The View From My Place: Fear the bugs


Life was a lot different growing up in South Dorset in the 1950's. Looking back there wasn't a whole lot to fear, but that didn't keep us from manufacturing things to fear. I recall that we were convinced that there were Communists infiltrating our area. The ultra-conservatives of those days were running around spying on "people from away" who were presumed to be Communist sympathizers if not actual Communists.

It went so far on a national level that a radical conservative named Joe McCarthy took the issue and successfully whipped it up into a national hysteria, before a brave journalist; Edward R. Morrow, called him out and brought his xenophobic efforts to a grinding halt.

They say "the more things change; the more they stay the same", which goes hand in hand with "those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it". Both appear to be true today. Once again we are being whipped up into frenzy and are told by those who see the benefit of keeping a population in a perpetual state of fear that we must ban those of a certain religion from entering our country. Be very afraid of people who are different from you.

Well, if that kind of fear works for you have at it. What fears me most these days is something no bigger than the "D" on a dime. Little tiny critters that live in the tall grass and chill out on our trees waiting to lethargically drop onto your shoulder and work its way under your skin. This little enemy is much more likely to cause you harm than anyone wearing a turban. I know you're probably sick of hearing about ticks and Lyme disease and I don't blame you. I am too. It probably isn't all that high on your radar, because there's not one politician out there screaming at you to live in fear of it.

Perhaps the reason for that is that the medical costs associated with this little bugger are astronomical. If there's any real fear to be had it's the insurance companies who know all too well that they are going to have fight to not cover the long-term care costs of Lyme. They are busy investing their money (which came from you) in buying Congressmen instead of treating the ill, but that's the way of our nation today, right?

In the early '60'sI would leave our house in the morning after telling my mom that I'd be "up on the mountain" for a while. She'd cheerfully say, "Be careful and be home by dinner". Can you imagine today having your twelve year old child take off for an entire day not knowing exactly where he/she was? There were no concerns about bugs that would ruin your life back then. I first learned of ticks when on Cape Cod in 1970. Even then they were more of an annoyance than life threatening.

Much has changed in a lifetime and much hasn't. We are still being manipulated by fear of the boogey man; some horrible hooded character who's going to come into your home and behead you. There is no doubt that there are enough bad people out there to lend credibility to the fear movement and I don't want to discount that the world has real problems that will require cool heads to rectify.

However, if you are a Vermonter there are greater, more immediate threats to your health and longevity and they're living really, really close to you. You may find one of them on your body, take it off and assume you're Okay. You might not be.

If you do want to live in fear then focus your energy on something you should really be afraid of and can actually do something about. You can rest assured that your leaders aren't going to.

Here's an important article that you should read: <URL destination=" ">

— Bob Stannard is a regular Banner columnist who lives in Manchester.

The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bennington Banner.


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