nitty gritty

Life can be a lot to handle at times. The lucky ones can count on friends putting the humor back into life. Chances are you don’t even realize how negative things have gotten till you are doubled over in laughter. Anna has done this for me several times over the years, but there was this one particular event in grad school that will ALWAYS make my shoulders feel a little lighter, bring a smile to my face, and a slight itch to my...

The place is the West Range and the time is late fall semester. Papers are due, labs have piled up, and stress levels are elevated. Anna and our friend D have popped into my room to say hello and chat for a bit. I was feverishly trying to work on a never-ending stack of labs when Anna out of the blue announced, "I think I have lice will you check?" Gross and disgusting I thought to myself as I replied, “You don’t have lice”.

“Just check for me, please” Anna pleaded. D checked while I waited at my desk on the other side of the room. The silence while D inspected Anna's hair was deafening. D finally said “Well....I do think I see something that doesn’t look like dandruff. They have claws.” GROSS I jumped up and checked and sure enough there were living things in Anna’s hair.

“What do I do? How do I get them out?” Anna cried.

D and I tried to calm her all the while I was trying to get everyone out of my room. We didn't need to make the decision in my room that was for sure. D and I started experiencing phantom itching. We hadn’t seen Anna all week and couldn’t have possible gotten the little critters ourselves, but no matter we were scratching right along with her.

We ended up at either the emergency room or the student clinic with Anna. The nurse was not too happy that a bunch of students came in with an emergency case of lice. By the end of our visit though we were well educated in the differences between head and body lice. We had the nurse doubled over in laughter and I think I saw her scratch a couple of times at some phantom itching herself.

Ends up that Anna had a pretty severe case of lice thanks to the little people she was student teaching that semester. She got to take a lot of time off of school while the rest of us after laughing had to spend a lot of time at the laundry mat. Everything that could be washed had to be washed. My room was never cleaner the entire semester. All my clothes were washed and put away, bedding freshly laundered, and my entire room vacuumed and disinfected.

Boy did we have fun with Anna for the rest of the semester and still do with comments such as 'don’t be so nit-picky' and 'don’t let the bed bugs bite'. Those sayings remind me of that event every time I hear them. The break from schoolwork was unexpected, but the dose of laughter was well overdue. Thanks Anna!!

guest posted by JL

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