The Louse Hunter

You have to be a dedicated louse hunter to build a collection as useful as this. The rule is, don’t keep anything that doesn’t work. It may look beautiful, it may be handy for drilling herb seeds but if you can’t catch anything with it, bathroom bin it.

The basic design of a nit comb is near perfection – tight tines and something to hold – and they have been found in among tomb goods destined for the afterlife  next to Egyptian mummies dating back thousands of years (well, it wouldn’t do to be itchy for eternity would it) and in ancient caves excavated in Israel dating back to the 1st century BC.

Fashioned from various types of ivory or wood, they have also been recovered from shipwrecks, including that of the Mary Rose, Henry IIIV’s beloved yet ill-fated warship. Rats, scurvy, Spaniards and head lice – those were the days!

If I ever see a nit comb that purports to be different to all the rest, I treat it with suspicion. Afterall, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

First out of my cup, the wide-toothed is arguably the most important comb in the collection. No, it doesn’t capture any beasts in that long grass  – not intentionally anyway – but it does, with the lascivious help of conditioner, eradicate those initial tangles that make the job of  the louse hunter so problematic. I mean, those tears! Those threats! That hatred on both sides of the battle..

                          My favourites

Next is the pink plastic job. Ordinarily this is not very useful at all – it has no grip when slathered in slippery stuff and the tines aren’t close enough together but, if you have a daughter of anything from four to seven years old, this is their comb. They can hold it, try swiping with it, play with it. Anything to distract from the job afoot on top. I find Barbies, contrary to my general feeling about the miniature pointy busted anorexics, come into their own here. Feel free to dunk their pristine little phisogs in pink goo so they can be combed too.

My personal favourite is the small white one with the metal frill. This is the one that does the trick. This is the most vital piece of equipment you will ever need on your safari. For something so inconsequential in appearance, it is a veritable elephant gun. It grips, it traps. When my ship goes down, they will find this preserved in the silt.

The metal thing with long teeth is a branded comb apparently designed to rid the entire universe of head lice for a mere ten quid. I have my own opinion on it’s efficacy – I have NEVER caught a live louse in its kinky tines (ooer missus). I have also found that holdy-bit with its rubber strip isn’t very, er, holdy. Especially when slippery. But then, I’m no good on the trigger at a petrol station either. However, grip notwithstanding, I do find this comb can hoik out a nit (an egg) or two when all other combs have long since given up. I always do a sweep with this one, therefore, before the great rinse off and the love that re-blossoms between my children and I.

Until the next safari…


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