Thursday, December 15, 2011
Elijah’s school sent me an email the other day. Now, normally I view messages from them with the same interest that I do the never ending avalanche of “luxury watches” and “male enhancement” spam. But I perked right up when I saw the subject line: “Illness Alert: Lice.”
A note to spammers. Maybe you’d get me to open your dumb spam if your subject header was “Illness Alert: Lice.”
Here’s something you may not know about me. I. Hate. Lice. The very idea of it makes me viciously scratch my head. I’d rather stick my head into an Amtrak men’s room toilet than deal with tiny little bugs eating my scalp.
I came home that night and found Diana in our kitchen. Before she could even say a word, I launched into it, “Let me tell you something. If our son comes home with lice, I am going to sleep at the office. Not before I burn our house to the ground. I will make sure you aren’t here, however. But I am serious about it.”
Yesterday, I was sitting in a meeting where smart people were saying smart sounding acronyms and I was nodding my head in an attempt to keep up when my phone rang. I excused myself and picked up.
“Hi. Is Diana there?”
“No, this is her awesome husband.”
“Oh. Well this is Elijah’s school. As you know…we’ve had some lice issues and Elijah…”
“We’re going to need Diana to come pick him up.”
Lice. Little creatures eating my son’s brain (I assume). I didn’t go back to the meeting. I ran to my office and got online to look up lice symptoms. I then was hit by a crystal clear mental image: Elijah laying on my pillow the night before. In reality, he was saying, “I love you daddy.” In my mind, he was saying, “I’d like to introduce you to my parasite friends, daddy!”
I suddenly and furiously had all of the symptoms. I began scratching my scalp and screaming, “Get off! Get off!”
I called Diana and hissed into the phone, “He gave it to me. He gave it to me. That little sh*t gave me lice!” That’s the honest truth. That’s what I said. I’m terrific.
Diana tried to talk me off the ledge. Yes, his teacher found a lice on his head. But it was only one and he wasn’t infested. The teacher thinks they caught it before we could’ve gotten it.
I stayed at the office. Not because I thought I was safe. But because I could not be in that house. With those things.
Later that day, I received a video message from Elijah. He was speaking into camera with his hair still filled with Lice medicine. Diana had added a little animation to the video where little hearts leaped around his head. He repeated a script from Diana.
“Dad. Don’t worry, we’re getting rid of all the head lice. Because we love you and we want you to come home tonight. I got this goopy goo in my hair and it’s killing all the bugs except this one on my shoulder. I’m just kidding! See you soon.”
I reluctantly headed home and made Diana search every inch of my head for bugs. She found none. But I made her put all our pillows, bedding, clothes and hair into a pile in the yard and light it on fire.