– Lice removal machine

Jimmy found some archival videos from an earlier time in our children’s lives when lice seemed to be visiting in regular waves. I hosted them on my head, too, more than once. I itched, and the girls diagnosed me. Here’s one of those lost moments:

Incidentally, the video captures a scene in “Little Creatures,” an essay I wrote about head lice, which is really about love. Last week I got word from PMS poemmemoirstory that they will publish it in the upcoming issue. Hooray.

Dear reader, did you land here looking for lice advice? Top searches that get visitors to this blog have something to do with lice, lice treatments, and lice removal, because I’ve written about this subject before. To answer the questions implied in these searches, and as I’ve said, I offer this: Of the over-the-counter pesticides, home remedies (olive oil, vinegar), and homeopathic potions I’ve tried many times, the only one that I’ll stand by is Licefreee!®, which is a gelled salt.  Also, after a reader alerted me to an innovative treatment, developed by a dermatologist and using over-the-counter Cetaphil cleanser, I tried it on my own head last fall, when we had another infestation, and it worked on me.  The instructions are here.

I recommend not spending money on Nix® and other permethrin-based hair lotions. They do not work, because many lice have become immune to them. (And I’m not just sayin’. This is borne out in the literature. Search online for “Dr. Craig Burkhart,” and you’ll find confirmation of this statement.)

There is no way to avoid the intense handiwork of lice removal, beyond hiring a nitpicker. Trust me, I have looked. Parents, you just have to give yourself over to the task. Try not to lose your cool, or your mind.


Did my title get you interested in hearing The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine”? When they sing “soul shaker,” it has always sounded like “salt shaker” to me, and I prefer my lyrics over theirs. Salt shaker, baby.

4 thoughts on “– Lice removal machine

  1. It might even be obnoxious to say this, but that is an adorable video. What I see and feel in it is not the experience of lice, but the experience of being crawled on, handled, touched, owned by one’s children.


  2. Poppy, thanks!

    Em, looking forward to talking in person.

    Lowry, why obnoxious? You got the point. It *is* wonderful (or, it was wonderful) to give myself over to this, tired as I was. The girls’ attention demanded nothing of me, and was like… passive pleasure, in a good way.

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