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Behold, The Power Of <i>The Times</i>

It was just this past Sunday that the news hit. The New York Times declared on the front page that bedbugs were infesting the city "like a swarm of locusts on a lush field of wheat." Jeffrey Eisenberg, owner of a New York City pest exterminating outfit griped: "People are being tortured, and so am I. I spend half my day talking to hysterical people about bedbugs."

Hysterical indeed. Come Monday, there was enough word play on the old "don't let the bedbugs bite" adage to … well, it was a lot. On CNN's "The Situation Room," Eisenberg appeared again, lamenting to Mary Snow, "Eight years ago we might have gotten 30 bed bugs call a year," he said. "Today we get probably 8,000 to 10,000."

The "Today Show's" coverage was also complete with none other than, you guessed it, Jeffrey Eisenberg of Pest Away Exterminating (that guy is going to make a killing this year, by the way. Yes, pun intended.) Dawn Fratangelo assured us that that the city, and indeed, much of the nation, was besieged by bedbugs.

The news soon spread to Arizona, where the Arizona Republic warned residents: "A familiar expression to send kids off to bed has become an actual warning. [see what I'm talking about?] Once nearly eradicated, the bugs are returning to beds across the country, including here in Arizona."And Texas. And Wisconsin. And Atlanta. And Pennsylvania. Today, Time warns that the critters are "Coming to a bed near you." "Those childhood warnings to not let the bedbugs bite," writes Time, (you know which ones those are, right?) "are taking on new meaning in beds from New York to Los Angeles—and many beds in between."

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And, since most great American sagas end in a lawsuit, by Wednesday, the Associated Press had reported that "Two Swiss businesswomen who spent a week at Manhattan's Hotel Pennsylvania in September have filed a lawsuit saying they had a lousy time trying to sleep there because they were bitten by bedbugs." "Hotel Let Bedbugs Bite," screamed the New York Post.

Behold, the power of The Times. Oh, and sleep tight.

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