Feel it? You do don’t you? That tingling crawling up your bare leg, on the inside of your pants, towards parts of your body you’d rather not mention. You’ve got a creepy feeling, and now that feeling has spread to the back of your neck where you’re sure something is there poking up toward your hair-line. Go ahead, slap it. Scratch it. I’ll wait.
Ok, now it’s moved to your arm where you feel like the hairs are standing on end. There’s something there you’re sure, and it ain’t a mosquito. What is it? Where is it? You crank your elbow around and retch your neck toward your back to reach it.
But something! It has to be something! There it is moving up your leg again.
Oh, oh dear. You’re stripping off your pants? No worries. I understand. I’ll look away while you inspect your pale white stems, leaning over to rub them down, scratching, calling to your husband, your momma, your sister, your preacher to come and look! Come and check! I think I have a tick!
You found it didn’t you.
Invasive little bastards (sorry preacher).
They’re here. It’s official.
Yup. It’s tick season and I’ve rung it in in typical ranch style fashion, celebrating by discovering my first little friend while on a shopping spree to Victoria Secret. I had showered, combed my hair, put on some makeup and made the long trip to the big town for undies. I was feeling good. I was feeling a little less like a grubby ranch girl and nearly presentable, dare I say damn sexy while I thumbed through the racks of impractical underwear. I was wincing at the thought of a permanent lace wedgie when I reached up to scratch my head only to discover one of the many reasons I will never be a Victoria Secret model.
Because I can’t imagine Heidi Klum has ever discovered a wood tick stuck in her hairline while frolicking amongst the ridiculous push-up bras and butt-crack revealing undergarments and smelly lotions and powders and weird music only to wonder just how long the damn thing had been there.
Nope. Victoria Secret models shave their legs…
Victoria Secret models have other people comb their hair for them…
Victoria Secret models live in places with white sand and big sunglasses and gentle winds that blow their hair in just the right direction.
Victoria Secret models don’t have to check for ticks.
But dammit, it’s April in Western North Dakota and I have been reminded, once again, I am no model. And unless I want to show up to a meeting with one of the world’s most loathed blood sucking insects taking up permanent residence on my body, I have to check for them everywhere and on a regular schedule.
Because out here surrounded by grasses and trees and fallen logs and dogs that never stay home, they are indeed everywhere.
Yesterday I found a really large family of them having a Thanksgiving style meal inside the pug’s left ear.
I wrestled my pudgy black mutt to the ground while I applied Frontline to his back and wondered if they make something like that for wild humans who live in wild places.
Seriously people, after finding a wood tick in my bed last night I have decided I’m not above wearing a tick collar. I mean, I am sure I wouldn’t be the first human to go to these lengths to avoid the plague of the pests. Maybe I could make some sort of fashion statement.
Ugh, it’s intense people, the hatred I’ve had for them ever since I was a kid who would come home from the trees at night only to strip down to my underwear while my momma pulled up to sixty or more wood ticks from my skinny, pale body.
When I was that age, nothing could keep me from those woods. But the ticks? They tried their damnedest.
And we still hate each other.
Well, I hate them.
They love me.
They love the place behind my ear, the spot where my waistband rests at my back, my arm pits, my thick head of hair and even my damn belly button for the love of Martha.
You feel itchy don’t you. You’re running your hands through your hair, huh? Calling your husband? It’s that spot on your leg again?
Go ahead, take off your jeans. Inspect for the insect.
I’m doing the same.