Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Thousand of my Closest Friends.



Disclaimer: This post covers extremely delicate and sensitive information, including a very traumatic childhood experience. It may trigger some people.

Something really, really bad happened here recently. It was hard to know whether to write about it on my blog or not. When I found about it, I was so ashamed. I felt sick, and cried. Dealt with it as best I could.

I'm ready to write about it.

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I HAD HEAD LICE.

I had really itchy hair one day, needed somebody to check my hair. That's a mark of a true friend, isn't it? "Hey, can you see if I have head lice? Thks."

Luckily, my sister Linda was visiting that same itchy-hair day. I laughed, said mate, I need you to check my hair for nits. She laughed, then checked my hair for nits. Then we both stopped laughing because I had nits. She didn't even want to stay for a cuppa. "Nuh - mate, you've got nits."

I was in filthy, vermin-ridden shock. I actually blustered ... "But - but mate! I had so much to tell you but I can't tell you anything now BECAUSE I'VE GOT NITS."

She kissed her son goodbye. "See ya son. Try not to catch nits from Aunty Eden." She threw me an air kiss and left.

It was late afternoon, the kids were hungry, and the chemist was closed. I walked around the house and thought, what the hell do I do? Stripped my bed for starters. We just don't get nits. I was not prepared.

I had a case of headlice once before, when I was in grade six. I knew I had them. Used to excuse myself from the dinner table and go off into the other room, put my hair upside down to furiously scratch until my scalp was red and throbbing. Then calmly walk back to the table and finish my dinner. I don't know what I thought ... that they would magically go away? The back of my neck was embedded with bites, which my long hair hid.

Finally, we were in the car one day .. to get a haircut. I kind of knew that I should probably say something along the lines of, "Oh, so, I have nits." But thought it just best to stay quiet. I will never forget the horror on the hairdressers face as she came over to start cutting my hair. One look at my head and she actually walked backwards.

Those nits of 1983 caused me to have a whole week off school .... when I finally went back, EVERYBODY knew I had nits and Benjamin Williams had made up a rumour that my nits were so bad that I had to put a paper bag on my head every day to treat them. Fuck you, Ben Williams.

So ... I had no KP-24 hanging around my cupboard, the chemist was shut, and there was a very likely chance that my boys had headlice too. I remembered a rumour I'd once heard .. that hair dye kills headlice. BRILLIANCE. I had a L'Oreal hair dye in my cupboard from a recent blogging event ... THANK GOD FOR BLOGGING. As I was applying the dye, I ran the bath for Rocco. Who decides to climb up onto the wooden frame of the bath, do a nudie run, slip, and go careening off the edge. I saw it happen and just threw the hair dye up into the air where it sprayed everywhere as I ran over to Rocco who was screaming hysterically.

My towel came off so I was naked from the waist down. Just as I was wondering if headlice can live in pubic hair, Max came running in at the sound of the commotion, starts laughing at Rocco who starts screaming at Max and I yell at Max that Rocco almost broke his leg so Max starts crying but tells me to put some clothes on before he flounces off.

Hair dye was dripping from the ceiling. My head was itchy. Tell me you're jealous of my life.

The next day I bought all the paraphernalia. Shampoo, wire comb, a mirror .. the works. I told the chemist lady it was for my daughter. It was weird to be out in society, like, everybody knew. That afternoon, combing the eggs out of my own hair, crying from disgust. Why does headlice exist? Do they serve any purpose? No wonder Buddhist monks shave their heads ... they're never faced with the moral choice of killing headlice.

How utterly revolting are the eggs - and so tricky to miss. You can get every single egg but if you miss just one?

It's the one egg, to rule them all. And it hatches and you start all over again.

For days I sat on the warm wooden boards on the back deck, combing and sifting. In the end, it was kind of soothing. I was a beast. We are born, we get nits, we die.

We're just animals, after all.





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