Via Hakai Magazine, Stephen Strauss writes: Ticked Off on Martha’s Vineyard. Excerpt:
Everything begins with my wife cheerily announcing: “I’ve booked a place for 10 days on the Vineyard.” The “the” tells those in the know that the site is Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s the place where Barack Obama and his family regularly vacation, where the eponymous summer blockbuster Jaws was filmed, and where there seem to be more Harvard and Yale professors per square meter than on their respective campuses. When I hear its name, I experience what is known as a klong.
The Urban Dictionary describes klong succinctly: a sudden rush of shit to the heart. The klong comes to me because, in addition to its attraction for the rich and famous and intellectual, Martha’s Vineyard and its sister island, Nantucket, are often in the running for the title of tick-borne Lyme disease capital of the United States.
For those inattentive to the myriad health-destroying illnesses out there, Lyme disease is an inflammatory bacterial disease, which, if undiagnosed, has the potential to leave a person chronically sick. And on Martha’s Vineyard, when you talk to some of the roughly 16,000 year-round residents, almost invariably they tell you that they—or someone they know—have had Lyme disease or a related tick-borne illness.
They will also almost invariably tell you how they—or someone they know—are now perennially sick. So what my wife sees as a sublime ocean spot where you can go barefoot to the beach and eat fresh seafood daily and be stopped by Carly Simon—legendary singer-songwriter and Academy Award winner—and asked where you bought that great sweater, I see as a plague zone. I see it as Stephen Strauss klong central.