Cleverly disguised as a harmless childhood game. Just grab a leg and insert into the main body of the friendly ant like insect and the fun begins. Not so fast.
As a youngster I was told that girls had cooties and you should stay away from them. My response was ,what do they look like? How would I know if a girl had cooties? If I ‘got’ cooties could I get rid of them. No one knew. Just stay away I was told, so I did, for a while anyway. You see your friends knew that if you got cooties you would disappear from the gang. You would no longer be hanging out with the guys. You would start listening to her. A phone call, sometimes lengthy, was the first indication that you had it. I watched my cousin Don get cooties because when I came to visit him he would be on the phone with Ulrike but the plus side was I could ride his motorcycle around the yard, I was glad he had cooties.
Cousin Jim was next. We would tool around town in his 56 wagon with the bubble hood, painted flat black and jacked up waaay in the back. “Just groovy” painted on the side. We pulled into “goody’s” hamburger joint on route 23 on a friday night and heads turned. We got to park in the line with the other cool cars. We were cooler than the Fonz. We were groovy and we knew it. We didn’t have cooties but they were not far behind us.
Cousin Mike caught cooties without us knowing it and just disappeared from view. he showed up one day and there she was. They were holding hands.I think by doing that the transfer of the cooties was even faster, like a blood transfusion. And their eyes. When they looked at each other there appeared a glazed over look. Maybe it was more than cooties,Mike was a different guy.
One by one my friends fell to this cooties thing. I resisted for as long as I could. I went to work for the local outlaw biker burying my mind into my work until one day they appeared; bikers from New York city, about ten of them. Tattoos and cut off shirts, beards and cigarettes, beer instead of water, saying the f-bomb without regard for who was standing there but then it dawned on me. On the back of their bikes were the cooties carriers. These rough tough men were infected. I knew it was hopeless, even they couldn’t fight it off.
As time went on I too fell weak and got the cooties thing. A nod of the head, a twisted finger pointed in my direction and I knew what to do, I had no choice. I knew the cooties signals. Try to resist and be defiant and the price was heavy. Those cootie carriers were powerful. A simple look from them and no words needed to be spoken, they had their own language and we obeyed.
In my later years I have learned the true value of cooties. I live with a cooties carrier and it is good. We care deeply for each other and take care of each other. I still watch though for that look or finger. Things we learn as a child are the most difficult to unlearn but it is ok. My cooties are under control, I know the consequences, all men do. It’s ok. Just give them the last word, as soon as possible and your life will be good. It’s been fun.