I took an Astronomy class last year. We had to read a series of articles about the Top Ten Astronomical Discoveries of recent years. We had to summarize all of them, then pick one and expand on it. I've eliminated the summary paragraphs (you can thank me later), and left just the good parts:
Despite my general self-absorption within my own universe, I discovered that I can draw several parallels between my world and the much larger external one. Specifically, I was intrigued by the article about the search for planets that could potentially support life because I, too, have been searching for life as diligently as any college-educated scientist. I have spent a great deal of time considering what it takes to create a habitable (or inhabitable) zone. However, where scientists have lamented their inability to find proof of life beyond our world, I have celebrated my failure.
It just so happens that the universe I’ve been combing through is located on the top of my eight year old’s head and not outside the Milky Way. While the scope of my search is arguably smaller than theirs, I contend that my search is every bit as challenging and important as my counterparts'. The average human head contains between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs while the universe is estimated to contain upwards of 100 billion stars. Before awarding science the victory in this round, let us consider that I also had to search the rest of the family for signs of life, too. An average 125,000 hairs times 4 familial heads equals a half a million strands of hair to meticulously inspect. Not to mention, scientists have much more advanced tools to aid them in their search. They have powerful telescopes, and networks of supercomputers at their disposal. I, on the other hand, am armed with a comb and my not-as-sharp-as-it-used-to-be eyesight. I’m thinking I may win this round, or at least it’s a draw.
Apparently all it takes to be hospitable to your average louse is a head with hair, and it also helps if the host is living. Qualifications for a planet to host life are a little more complex. The planet has to be near enough to a star for warmth, but not too close. It has to have a significant atmosphere (but again, not too much), be spinning at the just the right rate, be lucky enough to have water and (hopefully) oxygen. I’ll concede this round to the scientists.
We may discover one day that life does, in fact, exist outside of our planet. There is no doubt that scientists will rejoice in this discovery after years of unrelenting failure searching the heavens for a sign. I, on the other hand, rejoice every single day that I find no signs of life on the top of my daughter’s head. I also celebrate the annihilation of the tiny community I have managed to exterminate. Further, I anticipate the day when I can conclude my search once and for all. Scientists, however, will continue to search forever because 100 billion galaxies is a lot to comb through.
It's been over a year and we won the war. Every day since then, when I look in the mirror, I can't help but look at my hair for signs of a new invasion. The other day, I'd stumbled out of bed and was searching the hairline for signs of life when something crawled across the top of my hair.
I freaked. I bent over (nearly cracking my head on the counter) shook my head vigorously from side to side while I ruffled my hair with both hands. I'm sure I looked like a mental patient. It might have been a housefly for all I know...but it freaked the ever-lovin-bleep out of me.
Anyone else want to admit to waging battle against lice? (Did the mere mention of the word make anyone itch?)