So, there’s this thing going on where I’m allergic to everything. For the last year or two, I’ve been dealing with many bumps that look and itch like mosquito bites. Sometimes a few of them pop up on my face! It’s fun. It’s a 24-hour party with go-go dancers, and laser effects, and shirtless men who bring you martinis.

Unfortunately, we’re not here to talk about my allergies — mostly because I’m not 122 years old, and therefore have not yet exhausted all other avenues of conversation. I mention the allergies story as a precursor to the real story. The story about the bugs in my hair.

Yeah. You heard me.

A mom friend recently sent an email letting me know that a kid at school (probably a nasty, horrible bully who enjoys name calling and stealing decorative erasers) had given one of her utterly adorable, perfect children lice. Since we like to cuddle her adorable kids regularly, she thought we should check our heads. Of course, my head began to itch upon reading the first sentence of her email, so I asked Bryan to check my hair whilst I shuddered uncontrollably.

Nothing, he said. I bleated with anxiety. Please check again, I said. He agreed. Nothing, he said again, rather more impatiently.

The next day, still obsessing and still vaguely itchy, I insisted Bryan check my head again. He did. This time he did it with the forbearance of someone who must regularly deal with hysteria-induced itching. No, he said wearily. There are no bugs in your hair. I skulked away — a pouty, bitter, hypochondriac.

Over dinner that night, I grew reflective as the itching grew more intense. Clearly I have begun to get allergy hives on my scalp, I thought. I may crawl out of my own skin with the discomfort. Perhaps, I thought, I should stop eating all the things to which I am allergic. Farewell, booze. Goodbye caffeine. Wheat? No more wheat for me. And then I sobbed quietly over my pasta. My teardrops made concentric circles in my red wine, and be-salted my after-dinner tea. My desert, garnished with a fine dusting of crushed Vivarin, went untouched.

A while later, I was washing my itchy hair, and looked down to find bugs on my hands. Exactly two bugs, in fact. They were each 4 feet long and had jaws like Drill Baboons.

photo source

I’ve no idea how they’d been hiding so successfully. Perhaps I have a very large head.

I emerged dripping from the shower to email Melissa, whose kids had lice a few years back. I told her I planned to strip the family naked and use a flame-thrower to destroy our apartment and everything in it. She noted that using a flame-thrower without protective clothing was imprudent, and might raise eyebrows, even in San Francisco. I agreed naked flame throwing was more of a Burning Man thing.

So what happened next? You can’t wait to hear all about it, can you? Well you’ll have to, because I’ve been spending a lot of time with the washing machine lately. Not to mention all the hours I’ve wasted scrubbing my skin until it was raw.

Tune in tomorrow to hear more exciting adventures! To whom did I loan hats? The baby! Good lord! What about that innocent baby? Is this where the swarming ends? Don’t miss one action-packed minute of infestation!

58 thoughts on “Swarm!

  1. Sucko. If you end up getting your allergies investigated can i suggest the UCSF allergy department? I went and it was one of the best medical experiences I’ve ever had. I was also breaking out in hives all the time, turns out it was a dust mite allergy. Gross, I know. Ask for Dr.Fast, she is Janeane Garofalo and she is awesome.


  2. Mayo worked well for us when our daughter had it. Get some generic miracle whip.

    I think the mayo suffocates the lice. And it’s so thick and cold that it feels soothing to your itchy scalp. Here’s a link for head lice home remedies: http://www.susangaer.com/studentprojects/lice.htm

    Just a note: I had a friend who’s daughter had it and she just kept obsessing and treating her again and again. Week four, her head kept itching and she took the poor girl back to the doctor thinking that she still had lice. Her skin was just irritated due to the over-treatment!


  3. You know, I didn’t think about it at the time, and this is probably something you don’t want to hear, but are you sure your allergy outbreaks aren’t bed bugs? Bed bug bites can often look like mosquito bites, and they occur all over the body. I mean, since you’re bagging and vacuuming everything anyway . . .


  4. Silver lining from the Harvard site listed above:

    “A few lice on the head should not cause alarm; rather, they present an opportunity for parents to spend the needed time with their children in order to find and remove the offending insects. Grooming can be an effective method to remove lice, and engenders several associated physiological and behavioral benefits as well.”


  5. I’ve had lice twice. The first time was my first year of high school. The second was my first year of college. That’s a story worthy of a blog post. Maybe I’ll write one one of these days. Anyway, I found out I had them during a Biology Lab class. I was idly scratching my head with one nail and looked down to see a wiggling bug on my finger. I had had them before so I knew what it was. That day in lab we were looking at pond water under microscopes. So, of course, I stuck the little sucker on a slide and checked it out. Hands down the coolest thing I have ever looked at under a microscope.


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