This is why I get stuck on what to write: the dog peed everywhere, just before I had my first cup of coffee; my daughter discovered she has a mild case of lice (eww, ick — they are sneaky, insidious creatures so we have to go into full combat mode); and I feel like the very fabric of my country is being frayed and torn apart in an effort to use it like a dust rag by very rich, white men who are steeped in greed and power. Where on earth do I start? Rather than write, I want to hop a plane to a deserted island. Alone.
But here I am, my seat in seat, staring at the screen of my laptop as I promised, while the washer and dryer whir and whiz on super hot. Super hot is how you get rid of each and every louse. It’s lousy to have lice. Thank God it’s only the one daughter — the rest of us have somehow escaped infestation. Not like four years ago.
Four years ago, we were hit with our first infestation of these horrible bugs. Even though I teach (and taught first grade for a while, with a classroom infestation), we never had it at home. I didn’t even know what to look for. We just thought the girls had a bad case of dandruff — that is, until the bugs started falling from their hair.
We made an emergency call to Nit-Wits, a local company that has a booming business as lice-removers. Sure, they had great reviews (because they’re good at what they do), but I just loved the name. We needed a little humor.
A little word about lice. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor. They don’t care if you wash your hair every day — or if it’s a greasy mess. They just like the hair on your head. If you’re bald, you’re in luck. The rest of us, not so much.
Nit-Wits swept in, combed through all the long, thick, tangled hair and gave us explicit instructions on how to wash and bag EVERYTHING so that we could be rid of every last nit-wit. I was overwhelmed, but relieved that it worked. So of course, I called them immediately when daughter #2 got word that one of her dearest friends had a beautician call her out.
This time, the infestation is mild — but the bagging and washing are a must. We’ve been buried in laundry for the last day. And then the dog wakes and pees. Everywhere. It was my last straw. I went back to my coffee in a state of denial and my husband heroically dealt with the dog and mopped up with towels and cleanser. More laundry. More hot water.
The silver lining I find in both these icky household events is that in a few days life at home will return to normal, whatever that means when you live with a dog, a bird, and two teenage daughters. But when it comes to my country, like Dorothy observes, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. And I don’t think we can afford to float in a river of denial.
The daily onslaught of lies and distractions, policies being dismantled and destroyed to buoy the rich and the powerful, leave me weary. A little like the rubberneckers on the highway passing a terrible accident, I can’t turn away from the destruction — although I do what I can to help those who are injured on the side of the road. I continue to make my phone calls, write my post cards, sign petitions (for whatever good that does).
I keep thinking there should be a Nit-Wits emergency group for the nit-wits who seem to be running and ruining the government of the United States. My ideal “Nit-Wits” exterminators would swoop in to comb through the White House and halls of Congress, removing every last louse; they would flood what remains with hot water until they were certain we were clean. Then they’d use peppermint and tea-tree oils to anoint against further infestation. The paperwork they’d leave with us, our family of American citizens, would instruct us to VOTE with the same urgency we might have if we had lice in your home.
Indeed, voting the only thing that has ever protected us against authoritarianism and fascism. Look at 2016 and you’ll know that the biggest reason Trump and his cronies in Congress were elected was because many good people sat out. Now we as a country are faced with an infestation of swamp-creatures that are real and terrifying. Sitting out is not an option. Please vote.
I’m now on my third cup of coffee. The washer load has moved to the drier and we’re starting another round. I guess I had more to say than I thought. I’ll see you again tomorrow. Until then, I will be working towards ridding my house — and our White House — of every last louse.