Lori Falce: Bugs are little problem with big lesson
I sat at my desk, reading the story, feeling tiny pinpricks of dread running down my spine.
It wasn’t a crime story — something bloody and unthinkable. It wasn’t the latest volley in the political war of words. It wasn’t a tragic human interest tale of heartbreak and loss.
Nope. It was about bugs.
I have the kind of soul-deep loathing of insects that only comes with experience and overexposure. First of all, I grew up on a farm where fighting bugs was my grandparents’ way of life. Aphids, beetles, worms, grasshoppers. It didn’t matter. All of them were a threat and had to be addressed with killing force.
But then there was my sister, who had an absolute talent for befriending the kid with lice every single year. Miraculously, she never spread it to the rest of us. Nonetheless, my mother treated us like we were all infested, so at least once every school year, all four of us would be hosed down with noxious insect-killing concoctions and groomed like baboons.
Even the slightest suggestion of a creepy-crawlie makes me panicky. I can feel the bite of the fine-tooth comb on my scalp.
Imagine, then, my horror at the idea that bedbugs were found in the Duquesne Incline. And then at Steel Valley School District. And then again at the incline, causing a second closure.
The thing I have learned through years of fearing and fighting creatures with far too many legs to be trusted is that my mother and my grandmother were both right. They have to be tackled head on. Not sure you have bugs to fight? Trust me, it is better to treat your head, your house, your garden, your school or your mountain-climbing cable car like it has bugs than it is to hope for the best until you have a problem that requires a napalm-like response.
In reality, more problems — buggy or otherwise — should be addressed the way my mother did my sister’s annual lice exposure:
Don’t worry about blame. Just do what needs to be done. Take it as an opportunity to clean house. Do it right the first time, and then do it again anyway just to make sure. Don’t whine about how much work it is because doing it half-heartedly will guarantee more work later.
And a problem that isn’t solved when it’s small will always spread.
Damn, it bugs me when my mom is right.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].