Tick Off Me!

When I was twelve or thirteen, I got a tick “down there.”

For squeamish readers, stop reading now, and read tomorrow’s post instead. On the other hand, if you want all the gory details, by all means, continue.

You know–I got a tick. On the willy. And I mean I got a bloodsucking insect. Not a wristwatch. And I mean John Thomas. I mean the Johnson. I mean your Percy Weasley.

I noticed a stinging sensation on the one-eyed trouser snake. Now, I had just discovered the art of touching myself not to long before, and was perpetually haunted with the idea that I was going to hell because of this.  I pulled down my jeans. There was a grey bump. I ignored it. Maybe it would get better. A day later, it downright hurt, and the bump was bigger. I’m not making this up–I thought I had been stricken and cursed. It was leprosy–I knew it… and my thing was going to rot off because of my carnal lusts.

Also, ticks hate kiwis.

I did the only rational thing a twelve year old could do, and I told my mom, the most Godly person in the house. She looked at it, got some tweezers and alcohol, and twisted the thing right off. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pass out. I’m also pretty sure God gives second chances. I’m not sure if I ever told her what was going through my mind. Maybe she knew. Maybe she thought I deserved it.

Now, living in Oregon, where ticks were just an annoyance, we all heard of Rocky Mountain Tick Fever… They jump off deer when you’re running around in the brush, and the parasites make their way to the warmest, dampest part of your skin. Then they latch on. Then you get a fever. I remember hearing you could die. Or maybe that was brown recluse spider bites.

opossumEven further east, the deer ticks flung Lyme Disease at you. That stuff was like mono, only for the rest of your life.

And I never thought of it again, after about the age of fifteen.

Then I moved to Virginia. That stuff is prevalent out here. I don’t know very many people, but I’ve worked with at least two with Lyme Disease. Judi also works with a person who has it. I was talking to a co-worker whose mother suffers from Lyme disease. And today, I learned another co-worker was diagnosed with the disease.

Crazy stuff. Ticks are a menace.

spotted dickLyme disease has an official name: borelliosis, beause the tick emits a bacteria called borellia.  Rocky Mountain Tick Fever also comes from a bacteria, with the clever name rickettsia rickettsii. I liked that name so much, I even started singing “Ticket to Ride”… “She’s got rickettsia rickettsii…” John Lennon, you’ve got nothing in me, man!

Rocky Mountain Spotted tick Fever comes from the Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick. Not Spotted Dick. That’s a British bread pudding that makes Americans laugh uncontrollably. We’re so juvenile on this side of the Atlantic. Anyway, That’s all I have to say today. Ticks suck. Literally. Also, figuratively. So far I’ve been lucky. I steer clear of tick-filled wilderness.  But, man–6 people? Out of the maybe a hundred folks I know In Virginia? That’s crazy. I have my fingers crossed and I’m staying out of tall bushes on hot days.

Oh–one final thing: scientists say that opossums eat up to 4,000 ticks a week. They’re the front line of defense between you and getting a horribly debilitating disease. For novice adventurers, I advocate keeping one in your pants at all times.

It couldn’t hurt more than a tick down there. I should know.


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