Getting a Head: Touring the World as a Giant Dancing Bear
If you aren’t crazy before you travel across the continent in a van, performing in packed theaters wearing a mascot costume of a famous cartoon character, you sure as hell will be afterwards. Daniel Falk invites you to join his descent into madness, and to meet the friends he made on his way down.
That Which Cannot Be Named.
BY DANIEL FALK
Last night my wife and I were enjoying a game of You Don’t Know Jack when one of the questions featured two words that sent her into an immediate panic. This state of inconsolable, albeit brief, terror at the mere mention of these words, a full year after the original incident, may point to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.1 What were these words that can reliably trigger this terrified response?
After spending several months each year living from hotel to hotel it becomes a question of when, not if, you will encounter these motherfuckers.2 However, on this tour, my wife was lucky enough to encounter them not once, but twice. I was not on the tour in question when my partner’s brain was wrecked by these blood-sucking shitfucks,3 but I have had the pleasure of dealing with a now totally neurotic wife.
Typically on tour we stay at whatever hotel the show has a sponsorship deal with. On this tour there was no sponsorship deal, so the company booked the cast into hotels where they could get cheap deals. However, the cast didn’t end up staying at these discount(read: obviously bed bug ridden) hotels because the road manager had previously worked on the North American Justin Bieber tour and had amazing connections to all the fanciest(read: probably should not have bed bugs) hotels.
So, thanks to a well connected road manager, the cast lived it up in hotels worthy of an adolescent multi-platinum pop star, completely free from concern that they might get infected from the brain-melting horror the scientific community calls Cimex lectularius.4
I will not name any of these TWO fancy hotels where my wife found bed bugs. I’m not particularly keen to open myself up to libel charges. However, both hotels, hotels fancy enough that they had been graced by the presence of the Biebs himself, had bed bugs in the bedding.
Who knows? Maybe Justin Bieber is responsible for the recent surge in bed bug activity… I hadn’t really heard of them as a problem until he burst onto the scene. Maybe he caused the outbreak!
My God… Maybe he IS a bed bug himself!?5
Both hotels subjected her bags and clothes to steaming. They assured her that she would be fine, and that this never, ever, not in a million years, happens in their hotels.
When she returned home to Toronto, I was only with her for a week before I flew out of town for a Christmas gig in Saskatchewan. Shortly after I left, she made the alarming discovery that the hotels hadn’t successfully steamed all the eggs out of her bags—and that they fuckers had hatched and were having a gay old time taking over our home.
She immediately called me and I threw everything I had with me out into what is supposed to be the ungodly cold of a Canadian prairie winter. Temperatures of – 30°C are not uncommon at this time of year in Saskatchewan. I would know—I grew up in that frozen wasteland. A bed bug will only last about 15 seconds in – 30°C temperatures. Even at – 15°C they’ll only last a few days. However this particular year, for whatever reason, God decided that he would bless the prairies with the mildest winter I’d ever experienced. It was only two weeks later that the temperature got cold enough that any contaminant that may have made its way into my bags would have died the horrible freezing death that it deserved.
My wife was completely traumatized by the experience. She felt violated and ashamed and dirty. She did everything she could have to prevent them from spreading—after each incident she threw out her luggage and most of her clothes. She couldn’t enjoy the company of friends—she constantly worried about contaminating others.
I’m happy to say that we’ve been living bed bug free for a year now. However, I can no longer eat anything in bed. Any dropped crumb can and will be mistaken for a bed bug. Any blemish on my pasty white skin will be immediately interpreted as a bed bug bite, rather than what it usually is… bacne. Bed bugs have become that which cannot be named. Their mere mention, say by a humorous trivia game, causes hours of anxiety.
Jusin Bieber, this is your fault. I demand an apology.
1 My opinion as a qualified amateur pop-psychologist, well versed in a number of bullshit theories and self-help books.
2 I hope my conservative family will forgive my use of strong language, but bed bugs are honestly the worst fucking cocksuckingfuckshitcuntfacedshitbitchrat-bastardmotherfuckers in the world. Fuck.
3 See above footnote.
4 Or Lifewrecking Demonshits because even the scientific community fucking hates them.
5 You read it here first, folks. Justin Bieber is, at the very least, at the centre of a global bed bug conspiracy.
SUGGESTED READSGlobal War on Bedbugs: Letters From Bedbug City: Column 15: On Lice, Swine Flu, the Borough of Queens, Sleeping With Bedbugs, and Some Other Things
by Alan Good (9/13/2010)
Global War on Bedbugs: Letters From Bedbug City: Column 2: I Inspect My New Surroundings
by Alan Good (10/21/2009)
Global War on Bedbugs: Letters From Bedbug City: Column 3: People I Would Bite If I Were a Bedbug
by Alan Good (11/3/2009)
RECENTLYA Small-Scale Organic Farmer Wants You to Know a Few Things
by Claire Boyles (10/20/2014)
Field Notes from Gentrified Places: The Black Female Body
by Vinson Cunningham (10/20/2014)
List: Things That Needed One More Iteration Before They Were Ready to Go to Market
by Norman Birnbach (10/20/2014)