Welcome to the lice capades

My children have always wanted a pet of their own. I’ve always resisted because I don’t even particularly like the cat that everyone seems to forget counts as a pet, especially when it comes time to clean the litterbox. When they say, “I wish we had a pet!” in front of the cat, even he perks up from his 12th coma nap to give a look that says, “Guys. I’m literally RIGHT HERE” before curling back up into a useless ball, thinking, “But, yeah, you’re right, I’m not sure I qualify.”

Sometimes things just work out. That was my first reaction when my wife spotted lice on my daughter’s head last month. I haven’t seen the family much since that announcement, having rented a hotel room for the last 30 days but I’m sure they’re getting along great. Or they’ve all been consumed.

OK, so I stuck around.

“So guys, what should we name them?” I asked, cheerfully trying to lighten the mood.

“Kelly!” my wife replied, unhelpfully.

“Kelly? What a silly pet name. Kelly is reserved for human warriors or particularly good lovers. I was thinking we should for sure name one Pepe.”

Apparently that was the wrong attitude to have in this situation. The proper response is to treat your children like the disgusting bundle of disease they are, preferably only interacting with them wearing one of those yellow plastic CDC suits.

Head lice is so awful that you could contract the Plague and the virus would be all, “Ew. No. I’m not going anywhere near THAT. Nasty.”

According to the news, there’s a strain of “super lice” now active in 43 states, so that’s great. Other than being able to resist the traditional over-the-counter treatment, they apparently can leap tall buildings in a single bound, wear tiny glasses and pose as mild mannered newsmen.

If this is your first time dealing with these pests, there are some terms that you need to know:

Lice: Lice are hair bedbugs that spring up whenever you’re feeling particularly good about how well you think you’re doing as a parent. Like annoying roommates, they show up without warning, disrupt your life, copulate in unauthorized areas, are nearly impossible to get rid of and make things uncomfortable when they start gnawing on your scalp. Note: Googling “What lice look like” for a newspaper column will never allow you to sleep again.

Nits: What lice do in your child’s hair all the time. Most of the time they make tiny skull caps for when their offspring are in their goth phase. This can also mean the eggs that lice lay. Why they’re not just called “eggs” to begin with is a mystery, likely because we didn’t want to confuse them with some cute egg-laying animal, like chickens.

Louse: A single lice. Mankind, having been annoyed by lice for thousands of years, decided to stick it to lice where it hurts most – its pride – when, in 1938, coined the phrase, “to louse it up”, meaning “To mess it up.” Now lice are perpetually depressed. Ha, ha. Suck it, lice.

Nymph: A newborn louse. When Googling “nymph” for a newspaper column, one should be sure not to accidentally Google “nympho” as this will bring up entirely different, significantly more pleasant and more difficult-to-explain images when your wife glances at the “research” you claim to be doing. For example: a “nymph librarian” doesn’t exist while a “nympho librarian” apparently very much does.

To rid yourself of lice you can get the medicated shampoos but the most effective tool to combat lice is a wife that freaks out.

It’s not like I didn’t want to help. Unfortunately, she has seen my cleaning skills. Unlike men, women are able to spot dirt and dust molecules that are just contemplating forming a visible speck. As such, we both know if I took the time to meticulously comb through each child’s hair – a jeweler’s loupe and tiny swords to murderstab each one individually – she’ll never have peace of mind unless she does it herself. Works for me.

So here’s the first tip to get rid of lice: Haha, just kidding. You are never rid of lice. Just thinking about lice makes them reappear. Sorry, you have them now.

Here are some additional tips and tricks you can do that won’t be of any help either:

1) Find or create new children. Chances are the two of you are going to make ones that look similar. You had a good run with the others.

2) Try to reason with the lice and get them to pay rent. They’re already going to be living with you forever, might as well try to get them to chip in.

3) Create a super army of tiny lice-killing spiders and release them into your child’s head. The hardest part is getting them to wear the berets.

If you’re able to rid yourself of the tiny jerks (the lice!), rest assured you and your wife will be checking each other hair of best friend gorillas for the next six months.


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or in the shower, where he’s been living for the last month never feeling clean. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny at your own risk (he swears he’s “clear” but we saw him itch his head one time).