They arrived unannounced. They could have been here for weeks. Months. We don’t know. 

“Honey? Could you come take a look at this?” I called to my wife while standing above our youngest daughter, Cozette, last week. I was looking down onto the top of her head where I thought I saw a flake of dandruff. It’s winter, so everyone’s skin is dry. But a seven-year-old shouldn’t have a flaking scalp. Right? 

My wife, Tina, came over and looked. Then she leaned way down in there and inspected. Then she swept the child into the bathroom for better light. She found more flakes. 

“Shit.” She exclaimed. I still had no idea. When she told me what it was, I backed into a wall with raised brows. Then she checked our oldest daughter. She had it too. 

Lice. Or rather, nits. Nits are like lice eggs. And it’s gross as hell. I’m even having a hard time writing about it. But I must. I let the cat out of the bag (I don’t even know what that means) Monday night via a series of tweets that resulted in some amazing feedback on how to combat these pests. And now I feel I have to make one thing crystal clear – we’re clean people. Ironically, however, a clean scalp is like the Bahamas for lice. They suffocate in oily environments. This fact doesn’t make me feel better, though. They’re still bugs. Bugs with a nasty reputation. And there’s no way to know exactly how they got here. Our best guess is through school. You see, everyone at their school has them. And there’s nothing we can do about that. 

So for the past week, Tina has done what any mother put in her position would do – nit pick. Yes, like monkeys. I don’t think they even allow fathers to do this if there’s a mother present in the home. At first she used some over the counter pesticide, but has now moved on to the organic stuff. Mostly. 

The important thing is that she’s relentless in her quest to purge our children of these uninvited beasts. She’s my hero. I love her. Very, very much. 


Note: The image above is neither a picture of my wife, nor either of our daughters. It’s Medusa. And until we had lice, this is how I thought it would be. I’m an idiot. Click here for the image credit.

Jim Mitchem does not have lice. 


Chapter One
The Next New Thing

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.