Saturday, July 16, 2011

Random Thoughts on Pubic Lice

How much do you know about pubic lice? If you're the average person, you probably don't know a great deal about them. You probably know that they are a form of lice, and if you have reasonable intelligence, you may have deduced that they inhabit primarily the pubic region of the body. Beyond that, what else is there to know? How much do you really want to know about this topic? Why do you want to know whatever it is you desire to learn about pubic lice? For now, we'll leave these questions unanswered and address basic information relating to pubic lice.

Before we proceed any further, take a close look at the word pubic.
If you look at it closely, you may notice that it has a strong visual resemblance to the word public. In terms of spelling, only one letter differentiates the two words, yet there is a world of difference in the pronunciation, and an even larger world (think Mercury versus Jupiter) in the meaning of the two words. If you are ever asked to read aloud at a public function, you do not want to confuse the words pubic and public. If you do make the error of saying pubic when what you should have said was public, people will begin to wonder about you and just what is on your mind. It might even be a good idea to repeat over and over in your mind, or quietly while standing in front of a mirror, before giving a reading containing the word public in front of a group of people, almost as a mantra, "Don't say pubic. Don't say pubic." Say this over and over in your mind until the concept is firmly locked into your brain and onto your lips.

Now, concerning facts about pubic lice . . . there really aren't many that you have to know. They're sometimes called "crabs." This has seafood ramifications, as in when you're ordering at a restaurant. If it's crabs that you want, say "I want crabs." It would be better not to say, 'I'll have crabs," because that sounds a whole lot like, "I have crabs." Do you really want to announce to a waiter or waitress, along with a table full of people, that your crotch region is infested with pubic lice, which are normally contracted through sexual intimacy? If you are married, does your spouse have crabs as well? Or did you catch them during some extramarital liaison? Or, if your spouse has them, did he or she become infested with them during a bit of extramarital activity on his or her part, and then bring them home to you? One thing is almost certain: if either you and your spouse have anything resembling normal intimacy in your marriage, if one of you has crabs, the other does as well. If you do not wish for your dining companions to spend the duration of the meal looking strangely at you and your spouse and wondering which of you brought the crabs home to the other, or if you perhaps participated in some sort of orgy wherein you and your spouse contracted the tiny critters simultaneously, remember, don't say "I'll have crabs." (It sounds like "I have crabs.") Or even more importantly, don't say ."We'll have crabs." ( It sounds like "We have crabs.") Then again maybe you shouldn't say either "I want crabs" or "May I have crabs?" because all who hear you may think you're requesting to have sex with someone who will transmit tiny blood-sucking insects to your pubic region. Order lobster or tilapia instead. If you don't like it, learn to like it. In the long run it wil save your reputation as well as that of your spouse.

Back to the subject of vital information about pubic lice. Pthirus pubis is the scientific name for pubic lice. They are not (DUH!) true crabs, who are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura. They are distant cousins to the infamous head lice (pediculus capitis) and body lice (pediculis corporis ) all of which are technically insects. Head lice and body lice are more closely related to one another than either one is to pubic lice. Pubic lice are the cousins that even other lice refuse to acknowledge.

How are pubic lice contracted? The answer to this depends upon whom you ask and, likely, whether or not that person has ever contracted pubic lice. One cheerleader at my school said. "You know when we have to do those routines where we do splits on the floor? Well, there must have been a pubic louse just sitting there waiting for a crotch to hook up to." Right; we all believed that. With all the splits I did before I was banned from gymnastics, I could very easily have contracted pubic lice thousands of times. It must have been all the Windex that the gym employees were always spraying all over the mats and apparati that saved us all. Additionally, it's more difficult for prepubescent individuals to contract it because pubic lice (hence the name) are partial to pubic hair. In a pinch they'll attach to underarm hair, or even eyebrows or a mustache. It's not beyond possibility that lice could be contracted through sharing of towels or underwear, or conceivably even bedding, depending upon what one wears in bed (or upon what one does in bed and with whom; one could, I suppose, be sexually intimate in a bed with someone who already had pubic lice, then claim to have gotten it from the bed linens, and it might even be true; it's a "chicken or egg" sort of thing).

Despite claims people have made, it is virtually impossible to contract pubic lice from a toilet seat. I'm not advocating that one expose one's private parts all over every toilet seat he or she encounters just to prove a point, because there could be other hazards associated with doing so. Still, the famous line "I got it from the toilet seat" from the satirical Frank Zappa song, is a lame excuse. One would almost have to deliberately work at it to get pubic lice from a toilet seat. Pause for the visual image. Is that really how you want someone to think you got pubic lice? Likewise, it is theoretically possible to get it from sharing underwear. Anyone else is free to hold any opinion he or she desires, but I think I'd just as soon have others believe I had sex with someone as that I share unwashed underwear on anything resembling a regular basis.

Allow me to end with a few final words of caution. First, repeat to yourself, ideally in a quiet voice in front of a mirror, "Don't say, pubic," before reading any passage containing the word public. Second, when ordering crabs in a restaurant, proceed with caution. Almost anyway you say it may arouse suspicion in the wait staff as well as among your companions.

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