A nitpicker’s lament

G* damned head lice.

Actually, head lice are themselves completely harmless.  It’s other people who are the nuisance.  The need to get them to let your children go back to school.

Sabrina picked them up at preschool, and now I have to spend hours each day vacuuming and combing hair.  My group’s research has nearly stalled.  The cleaning is not so bad, but nitpicking is awful work; I can’t let my mind wander.  Must focus on looking for tiny dots.  Did I ever tell you about the one nonacademic job I ever had?  I was packing cups into boxes.  12 hour shifts.  It’s very bad to put cups in the wrong boxes (e.g. Dairy Queen cups in a McDonald’s box).  I was almost fired once.  I have a lot of trouble keeping focused for long stretches of time.  I bet I know what’s wrong with me.  I must have that thing that all the kids have nowadays.  What’s it called?  Attention deficit disorder.  That must be it.  Also mathlexia.  God knows what would happen to me if I had to leave academia and find my way in the real world.  Or maybe I’m just rationalizing the vice of impatience.

4 Responses

  1. If drugstore medications don’t work, I’d shampoo with kerosene, gasoline, or turpentine, outdoors, far away from any flame source. Lice can evolve immunity to drugs, but hydrocarbons thoroughly desiccate them.

    I know a guy who shaved his tween daughter’s head when, after treatment, he found one louse on a pillow. Lice revolt him; he was appalled to learn that our state health department now considers them a nuisance, not a serious problem, so kids with lice are allowed to attend school.

    Check out the South Park episode “Lice Capades”.

  2. Used a metal lice comb in the bath, once a day, with lots of conditioner on the hair. You could see the beasts against the white bath, and kill them between thumbnails. After a few days they were gone.

  3. Similar stimulus lead to a different response from me. I tried to get data on incidence and prevalence of lice by geographical area of the US so that I could prove it’s all immigrants’ fault. Could not find such data which I take to be proof that it’s all immigrants’ fault.

    On a related note, if women had been kept illiterate, Rachel Carson would never have inflicted the plague of lice upon us.

  4. We seem to have eliminated them from everyone’s hair. Nonprescription shampoo and lice comb with conditioner seems to have worked, eventually. The next week or so of cleaning and checking will be to catch any nits that were somehow missed. Thankfully, this is no longer dominating my waking life.

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