Does Your Head Itch You Filthy Beast?

                                        This could be the very moment we became afflicted.


The phone rings and it is Friday 8:00 AM.  Lori tells me apologetically but matter-of-factly that Boone has lice.  Oh, poor Boone he has…hang on! We were hanging out two days ago, at their place.  And the boys did the boy thing where they disappear into the room and apparently rub their heads together. I get off the phone with a promise to call back in five minutes to accept or decline her invitation to visit Lice Busters NYC, ( the “LadyBug”,Dalya Harel herself.  I turn on the No-No light (the florescent light in the kitchen that sucks the life out of my body) and coerce Roan onto his knees. I don’t know what to look for really.  I’ve been to the workshops but his hair is white and silky smooth and straight and all I can see is Heaven in there.  So I call Lori back to say, “no, looks like it’s your affliction not mine”, but before I get it out she mentions that she’s made an appointment for Roan.  So what the hell, really?  Let’s go do this.  It is a day out of school for the boy, and an education for me. 

Lice are disgusting and intended for awful people who have the audacity to let themselves get it.  These  kinds of people look like they’ve got it together on the outside, but clearly don’t because let’s face it: they let themselves get lice.  I suppose I could have been in that head-space had I not known a few key players in my life who have had lice and they are indeed, cleaner than most natural human beings. I will not name check them publicly, so to hide identities I’ll call one ShKara, one ShLola, and one ShLaura. I mention these cleverly disguised individuals because they all have much higher standards than I do in keeping order and cleanliness in their lives, so I suppose they were crucial in me not looking down upon my lousy sister and Roan’s favorite cousin as they met us on the train to get de-loused.  

 We arrived at the Avenue N stop on the F Train, and walked a few blocks to a residence at 306 Avenue N with a sign that read “Head Checks in Back”.  Back we went, and were greeted by Dalya Harel, who has over twenty-years in this business.  She immediately made us feel at ease as she pointed us down her stairs into the clinic, as she went up stairs to finish cooking breakfast in her home.  It felt like someone’s home, because it is. She has an area downstairs specifically to check and treat lice.  It is clinical but not off-putting enough to kill the spirits of two boys who, despite being buggy are happy like crazy to be missing school, no matter the reason.  When she came down to us, she wrapped the boys in capes, put them in the chairs, and within 10 seconds on Boone, knew he needed treatment.  She was a little cautious saying so with Roan, but strongly suggested we comb him out, saying if she didn’t find anything she wouldn’t charge us.  


Bucket-fulls of Pantene were poured on the boys’ heads, and the combing began.  Dalya had a helper there named Rozie and they had these boys right as rain within about forty minutes.  Sure enough it had to be – my boy had the eggs on his shiny blonde totally clean hair.  Dalya guessed they were about two days old, and said that because they found nits (eggs), we didn’t have to alert the school.  Thank God, right – I don’t want anyone finding out about this!  Dear readership, you won’t tell, will you?


They then cleared the way for Lori and me to get checked.  I figured I needed to show Roan that you know – it’s all good brother! – mama gonna show you that I’ll step up and get checked too!   

Dalya: “You have more eggs than your son”.

Me: “……………………” (let’s keep in mind that I’m in the home of an Orthodox Jewish woman, and I am truly using my good words today!) 


Me: “hmmm.  Really.  I. Am. Surprised.  Please. Get. Them. Out.Please. OK?”

About forty-five minutes of really and truly in all seriousness the most meditative and rhythmic combing I’ve ever been lucky enough to sit through, and I got the “All Clear” from Dalya.  Lori received the same treatment for her egghead, and on our way out I do believe we looked like we just stepped out of a salon. 

There is a time-tested process that Dalya uses, which is very lo-tech.  No chemicals.  All manual.  The Pantene serves to immobilize lice so they can be caught with the specialty comb.  Then it is a matter of going over the scalp and through the hair to remove each bug, each egg, one by one. She also uses powder after her initial comb-through to thicken things up. After being rinsed and dried, she again goes over each strand of hair with her super-power eyes, and when she’s done will give you a verbal and written “100% guarantee” that you are “all clear”. That includes nits.  That is a very big deal. Dalya encourages you to re-comb your hair to look for any new nits or bugs in two days.  If there is anything, she will do the entire process over, free of charge.  She will also give you great tips on how to get your house in order.

So, listen up citizens.  Having lice sucks.  But you can get it OVER within one day.  I now get to be in the club of the slightly crazy mum’s who are more-often-than-not checking out her child’s scalp.  So be it. My nephew Boone has been very therapeutic in helping me getting over the inherent shame we wear when we lower our voices to say “eh….Roan had….and I had…you know…eh…lice”. Boone is fascinated by the fact that he had lice, and that all of us had it at the same time.  We traveled from Dalya’s home to Ikea to buy all new pillows (part of my crazy is manifesting in throwing out lots of soft stuff. Hey, we all have our limits).  When Roan and Boone were checking into the play-area in Ikea, the working-woman asked playfully “well, why aren’t you fine boys in school?”  

Boone didn’t miss a beat: “Beause WE HAVE LICE”.  Proud: like “WE WON THE LOTTERY.”  Or triumphant: like “WE BEAT CANCER!”

And then again, as we all were eating lunch, in a somewhat quiet cafe: 

Boone: “Man, I just can NOT believe WE ALL HAD LICE”.

Instead of shrinking or quieting him, though – I’m just proud, and think Lori should be too.  The less shame there is associated with getting lice, the better. Because yes we are all filthy beasts, but some of our heads itch for a reason – and that reason just may be your reason next, suckah.

3 thoughts on “Does Your Head Itch You Filthy Beast?

  1. Pingback: Scroll links « Licebustersnyc

  2. Pingback: Pistols and Popcorn » Relax. It’s Only Bed Bugs and/or Lice.

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