Questions about plague can plague a person

So many questions plague me, but right at the top of that list sits the question of why someone decided the word plague should mean mass destruction AND mere annoyance.

Those two circumstances have little in common.

This question could become theological, perhaps, in that plague was one of the 10 destructions in Egypt after the Pharaoh refused to free Israelite slaves. Likely before, or how would they have known that millions of flying critters eating every vegetation in its collective path should be called a plague.

And I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean slight annoyance.

But that’s the least of my question worries.

For instance, I can be sitting at my computer in the the early a.m. hours and smell cigarette smoke. Thick. Acrid. My rational mind tells me someone stepped out of a house to smoke. My get-your-head-in-the-game mind tells me it’s 3 a.m. in the middle of winter and nobody goes outside to smoke at 3 a.m. in the middle of the winter.

Fearing there’s actually someone out there, I refuse to get up and peek out the window. Well, that and the fact that getting to the windows in my attic room, where my computer sits, would be difficult.

The smoke smell happened so often, I started watching old movies in the early a.m. hours, but smoke travels, you know, and that nasty smell followed me.

When the movie “Psycho” came out in 1960, my mom wanted to see it. Why she dragged me with her is anybody’s guess, but she did. To this day I hate showering when I’m alone in the house. You can imagine what smelling cigarette smoke does to me. Spooky, at best.

Another question. How can a person who does not roll around in bed and gets up in the same position she fell asleep in be slipping off the edge of the bed when she wakes up?

Several years ago my husband spent a few days in the hospital, where he slept on a cushiony blow-up mattress. Because they throw it away when a patient leaves, I took it with us. It sat atop a pile of stuff in my attic room until I needed to use the bed in there and since there was no place else to put it, I put in on the bed below the covers so no one could see it.

It’s been nearly a year now. The first night I put it on my own bed and laid on it, I woke up nine hours later, coverless and cold. I fell asleep before I even pulled up the blanket.

Now it’s losing air and I wonder how to blow it up again. Still, that’s not the question. The question is why, when I awake still in the same position I went to sleep in, is that mattress slipping off the edge of the bed? I don’t roll over. I don’t kick about. I lay still and sleep.

Yet every morning that mattress hangs off the edge of the bed.

And the cigarette smoke has changed to cheap men’s cologne.

Now that’s really spooky.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at