I went to Rite Aid today to pick up a prescription. As I was standing in line behind the blue tape on the floor, indicating a safe six foot zone, I began to imagine little corona viruses in the air. This is not a good pastime for me. I have a tendency toward…something, it might be a little bit of a mental disorder, I’m not sure. All I know is that I cannot let myself wander too far down the path of imagining small things in the air or on my body.
Once a few years ago I stumbled onto a site where they showed pictures of eyelash mites. Please, for the love of God, do not google eyelash mites. I’ll just describe them a little to you. First off, I’ll say they are pretty normal. A lot of people get them. This information does not make them any less horrifying. They are these little worm looking things that live around the follicles of your eyelashes. They eat the oil and goo that your eye makes. It’s actually pretty precious, they’re just helping out, right. But when I saw a picture of them, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’d try to teach math and boom. Eyelash mites. Drive home and boom. They’re starting to wiggle in my eyes. Start cooking dinner and boom. You see spaghetti, I see a pot of squirming, goo eating eyelash mites.
I started to panic a little. I had to get rid of them, but how? One might think a physician (or possibly more essentially a therapist) might have some good ideas, but I didn’t have time. These eyelash mites were thrashing around on my face and I had to do something fast.
One of our dogs, the tiny brown one, developed a case of mange right after we brought him home from the rescue. The vet said he wanted to scrape his skin to take a sample, but we weren’t down with that, because he was too cute to be scraped by some neanderthal with a scalpel. So we decided we’d try some stuff at home first. We researched and researched on what we could do for him and landed on an old country remedy for mange: sulfur powder. I found a place online that I could order food grade sulfur powder and we mixed it up with coconut oil and rubbed it all over his tiny puppy body a few times a day.
The remedy worked like a charm, but with one pretty specific drawback. Our entire house, along with all our clothes, hair, even our shoes smelled like a rancid egg fart for about a month. It was especially prominent when I got a little warm. I was like a giant fart furnace, the essence of the earth’s bowels emanating off my skin in waves so thick I could practically see them. I took to announcing to everyone everywhere that I had sulfur powder on me, I wasn’t farting. At the gym, during capture the flag at school, in line at the post office. I even told the mailman.
“Just so you know, my dog has mange and we treated it with food grade sulfur powder. I’m definitely not farting.” I imagine all these people were relieved to hear the news, because if it wasn’t sulfur powder then something must be horribly wrong inside me.
So anyway, as I was desperately clawing through our medicine cabinet, looking for something to kill the eyelash mites with, my eyes fell on the half pint jar of miracle fart oil. My infested eyes lit up! This would work. Mange is mites, mites are mites…I scooped out a healthy dose and rubbed it in. I could practically hear the mites screaming as they died and disappeared completely, leaving a nice, clean follicle behind.
I should probably have started this off by saying WARNING: TO ANYONE READING THIS, DO NOT EVER PUT COCONUT OIL WITH FOOD GRADE SULFUR POWDER MIXED INTO IT ON YOUR EYES TO KILL EYELASH MITES. Within seconds of the eyelash mites dying and disappearing forever, a small stinging began. Then the stinging increased a bit. Then a bit more. Suddenly my eyes felt like they were being sprayed with rubbing alcohol through a fire hose. I ran to the sink to wash it off, but water wouldn’t do it, because of the coconut oil. I grabbed the Dr. Bronner’s tea tree soap and lathered up, which, as you might surmise, only made it worse. I cried, I dabbed, I put ice cubes on my eyes. It took two hours for the pain to subside and I smelled like a spicy cabbage roll left in a gym locker over summer break. I went to watch Game of Thrones at my friend’s house later that evening and I had to take a dish towel with me to catch my tears. My eyeballs were bloodshot for days. But those freakin mites were dead, I was sure of it.
So today standing in line at Rite Aid, when I started to imagine tiny virus molecules floating through the air, I knew I had to stop myself. I gave myself chores. You have to try to squeeze each toe individually and count to ten in German at the same time. You have to remember all the food you’ve eaten over the last two weeks. You have to count all the Salonpas Pain Relieving products. And it worked! I got my prescription and made it home without dousing myself in essential oils. I only used 10-20 drops and it was nowhere near my eyes. And luckily for me, I’d gone through the medicine cabinet a year ago and got rid of the miracle fart oil.