AN ALLEGATION OF having head lice in primary school could have completely destroyed your reputation. But there’s no point in denying we have all had nits once or twice.
Let’s look back on some of the most traumatizing memories of having lice. Beginning with:
1. Receiving the note from your teacher
Why did these notes always strangely humanize the head lice? They tried to portray them as an anthropomorphic community living in your hair rather than actual bugs to help kids conceptualize them a little bit easier.
This may be responsible for phenomena such as children believing they can hear their lice scream:
Once the teacher handed out those notes to be sent home telling your parents that there was a lice outbreak, the whole class turned against each other. For the next week or two everyone avoided close contact and sharing hats.
Children whose parents were particularly rough on their hair during the removal of head lice may have learned better and still refuse to share hats even in their adult lives.
3. Finding out you have lice
Your mam dealt with the news one of two ways. The first was by trying to comfort you with the myth that “they only go for clean hair” (from my personal experience with a girl in my primary who used to take her lice out and flick them at other students I can confirm this is absolutely untrue).
Alternatively, and most likely, she responded by threatening to cut all your hair off if you ever get poxy nits again that she’s never sitting and combing all of your hair again.
4. The worst part: getting rid of your nits
In America they have “lice ladies” who you can pay to deal with the hard part. Unfortunately in Ireland you are at the mercy of your parent/guardian.
This means getting a cramped neck and being told to sit still for a really long time while your hair was getting reefed around.To this day I have never experienced time go any slower than it did while my mam was fine combing my hair.
5. The eerie ring of the electric fine comb
The scariest part is how the beep stutters when it hits a nit. You can relive this here if you so wish.
6. The ridiculous home remedies people without fine combs were forced to experience
A quick google search will provide you with some ridiculous sounding solutions. “Lime and garlic” which sounds like a delicious marinade for prawns, but not really an appealing mix to put in your hair.
“Baby oil and white vinegar” is another possible solution if you want to smell like an infant in a chipper.
The only one that I wouldn’t really eat is number 3 because I have no idea what a ‘neem’ is and maybe number 5, unless they held back on the Vaseline.
Other remedies I have come across in my research on this topic have included Listerine and petrol and I extend my deepest sympathies to anyone who has experienced having either of those things in their hair.
7. At least we can all associate the smell of tea tree oil with our childhoods
Despite the trauma, the oil we had sprayed into our hair for the weeks after we were declared lice free smells extremely comforting to us as adults now.
Sometimes I pick up skincare products and think to myself “Wow, this smells like having nits. But in a nice way.”
8. Trying to return back to our normal lives after have nits
Once the nits were gone, we all became extra cautious. I had a genuine fear that if one single nit made it into my hair, my mam really would shave my head next time.
This is despite the fact that never once in my life had I seen a little girl with the buzz cut I envisioned this resulting in. Perhaps this is a more legitimate fear for any kids in 2017 who happened to watch Stranger Things.
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