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Monday, October 06, 2008

Why Does It Itch Daddy?

Yesterday toward the late afternoon my 11 year old asked me if I would like to sit outside with her and "play" around with beads, jump rope, and maybe climb a tree. We had been inside for a while just hanging out. I told her that I would love to, but that I didn't really want to get eaten alive by mosquito's. she said they didn't usually bother her and I said I was a mosquito magnet.

She came in a little while later obviously uncomfortable, talking about the mosquito bites. Her legs were covered with large unevenly shaped bumps - almost like welts. The itching was driving her crazy. "Why do they have to itch so much Daddy?" she asked.

I had never really thought about that. It doesn't seem to be in the interest of the mosquito for its bite to be so uncomfortable for us. In fact, the chemicals it releases to slightly anesthetize the bite wound and thin our blood seem designed to avert our attention.

I offered the guess that our body had developed a chemical response to the mosquito that resulted in the itching as part of a defensive strategy to keep us from being sucked dry. I asked to her imagine what it would be like if the mosquito bite didn't itch and if we didn't run inside or into the sunlight or cover ourselves? We both decided that eventually we would bleed to death.

So, in a way itching is good in the same way that pain is good. Pain tells us something isn't right. Without pain warning us about this or that we would probably all be dead within days or weeks.

I don't want to see us go through a depression or severe recession, but it's like we've been on a decades long binge and the consequences are just setting in. We're in for a lot of pain I am afraid. I take no joy in the suffering that will come upon many people; it makes me want to weep to think about it. I hope that this pain will make us more sober minded, more frugal, more oriented toward producing real goods and services and less towards relying on asset appreciation and financial games.

It's going to itch like hell for a good while I'm afraid. I hope our community is up for the mutual help and love that will be required. I hope it pulls us together rather than tearing us apart. We will need each other (black and white, male and female, old timers and new comers, Christian and Jew, etc). "Every man for himself" scares me more than anything.

I hope the itching makes us wiser before it makes us insane.

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