Some Topics Can’t Be Mentioned Without Resulting in an Apology

lice pic

It seems like everyone has something about which they’re paranoid.

One of my coworkers is convinced that if even one person sees her consume an alcoholic drink in public, all her professional credibility will be lost.

My friend Michelle always worries that she has something stuck in her teeth and no one is telling her.

Dylan constantly suspects that I’m going to leave him home alone and unsupervised.

(I swear to you, I have never done that.)

Sydney thinks that bumblebees mysteriously fly around her room at night, waiting to sting her.

(Okay, that may have happened once.)

My paranoia?

That I have lice.

I know.

I’ve never even had lice.

My brother did, though.  We called him maggot-head for weeks.

Anyway, I remember being so anxious in elementary school when we were asked to line up for our bi-annual head inspection by the school nurse.

Which always occurred immediately following the video in which close up shots of vile, creepy-crawly critters embedded on every single strand of hair were displayed.

But because I was super bright, the thought did occur to me that some people had hair on other parts of their body, not just their head.

For example, my third grade teacher, Mr. Dobler, had a hairy chest, as evidenced by the curls protruding from the top of his v-necked sweater.

How could I not help but think about how perfect that chest hair would have been for a breeding ground?


Anyway, I do remember periodically having flare-ups of paranoia and insisting that my mother probe around my scalp in search of the little critters.

I even made my brother poke around once, and he promptly shrieked and batted at my head with a rolled up newspaper.  It turned out he was just messing with me, but I do blame him for contributing to the regression of my mental stability for the next ten years.

Well, the last couple of days I’ve been feeling a little itchy.  At the crown of my head, specifically.

Everyone knows those little buggers love the crown of the head.

Itch, itch.

I noticed the itching on and off over the span of a day or two.

I didn’t want to overreact.  I mean, I don’t share combs usually.

Although I did use my friend Kelly’s hair straightener at the gym.

And she does have those two kids.  They don’t appear to be lice infested, but really, how could I possibly be sure?

Itch, itch.

At least I never wear hats.

Well, except on Saturday when Sydney and I playfully tried on about 10 different Easter-like bonnets in Walmart.

Walmart, folks.

Itch, itch.

And then while flipping channels on the television today, I paused on The View, where they were discussing the lice epidemic that’s prevalent in schools today.

Wait.  Sydney goes to a school.  Dylan goes to a preschool.  I work in a school.

Obviously the television gods were sending me a clear message that I certainly have lice.

Itch, itch.

Well, by the time 6pm rolled around, I was 110% convinced I had lice.  I could feel that my scalp was positively crawling with millions of the little vermin.

I compulsively checked Sydney and Dylan’s scalps.  They looked okay, although Sydney did say, “Hey–our school nurse does this sometimes!” It should be noted that I wasn’t wearing my contacts.  It’s entirely possible that I just couldn’t see them.

I stared at both of them unabashedly for long moments, just waiting for them to itch their heads.


Of course, my scalp felt like it was on fire.  I kept having thoughts about the little bastards crawling into my ears while I was asleep and eating all the important parts of my brain.  You know, like the parts that help me control my calorie intake and remember how to type.

So, after mentally going through the list of whom I felt comfortable enough to call to ask if they would comb through my hair in a quest to find lice, I came to the obvious conclusion that it would have to be Kelly or Drew.

Kelly was originally first on my list, but then I remembered how I had ridden around her car, laid on her couch, used her hair straightener, and hugged on her kids, um, today.

Plus, her husband would have totally made fun of me.  Like, hardcore.  And since he’s bald, he wouldn’t have had the same sense of panic that Kelly would have had if an infestation was present.

She’s got shampoo-commercial hair, people.  If the night shaped up like I was suspecting it would, I was probably going to be hunched over her sink at midnight, brandishing my bottle of “Lice Begone” and trying to think up reasons as to why she should remain friends with me even after I combed the maggots out of her hair.

So, that ruled her out.  Which meant I had to ask Drew.  I figured that was only fair because, 1)  his children were probably the ones who gave it to me, and 2) if it turned out I had lice, he would have been summoned to assist me with clean-the-house-top-to-bottom duty, since a) he still owns 1/2 the house (and therefore 1/2 the lice) and b)  lice obliteration is a two-parent job, regardless of who may or may not have precipitated the original contamination.

So, I call him and whisper that I suspect I may have L-I-C-E (I didn’t want Sydney to overhear me and tell everyone tomorrow at school that her mom has lice.  I’d rather have people focus on my Botox® injections, thank you very much) and he’s needed to come over and check my head.

He asks, “You think you have lice in the hair on your head?”

I’m like, “Yes.  Where else would it be?”

(We both pause and think about that, which obviously makes me think about Mr. Dobler again.)

He sighs, “Okay.  I’ll come over, but you’d better not give me lice.”

So, he comes and dutifully digs around in my hair with a comb, commenting that my scalp is super red and obviously appears irritated.

I’m like, “I know.  My head is all crawly feeling.  Are you sure you don’t see anything?”

He’s like, “I don’t see any larva or egg-thingies or anything crawling.”

Me, “Then why am I so itchy?”

Him, “I don’t know, but it’s making me feel itchy.”

Me, “Look closer.”

He says, “I’m close enough.  Did you change hair products?  Are you having some sort of allergic reaction?”

I think about that.

I then I remember that I temporarily lost the travel-sized bottle of shampoo that I normally use when I shower at the gym and as a result, was forced to use body wash on my hair.

Yeah, don’t do that.

Unless you totally want to make your estranged husband panicky at the idea that his entire family may have lice.

Then you should totally do that.