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Of Lice and Men and Other Things Healthy?

     Ohmigosh! Now we’re saving the louse. I heard it on the public broadcasting station, so you know it’s gotta be serious.

     What in the world’s happening? I just read an article in Consumer Reports that tells me if I don’t eat at least a billion live bacteria a day, I won’t be as healthy as I should be. Now I hear that we’re preserving lice for our great-grandchildren.

     The title of the Consumer Reports article sounded harmless enough, “Probiotics – Are enough in your diet?” It’s the second sentence that got my attention. It said “these friendly bacteria” take up residence in your intestines. Wha-a-a-t?!

     As usual, Consumer Reports says to check the labels. It’s most important to find out how many billions of bacteria were in the product when they packaged the food. Notice I said, “were.” They can’t tell you how many will be there when you buy it. And of course, you gotta check the species. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are highly recommended.

     The good news is, you can get billions of these critters in strawberry yogurt. Look for the “Live & Active Cultures” seal. Yogurt generally has more bacteria than most of the other food you eat, and the critters in yogurt tend to stay intact all the way down to your intestines, where they -

     Gosh! I don’t know what they do down there! It’s all in the July issue of Consumer Reports if you really want to know.

     So now I’m hearing a couple of dead-serious scientists on KPBS radio telling all about why they want to get lice onto the endangered species list. They seem to have a strange attachment to this parasite, but they did admit that their fellow scientists laugh – a lot - when they tell them what creature they’re trying to un-endanger. I didn’t laugh. I listened up.

     Seems lice tell us things. Things we’d never know if they became extinct. According to the lice-savers, scientists examined lice pulled off the California condors and learned stuff about the condors that even the condors wouldn’t tell them. If you have any secrets, don’t let the scientists get ahold of your lice.

     So how come lice are endangered anyway? Seems to be plenty of them down at the nurse’s office. By the way, in case you were wondering about the lice-preservers, one’s a male and one’s a female - so you can’t blame this lice thing on the “guy thing” or the “gal thing.”

     These two said when the California condors were put on the endangered species list, the scientists brought them into captivity and put them up in nice hotels and of course they had to de-louse them before they could let them lie down on the designer sheets so a whole bunch of lice were disposed of, unfortunately, and now there aren’t enough to go around. So, voila! – lice are an endangered species. Or soon will be, if these two have their way.

     Now that presents a sort of a problem. Teacher sends Harry to nurse’s office. Lice are buried deep down in Harry’s wavy brown hair. Nurse must remove. The lice, not the hair. Well, maybe some of both…

     Nurse can’t remove. Nurse must call the Environmental Protection Agency and order up an environmental study. Environmentalists are all at a convention arguing about what species to endanger; no one’s available for a lice consult. Meanwhile, the lice are multiplying. On Harry’s head.

     But if permission is granted, then you’ve got another problem. What to do with the lice? Can’t kill them. They’re endangered. Looks like you’re gonna haf’ta find them a new head – um, home. No condors around.

     Ray’s hair? Naw, too stubbly. Less than optimal conditions. Amanda’s pony tail? Nope, they might die in the elastic. Sara’s hair? Never! What are we gonna do?  It’s a lousy problem, you gotta admit.

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