• nit picking •
Ooof! What a morning. I come down to make breakfast. From the bathroom, I hear crying. (*Shudders*) of something apocalyptic.
It turns out, the girl, in her turn, has ‘lice’. And a full head of hair, radiant, and, on any other day, resplendent.
Of course, I feel for her. I go back in time, to Mrs. Queebee’s room, in the fourth grade, she, and the nurse, Miss Fronk, and me, a tongue depressor, my scalp, and ‘the big light’.
I ‘get’ the ‘horror’ of the ‘pronunciation’. “You have head lice.”
The ‘inner aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhh!!! (Well, that’s self-expanitory.)
The ‘denial. (‘Uh-uh! Not me. I bathe every day, not like that snot-nosed little brother, of mine, who, you’d be lucky if he bathed once a week!!’)
The anger. (Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggghhhhh!!!)
The self-loathing, or it’s auxiliary. (Not me. It has got to be those animals I am forced to live with! Cruel fate! …. This is somebody else’s fault, and when I find him, God help him.)
The blaming. (Daaaaaaaaad!!!)
The acceptance. Scratch that.
I try to help. By the end of the day, after school, we will have some special shampoo, with something toxic, (to them) to get rid of it. Isn’t it called, ‘Rid’? If so, kudos to those little-acclaimed ‘phrase-makers’. Those word-sculptors. Those Michelangelo’s of myth, those prodigies of product-placement.
I try to offer the ‘big picture’, the ‘broad perspective’.
“Hey, sweetie? It’s nothing to be upset about. It’s just a part of Nature.”
(I stuff bits of a cotton ball in my ears. She should be in the Opera, with ‘pipes’, like that. She’s is a ‘natural’. I don’t give up. I know she has to face the day, and she is ‘stressing out’ totally, before it’s even begun. I try to be helpful.)
” Hey, sweetie?” I say, through the bathroom door. “Have you heard about ‘micro flora’? We have little creatures which live in our eyelashes, which do no harm. And, in our intestines, there are little bacteria which aid in the digestion of food. I know it’s a new concept, but believe me, micro flora are our friends…”
It is one long screech. “I’ve got BUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGSSSS!!
IN MY HAIR!!!!”
“Uhm, yes. But you have to have had them there for at least ten days, to have laid eggs, ‘nits’ they’re called..”
“SHUT UP!! SHUT UP!! Go AWAAAAAYY!!”
“Oh, uhm, OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person. I just want you to know.”
“Please, go away.”
(Uhm. Yeah. She seems calmer. Bummer. Poor kid.)
I almost ‘feel’ for the little buggers. A Brave New World. Just sent an envoy, to the Queen, with the ‘good news’, and their ‘discoveries’.
“Feast your eyes, Your Highness …my Liege, uhm, look what we have discovered…’scrunchies’.”
Then, “This news, just in. They’ve all been ‘wiped out’, my Liege…once again…”
~ Tim Burchfield