1. It’s fun to tell people, “I don’t have lice anymore,” while attacking your scalp with the sharp, sweet relief of a pencil point. When I actually had the little guys, my head didn’t itch. It was only after all of the shampooing and cleansing that dried out my head that I felt like bugs were crawling everywhere. And it’s never the bugs that are the pain. It’s the eggs. The bugs come out easy. The nits (eggs) are straight up super-glued to your dome.
2. Your house gets clean. Cleaner than you want. Floor-licking clean. The downside is that you have to do all of the cleaning. And by you, I mean your spouse.
3. You get to put weird crap in your hair and act like it’s normal. Olive oil. Mayo. DDT. The scales of a virgin salmon. Did the first two, couldn’t get my hands on the second two. The olive oil didn’t really work, but it did make our house smell like Pizzeria Fondi. I wanted to carry a loaf of bread around and wipe it on my kids’ heads. They are the perfect height for an hors d’oeuvre table.
The mayo wasn’t cool, but my kids are ¼ British Canadian, so I guess if we were gross we could’ve dipped French fries in their hair. I considered Sriracha sauce for a second, but didn’t want to permanently blind anyone. Also, that’d be a waste.
4. Because places called LICE KNOWING YOU© actually exist. Look them up, I’m not joking. They are “the Northwest’s and Southwest’s premier head lice removal company.” On their website they wisely say, “the word LICE is enough to bring even the strongest person to their knees.” I’ve had two different families tell me this company was a lifesaver. But since I’m a cheap maximizer, I stuck to the mayo in our hair.
Want to mess with your family or coworkers? Pull up the LICE KNOWING YOU© website and leave it up when you walk away from your computer.
And if you ever open up your own lice-fighting company, I offer up my top lice removal names to you as long as you give me free treatment when my family needs it:
Itches and woes. A game of combs: a song of lice and wire brushes. Hugs not bugs. Of lice and men. A lice of pizza (this would be a joint lice removal/pizza parlor to go with the olive oil theme—think combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, but worse). Licey situation. Awww nits. Comb again? Treat yo’self. No lousing around.
The puns are endless. Just like the hoards of eggs incubating in your scalp. (Also, feel free to check out The Lice Clinic if you’re in the Seattle area.)
5. Watching the guy’s reaction at Target when I ask, “Where’s your lice shampoo?” with my two squirrelly boys in tow, who keep touching everything, including the guy, as we frantically look for the product that seems to have disappeared from the shelf. The sales clerk had to ask the pharmacy manager where the stuff was, and it still took both of us another two, infinitely long, minutes to find the tiny box of head pesticides.
6. I finally combed a girl’s hair, albeit terribly. My wife is long suffering. Combing thick, long hair with the pin-sharp metal lice combs was a rough place to start. Like learning to drive stick on a big rig when you’ve never driven more than a golf cart. The good news is that my wife never actually caught lice, and since she’s the only girl in the family, this was a coveted win.
7. You get to shave your head! Or at least say you will and then not. I’d always said I’d do it. Wow. How brave that guy was. We’d had at least five scares where we got calls from someone we’d hung out with that had fallen to the critters. That’s when I’d trot out my line, “Basic training haircuts for all the boys!” But then we’d never catch it. Just so happens that I was going to be in a very close friend’s wedding 10 days after I finally caught it. Welp, for his sake I didn’t shave my head. Didn’t want to ugly up his big day with my misshapen egg white.
8. Seeing people’s faces at work when they ask, “Are you feeling better?” And you respond, “Oh, I wasn’t sick. I had full-blown lice.” Because you never just say, “lice,” you have to say “full-blown lice.” And in that instant you go from human to leper. You can see it on their faces.
But then one of two things occurs. Either they say, “You’re kidding,” and then shrink back in revulsion, or they confess in a whisper, “I’ve had it too.” Then you try to top each other’s horror stories. It’s true, more people have had lice then you’d think. Six to 12 million kids in the U.S. get head lice each year. EACH YEAR. That means at least one other dad or mom has gotten it.
9. You feel solidarity with your ancestors in the time-honored tradition of cohabitating with parasites. That’s it. Not super cool, but you cling to what you can when you are crawling with crawlies.
10. You’re helping to break the last acceptable stigma in our society. Everyone loves hating on the people with lice. Fun fact: Lice aren’t a danger and they don’t spread disease. They are just annoying. Like 5,000 little brothers constantly tapping you on the head. These guys get an A+ in parasite class. They coexist perfectly. They don’t kill you. They don’t even jump. They have to WALK onto your head. They don’t really do anything except be super gross. You don’t really do anything until they start to annoy you. Yes, you can get an infection from scratching your head too hard, but that’s on you. Grab some mayo instead.
Lice should be called “a head full of humbleness” because you get to feel what it’s like to be an outcast. To be hated for something that’s not your fault. It sucks. People with lice are still people. So be nice! And don’t come over to my house if you have them. We just cleaned and are eating dinner on the floor tonight.