Our family dealt with head lice for the first time, back in March. Lice are unsightly but don't carry disease. Other than a bit of scratching, they're harmless and don't pose a health hazard. But there is a stigma attached to them.
When we found the critters in our sons' hair, I admittedly was digusted.
I did a lot of research and I've tried to see things from the louse's perspective ...
Lenny the Louse & Wilbur the Worm: Chapter 1
"Would you sign my petition?" Lenny the louse asked Wilbur the worm.
"I have no hands to sign your paper," Wilbur said, looking at a woozy Lenny. "You look a little weak. Is everything okay?"
"All this campaigning is taking its toll," Lenny complained. "I haven't fed off a human scalp in over sixteen hours. If I don't get me a meal soon, I'm gonna die. Like, literally, D-I-E."
"Oh, yeah," Wilbur said, "I forgot about your feeding requirements."
"Plus," Lenny added, "I'm feeling dizzy from the Nix treatment my host's dad caked me in."
Wilbur nodded politely, squinting from the light. "Tell me about your petition," he said.
"Right," Lenny said, "You see, us louses—"
"You mean lice?" Wilbur interrupted.
Lenny growled, frustrated at his grammar being corrected. "Yeah, us lice are discriminated against by humans."
"Oh, yeah?" Wilbur replied. "Join the club."
"Our plight," Lenny lobbied, "is much worse than the worm's. At least humans recognize your utility—they know you're good for the soil. And the vermicomposting thing—you guys got it made."
"Well," Wilbur countered, "you try being hooked as a lure and flung into a lake as bait."
"Yeah, that does kinda suck," Lenny commiserated. "Humans pretty much treat everyone like crap."
"Word," Wilbur agreed. "So tell me, Lenny—tell me how these sapiens are discriminating against you."
"Listen," Lenny said, "we're very benign. We don't kill any of them, we don't carry disease—all we seek is peaceful co-existence, like the microscopic bugs that feed off them."
Wilbur nodded in sympathy.
"We got a bad rap," Lenny complained, "because we're visible. It's size discrimination."
"Size discrimination?" Wilbur scoffed.
"Yes!" Lenny exclaimed. "The only reason humans hate us is cuz they can see us! You don't see them starting campaigns against the microsopic Demodex mites that live on their faces. You know why? Cuz they can't see them. But lice? No way—they hate us. Why? Cuz they can see us."
"Hmm," Wilbur paused. "You may have a point. These humans, they seem to have this innate tendency to fear differences. I heard they even treat their own kind unfairly just because of their skin colour. Like, really bad, sometimes."
"So you get my drift, right?" Lenny pleaded. "Like, maybe the only grievance they might have against us—and that's a big maybe, is that we cause some minor itchiness. But that doesn't justify murder! Dousing us in permethrin! Did you know it's a neurotoxin?!"
"Damn straight!" Wilbur shouted. "I'd high-five you brutha, but I got no hands!"
"Gimme a head-butt then!" Lenny answered.
Wilbur hesitated, unsure if his head would become a breeding ground for nits. Lenny noticed Wilbur pulling back and said, "For God's sake, Wilbur! I only feed off humans! No cats, no dogs, no pets, no worms—only humans!"
"Sorry, man," Wilbur replied, embarrassed.
"Anyhoo," Lenny resumed, "my point is, humans hate us cuz we're bigger. Because we're not furry and pretty like their pet dogs and cats. They generally hate all insects. Except those lady bugs, with their pretty shells and all. I mean, cats and dogs cause allergies—some dogs have even maimed and killed their precious offspring! Humans aren't as evolved as they like to believe."
"Animals!" Wilbur yelled, fanning Lenny's indignation. "Thinking they're all that with their big brains and all. Gimme that petition—I'll sign it for sure!"
"But Wilbur," Lenny said, "you have no hands to sign it with."
"Oh, yeah," Wilbur said, with resignation.
Lenny and Wilbur sat there, staring, wondering how they could resolve this problem.
"This would be a good time to have a bigger brain," Wilbur said.
"Maybe there's a way we could do this online?" Lenny asked.
"Yes! Get it on social media," Wilbur added. "We'll use the humans' technology against them. Maybe I'll twitter it."
"You mean tweet," Lenny corrected.
"Let me get this straight—you tweet on Twitter?" asked Wilbur.
"You know, for a louse, you're pretty smart," Wilbur said, winking.
"And for a worm, you're kinda resourceful," Lenny replied, smiling.
"But wait—" Wilbur remarked, visibly flummoxed. Lenny picked up on Wilbur's confusion.
"HOW THE HECK ARE WE GONNA TYPE THIS ON OUR PHONES?!"
Find out how Lenny's petition works out in the upcoming chapter of Lenny the Louse & Wilbur the Worm.
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