GateHouse — WARNING: Today’s column will include repeated uses of the phrase “SUPER LICE.” If you are like me — which you are not, unless you’re currently hopscotching around the room squealing “ew ew ew ew” and flailing your hands around like a Motown backup dancer from 1963 — you will receive this news with the kind of horror they get in bad old monster movies when the aliens attack, or whenever Mitch McConnell walks into a room. Pretty much whenever they put the word “super” before the name of an insect, you know you’re in for a long afternoon.
I’ll just come right out and say this: My kids had lice last year. Both kids. Two kids, two heads, 5,000 lice. We understood it with the older one, what with the way he runs into other things with his head a lot (true story), but we’re still not sure what happened with the baby, who’s usually too busy eating donuts to really interact with other children. The good news was we knew where the lice came from, we knew who passed them on, and my children are under strict orders to never again report to that bus stop.
(I am actually psychosomatically itching right now writing this column. I have a lot of problems. You’d be surprised how many of them are insect-based.)
If your kids have never had lice, hit your knees and pray to whichever god handles head and scalp issues (The Romans had like eight of them). And then get up, because your prayers will fail. The lice are coming. All human children on Earth get lice, but you don’t know that, because no parents on Earth talk about lice until someone else’s kid also gets lice. Only then is it safe to talk about, a shared malady that brings people closer together, just obviously not enough to where their heads are touching. But you can look at the person across from you at the playground and think, “Now there’s someone who has been awake at 2 in the morning combing invisible atom-sized creatures near the space adjacent to her children’s brain.”
Yet this year brings extra panic, because researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which is officially now Earth’s worst place to have a field trip, discovered that this new strain of lice seems to be resistant to the usual gross treatments.
Related, sort of
- I For One Welcome Our New Walking Octopus / Walking Insect Overlords
- I Can’t Help But Notice That No One Is Fleeing in Terror From The Hairy Crazy Ants
But here are a few basic things we can do to ease the problem. First of all, we need to drop the word “super” here. These are animals that spend the whole of their lives feasting on the scalp-flesh of human children; they do not require additional descriptive adjectives. Let’s replace it with something less terrifying, like “caramel.” There. “New strains of caramel lice may be coming to schools near you.” I don’t know about you, but I’m like 75% less frightened already.
Second, let’s drop the word “strain.” Strain indicates scientists in canary-yellow hazmats suits working on ET and carrying around vials of things designed to kill the things in vials. Let’s call them “cousins.” Caramel Lice are cousins of regular lice. Jeez, these guys are starting to sound not only safe, but adorable.
Next, we need better-smelling lice-treatment options, because the ones we have aren’t working, and also they make your kid’s head smell like the contents of a bucket that is used to clean a middle-school cafeteria. I would almost rather have lice and have a normal-smelling head that be lice-free and have this smell about me. You know those stink-lines that come off of Pepe Le Pew in cartoons? This is what I’m saying.
Finally, and I can’t back this up with paperwork, but I’m preeeeeeetty sure that when we were going through three rounds of Lice Hell last year, there were reports of super lice as well, tiny gnawing monsters resistant to the usual treatments. I saw this on The Internet, which is where I usually turn immediately for health tips regarding my children. (It’s incidentally where I read about super lice in the first place.)