly see what that has to do with anything. Because according to the websites, TV reports and magazines that I come across — seriously, what the hell, Pro Wrestling Illustrated — I have bedbugs, and you have bedbugs, and everyone has bedbugs; basically every night you rest your valuable head on what is essentially a forever rustling, chattering dance party of clickering parasites who wait until you drift away to begin nourishing their tiny, bulbous tank-like bodies on your blood. That's right. Every twinge, every slight rustle, every tiny fleeting itch on your body? Absolutely every single one of them is a bedbug. Each time. Crawling. On you.


You may think I'm being melodramatic with the over-punctuated short sentences, but let me assure you this is a SERIOUS PROBLEM, not just some vague of media-born conveniently distillable primal fear-exploiting Tale of Hideous Terror, like that thing about the SARS, or the anthrax envelopes, or great white shark attacks, or swine flu, or West Nile virus, or swine Nile SARSHARKTHRAX, or those monkeys with bayonets from France. So get buying something!


But, listen, enough about you, let's talk about me, because it's like not I'm enjoying writing about monstrous, difficult-to-kill rice kernel-sized vampires who literally gorge themselves on your flesh while you sleep, like those microscopic skin parasites you read about in health class, or Sean Hannity. As anyone who has ever met or watched me attempt to exterminate a spider will attest, on the scale of Rugged Individuals Who You Want Attending to Your Infestations I fall directly between Tommy Hilfiger and the kid who plays Zuckerberg in the Facebook movie. When the exterminator comes to my house, which he does with such regularity that I need to remember to what I can bring to the next potluck, I essentially instruct him to rain gas-bombs on the entire block, which is bad news for local puppies and hamsters, but I can take no chances. Because when it comes down it, no amount of potentially mutation-inducing noxiousness is enough to make want to risk the appearance of spiders on the back porch door. ("But, Jeff," you're thinking, because you're a concerned reader, "Doesn't that connect to the outside?" YES. Yes it does. BUT I DON'T WANT SPIDERS OUTSIDE EITHER. I've been very clear on this.) One time there was (erroneous, it turns out) reason to believe someone had brought head lice into the house, and I basically took to the second floor with a bottle of Five-Hour Energy pills and a military-grade flamethrower. I regret nothing.


Besides, I live in Roach Country; I'm acclimated mostly to beasts that I can battle man to man, although I do confess to enjoying the distinct advantage of owning shoes. And even more besides, frankly the only reason I'm doing this is because the therapist people tell me it's best to write about my fears to get them out of my subconscious and into my first floor-conscious, so that's why I'm writing things that my family members won't remotely consider reading, to deflect with humor, so I can finally sleep easy tonight, atop the dining room table.


Jeff Vrabel has no idea; Tommy Hilfiger could be handy with the crossbow for all he knows. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com and followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.