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Charles Selle: A lousy nightmare ends — maybe

Updated: April 10, 2011 12:22AM



Having lice isn’t nice. It’s just plain lousy.

While we’re worried about high gas prices, Wisconsin lawmakers taking up residency in Illinois and Libya no-fly zones, mothers across Lake County are more worried about the smaller things in life: Cooties.

Or at least those that will admit they have a problem with louses in their houses.

For who among them wants their kids to be labeled the Typhoid Marys or Marks of their respective schools, spreading nits from classroom to classroom across the school districts of Lake County. Over the years, kids get stuck with a monicker and it stays with them at least through high school.

Anybody else know a Bobby Weiss, he has lice? They may still call him out on that 30 years later.

Daily baths, shampooed hair and all-around cleanliness is not a guarantee your family won’t be infected with lice. Head lice runs the socio-economic scale.

They don’t care what your school district spends on per pupil expenses. Cooties are equal opportunity parasites.

With a fading winter, lice outbreaks are endemic around these parts these days. Ask any school nurse, those that remain on the job, about the ominous-sounding pediculosis infestations.

Or a few mothers, whose duty it is to round up the family’s bedding and clothes, lug them to a laundromat and wash the devil out of them, or at least the bugs, using water from the spigots of Hades.

Not only must lice be removed from children, everything they’ve been in contact with must be scrubbed or vacuumed.

It cost one nameless mother in a vague central Lake County town several hundred dollars to scour her family’s clothes, only to find the tiny critters crawled back into their lives.

Then there was the cost of the lice shampoos, kits, bombs, etc., all covered with paper and tape to hide the bug-killing names from the kids, who were told they just had bad cases of dandruff. Remember the monicker?

Also added up was the time clocked being a nitpicker in each of the boys’ heads. The overtime bill would hurt even the state of Illinois and we know how much they spend on overtime every day.

For haircuts, the boys now have that military favorite, the white sidewall. They are not happy. Nor is their mother.

She eventually brought in a professional delouser who wielded a mean, mean delousing machine, a blow dryer-like device which dries the little buggers and their eggs. Gone are the insects, but not the horror.

She continues to have nightly bug nightmares. She’d surely sue the lice for pain and suffering if she could.

When I heard of these travails with lice, I started scratching, which any shrink will tell you is a case of transference. And then the shrink would ask how I felt about that. Itchy, really itchy I would reply.

Also scary. Scientists are fearful that all the lice-killing potions parents have used over the years is creating superlouses, immune to shampoos and cleansers.

Talk about a nightmare. Or possibly a thriller coming to your local multiplex. There’s a script somewhere for Roger Corman.



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