Sunday Stories: Anger or CF? and Welcome to Liceland

Anger or CF? Which came first?

When the SUV stopped hard in the middle of the crosswalk, we and the crowd of families with soccer kids had the “walk” symbol. The hurrying driver realized he’d stopped too deep, a common mistake easily forgiven at that point. But then he looked over at us and decided to compound his mistake and step on the gas and make the right turn. My fuse burned fast. And I added to his mistake by yelling out “Jerk Off” in front of everyone and, I hoped, loud enough for him to hear. My wife looked at me in the way only wives can do, and I apologized to everyone. I meant to say “asshole.” But I caught myself, just not in time to keep quiet. I redirected the impulse and fired off another nicer term for the young impressionable minds, each of whom, thanks to me, asked their parents tonight: What’s a Jerk-Off, Pa? Well, son, that’s someone who yells “Jerk-Off” in public. I don’t understand, Pa? Well, son, let me make it simple. It’s the same as an asshole. Exactly.

In a perfect world, without CF, my wish would have been for the SUV driver to stop, get out, and for me to deliver a beating to ensure he wouldn’t run a crosswalk again with kids present. It makes me wonder if I were “cystic fibrosis free,” would I be blogging from jail right now? Is my anger created by the trials of cystic fibrosis, or not? I believe I would not have the degree of pent-up anger without the life CF gave me, or has taken from me, depending on one’s point of view.

Welcome to Liceland. Now go home.

If my wife owned a flamethrower, our house would be a pile of ashes right now. She would let rip with the weapon and scream, “Burn in Hell, lice, Burn in Hell,” until there was nothing left. My daughter and I would stand watching, silent, fearful we might draw her attention and earn a good singeing of our hair as a precaution.

This weekend has been difficult on my wife, who has the strength and courage of a frontierswoman. But even lice can break the strong. She’s cried several times from being overwhelmed. She is due. Her chromosome-challenged husband has mild hemoptysis and may be hospital bound. And, our house, garage and a car are filled with quarantined black plastic bags of anything non-washable. “Can you fit in one of these bags,” she asked me. I kid that she did, maybe. Yes, I kid. Stop it, Fox.

The bug bags will be here for the next two weeks (she wants four weeks) while the eggs, if there are eggs,  hatch and die. My fear is that my wife will have done all of this work to eradicate the lice, then my daughter will go back to school Monday and be infected again.

We emailed the school Friday. They’ll do an inspection Monday. What’s interesting is how many families don’t tell the school when their kid gets lice. We discovered this over the weekend: “Oh, yeah, so and so had lice, and so did they and them. Oh, and them, too.” Yet, we don’t remember the school mentioning them or they. Oh, well, what can you do?

So, we continue to vacation in Liceland and abide by the strict laws of the country. We strip down to our birthday suits before entering the house, then receive a chemical shower, a body-cavity scan from TSA workers, and fresh white space suits. In my Darth Vader voice: “Lice, I am your father.”

We’ll kick the lice problem, one day. Or soon we’ll be living at the Holiday Inn for a few weeks until we catch bed bugs and have to move to the moon, which is bug free I hear. But who knows? Perhaps here is a louse living there that burrows into your ear and eats your brain, which, for me, makes the moon the perfect place to live.

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