Published on September 17th, 2015 | by Richard Black0
Let There Be Lice!!! (Part I of II)
My biggest issue, my bone to pick, my peccadillo with infestations is that the pests never have the courtesy to make a reservation. I’m not saying that I’d love to find out that three weeks from now I should expect to find a horde of locusts or mice or bedbugs tooling through my bedroom. I’m pretty sure I’d find the news fairly upsetting. At the very least however the heads up would give me the opportunity to plan for the event and pick up some napalm, a few industrial grade explosives, a keg or two and even some streamers to do the event up right.
Pests can be so gauche and a few days to plan for an invasion would go a long way to making the experience a bit more bearable, a bit more genteel. I picture my wife and I discovering the news over afternoon tea.
“Ohhhh dear,” I’d hear Laura say as she was reading the mail, “it looks like we’re due for a swarm of roaches on Thursday.”
“Blast,” I’d whisper, my curse causing Laura to frown and take a quick sip of Darjeeling, “I’d better cancel that class I’m teaching on tantric sex and find an exterminator. By the way do you still have the number of that arsonist? The one who did the Johnson’s home last year?
The unpredictability of the event and its timing is bothersome enough but the bowel-curdling-four-fire-alarm-monkey-trying-to-fuck-a-football panic that follows is infinitely more upsetting. Google is not one’s friends during these times. Unfortunately it’s the resource my wife and I use as a first resort, presumably because we aren’t that bright and have a slight tendency towards sadomasochism.
Searching online for viable solutions to an infestation is akin to asking your father-in-law for advice about sex. There is no good news to be had, no upside. At best you’ll end up with a few broken teeth and divorced after having blown a few thousand dollars on couples therapy. The worst case scenario is really too horrible to even contemplate but probably begins with the words, “If Laura’s anything like her mother she really likes it when…”
If there’s a better reason to genetically engineer common pests to become sentient so that they can give their hosts a congenial “Hi we’re coming over in a few weeks” I haven’t heard it. Sure there’s bound to be some fall out. I’ve read Starship Troopers and watched my fair share of B grade horror flicks but I’d much rather fight off an interstellar horde of super intelligent spiders than have them pop up, unannounced, in my bedroom during the wee hours of the morning.
I really don’t think I’m asking for all that much. A simple email or text would do.
“Hi we’re DELIGHTED to inform you that on September 9th we’ll be swarming your home.
The Formosan Termites
Apparently evolution and genetic engineering has yet to catch up with my 19th century version of etiquette. The moths that invaded our home three weeks ago didn’t even have the decency to make a reservation. They just popped up in a sealed jar of orzo and started humping like…well like horny pantry moths. Our latest guests showed the same lack of consideration. Like the moths they’d probably been around for a month or so but it took a few weeks for them to make their presence known.
Per usual it was Laura who discovered them because she’s a little obsessive and, more often than not, entirely right to be so.
Ever since Darcy entered kindergarten Laura has been combing through our daughter’s hair and looking for lice. I would say that we’ve been somewhat paranoid about the little buggers but given the fact that we didn’t do anything to prevent their arrival that rings a bit hollow. I’d heard that there were preventative sprays on the market but I didn’t want to order anything online and pay for shipping. Apparently there is a price one can put on a child’s health and mine looks to be $1.99.
I planned to drive to a store and pick up the spray at some point, a phrase that has now been banned from our household, but never seemed to get around to it. After a few weeks I forgot about the spray altogether, until I saw Laura combing through our daughter’s hair and made a mental note to make an actual note to buy anti-lice spray. I consoled myself with circular logic, really my favorite brand of logic. Lice hadn’t been found in Darcy’s classroom or even the school ergo there was no reason to be concerned. Until of course there was.
“I think I found something,” Laura said during her nightly inspection of our daughter’s scalp.
I raced over, took a look at Darcy’s head and found…nothing. At least at first. After a closer look I thought I saw…something but it was small, almost like a shadow. Now historically my first instinct is to downplay these sorts of incidents or deny them altogether (I tested all the paint for lead, there’s no way that bat is rabid, they’re only moths for fuck’s sake what are you worried about) and this time I remained true to form.
“I think it’s a gnat,” I said once I finally caught a good look at the little bloodsucker. In my defense it did look a lot like a gnat, that couldn’t fly…and was hiding in my daughter’s hair. To further my defense there were a few gnats tooling around the room which may have influenced my conclusion. Sue me. I’m an optimist. I’ve also got really poor vision. If it looks like a gnat and it’s time for my daughter to go to bed and I’m tired then I say call it a gnat and hit the hay.
The little bastard really did look like a gnat. I can’t stress that enough and Laura will probably have those words put on my tombstone. Even when my wife took a picture of the suspect it still looked like a run of the mill gnat. Until she magnified the picture and I saw a distinctly lice-like animal. It didn’t have wings. There were far too many legs, an armored shell and I may have imagined this part but I’m pretty sure I could see it sinking its proboscis into my daughter’s scalp and pumping her full of malaria.
“I’ll head to the store right now,” I said. I might be an optimist but I can morph into a realist pretty quickly when circumstances dictate. I can also become a socialist, a capitalist, industrialist, satirist, nihilist, plagiarist or many other philosophical stances if the time and money is right. As a side note please consider me as an ist for hire if you happen to be in the market. My rates aren’t the cheapest and I may not be the best but I could really use the money.
I’m sorry that’s all the time I have today. I’ve got to set fire to every towel and sheet in our home as well as a few cubic yards worth of stuffed animals. If you see a bright light from somewhere in Missouri that’s probably me, in my backyard, building a bonfire that can be seen from space.
Please join me tomorrow, or perhaps the next day, for step by step instructions on exactly how to not deal with an infestation of lice. Until then I urge you all to think of me naked when making sweet passionate love to your significant other.
I remain faithfully yours,