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Mon, Sep 15, 2014 11:01 PM
Issue of September 10, 2014
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Pain or peace?


Community conversations


October 09, 2013 | 10:45 AM

It is amazing how, in a big, wide world with complex issues and ever-expanding opportunities, it is sometimes the little things that affect us most. I speak now of the dreaded insect commonly referred to as the "no-seeums."

These biting demons attack unsuspecting residents on the nicest of autumn days. In silence, they snip at your legs in even the most serene settings. They invade your peace when outside during a beautiful sunrise or a harvest sunset. I do not know if they fly, walk, run or slither while tracking their victims. I only know that they cause you to slap your ankles under a picnic table, scratch your legs after a walk through the yard and dig at your legs while trying to sleep at night.

It dawned on me that we might have found the ultimate weapon to use in these tough international skirmishes that confront our country. They certainly would distract our foes from their intended mission. They don't do permanent damage, but they do slow one down. It would be difficult to plan a military attack while clawing one's ankles. It would be a detriment to one's professional appearance to possess red, scabby legs while negotiating for the upper hand in foreign policy. And think how we could outsmart our adversaries who hadn't slept in days because the constant itch that overcame them at night. We could easily perform covert operations while they were distracted. I think we are on to something here.

Special eyeglasses must be developed that will enable us to detect and capture the presently not seen "no-seeums." Now that baby boomers are aging, I am sure their need for remedial eyewear will drive the research and manufacturing of such magnifiers. This should be no problem and can be an easily hidden national security mission done under the guise of medical improvements.

If we could capture millions of "no-seeums," we would be heroes to our neighbors and friends. Known as "no-seeum" era-

dicators, we could even charge a bit for our services and thus reduce the national debt created by the military-industrial complex. The varmints would ship easily because they weigh very little. Might I suggest we use the United States Postal Service, thus giving them added revenue in these days of their economic uncertainty.

We could strategically place the "no-seeums" in the often frequented haunts of our antagonists. I am sure some techie guy could develop a computer program to ensure an "on time and same day" delivery service for this. We could activate the bugs from a distance, thus ensuring that the distributors would have no actual contact.

We will need to involve some top-notch environmental scientists in this covert operation. Even something as small and seemingly insignificant as a "no-seeum" is part of the balance of nature. Other than the human hand scratching after the fact, I do not know any other actual interaction of man and this beast. We have never effectively eradicated the critters from wooden decks, grass, gardens patios and other outdoor spaces inhabited by mankind. There is no track record to study the implications of the reduction of their species. We must proceed with caution here before we unwittingly throw off the balance of nature.

If my experience with the itch creators is any indication of their power, I would say a good dose of their venom would cause our enemies to self-destruct and we wouldn't have to lift a finger. When bitten, I am so grumpy from lack of sleep and incessant itching that I carp at everyone in my household. Not only will our enemies cease to follow their grouchy non-charismatic leaders, but they will begin to fight amongst themselves. This, as it advances, could turn into civil wars the likes of which the Syrians and Egyptians have not yet seen.

Wait a minute. Isn't that what we are trying to avoid now? I think I am having some second thoughts here.

How about this for a better idea: we call a truce around the world. Everyone is encouraged to take a deep breath and go to the beach or into the deep woods for a month. (That may be the problem; there is mostly desert in the Middle East.) In other words, we suggest that the human race just chill out for a while. We gather a tiny fraction of the sum allocated to military expenses from each country and hire the top-notch brains in the field of entomology, medicine, environmental sustainability, etc. to tackle the problem of doing away with the "no-seeums." Think of what we could do if all the resources now expended on hurting each other were spent to stop the itching. What a happy place this would be without such pain.

Aren't we a bunch of dopes to spend the best resources of science, human life, time and might to make life worse for others instead of better for us all?

Barbara Shaw
Debby Broughton
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