Parasites among us

We live in a world of parasites. There is no sugar coasting this; it is a hard truth, a pill hard to swallow. They are all around us. The dictionary defines a parasite as an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host.

Parasites live off their hosts. Unlike in commensalism where the host is unaware and unharmed, parasites are there to cause harm to their hosts. A good example would be worms inside a human intestine. Not only does the worm become an uninvited guest, but the worm takes it a step further by stealing nutrients that were meant to be those of its host. In time, the effects will show in the worm-infested person. What I find fascinating about parasites is that they do not intend to kill the host. Killing its host will mean an end to the parasite’s benefit. The parasite will then cause harm to its host, but not too much, just enough to keep it alive for it to continue living off it.

Unfortunately, parasites are not always gross worms or ticks; they can present themselves in human form. Even worse, they can present themselves as people we like, or at least deal with regularly such as neighbours, colleagues, or people we see every day in a taxi or bus to work. Whether in whatever form they present themselves, parasites are parasites at the end of the day. They have one mission: to benefit from us and suck us dry. Not to the point of killing us remember, but to the point where their benefit can be for as long as possible.

I would like to believe that looking back at our lives, there is at least one parasite in human form that crossed your mind while reading this post. A human parasite could be that bully who lurked in the school grounds for your lunch, money, or just your humiliation. It could be that one who made sure that they would make themselves popular by degrading you and sucking you dry of the last piece of self-respect that you held. Perhaps you returned from school to a parasite. Perhaps a family member who somehow believed that your existence was solely for their benefit. Perhaps you served as a machine without emotions and blood, who was forced to run around and do tedious tasks, if not, you were not able to have your meal or at least, your sense of dignity. A parasite could have been a family member who reduced you to an outlet to their frustrations. Because of this parasite, you had to dodge their fiery fists or mentally block their fiery words. Because of a particular parasite, it could be that you dread the memories of your first sexual encounter as you were robbed of your innocence, oh these parasites among us.

Perhaps you are currently dealing with a parasite, perhaps disguised as an employer or a mere colleague. You could love your job, but because of a parasite, dread to wake up to it. These parasites could be people who make your head a stepladder as they climb the corporate ladder or those who bury you with an enormous amount of workload, or those who escape the boredom of their personal lives by investing in yours. Each day that passes, you can feel the zest you had for your career escaping from you. Some parasites present themselves as thugs who make you pay a security company to protect your property, car insurance, or make you uneasy at intersections or send children in pairs to the shop. You never know when they will attack. These parasites are opportunists who refuse to find work and make a decent living like everyone else. They want the easy way out, constantly putting lives in danger, if not uncomfortable.
It saddens me to think that some parasites are people who have uttered the words, “I love you” to you. Some of these parasites once vowed in private, among silent walls to never love anyone but you. However, you stand here having to witness them doing the exact opposite. Some have done so in front of many witnesses: God, and the holy congregation, but now seem to be disgusted by your sight. They now hate the sound of your name.

For human intestine worms, we can deworm, and use anti-worm medication such as Vermox. For ticks and bugs in our pets and livestock, we can use tick-repellents, various solutions, and tick-removal tools. What can we take for the human parasites among us? Such is the world in which we live.