At the end of the day, we received an e-mail from Corporate Behemoth’s associate communications department. They just wanted to let us know that someone in my building has swine flu.
And then? The e-mail went on to talk – in detail – about the importance of proper mouth-covering and handwashing. Did you know you should throw away a Kleenex after you use it?
I know. I had no idea either.
Now, after receiving this e-mail, I suddenly felt puny. But then I realized that I would be waaaay more worried about a colleague having, oh, head lice. Because the flu? The hospital will take care of you. But head lice? You are on your own. And you’re a social outcast.
I have crazy, crazy thick hair. And in second grade, it was down to my waist. This coincided with a giant lice outbreak at my elementary school. Our entire class had to line up alphabetically so that the school nurse could pick through our hair with these chopstick things.
Our school nurse was not a particularly kind woman. In fact, she was pretty gruff. Really, really gruff. And loud. And her name was Mrs. Hoar.
So, Mrs. Hoar chopsticked through everybody’s hair and then proclaimed them lice-free to the rest of the class.
Then, she got to me. I really could have gone as Cousin It for Halloween. I had a lot of hair.
Mrs. Hoar chopsticked and chopsticked through my hair, hurting me as she raked my tender little scalp. Finally, she proclaimed:
“Well, honey, you have so much hair, I can’t tell if you have ’em or not.”
And then? Then, my classmates parted like the Red Sea. And no one would sit next to me. And I felt like a total leper.
Not that I’m still carrying that pain around with me 27 years later or anything.
And for the record, and for you, Mrs. Hoar, wherever you are? I NEVER HAD LICE.