Cooties

Girls have cooties. Every young boy can tell you this. Girls may claim that it is in fact boys who have cooties, but that is preposterous. I spent much of second, third and fourth grade avoiding cooties. I also had a number of hand-made cootie catchers, but for some reason, they did not catch or prevent cooties, rather they told fortunes and made predictions, like “You Suck.” But! What is a cootie? My friends, a cootie is a body louse, and it is our fourth Malay contribution to English. It comes from the word kutu which means the exact same thing, lice. Don’t believe me? You may say to yourself, this is a contribution the Malays can keep! But it is too late. Our nation’s youngsters are already infected. All I can offer you is this treatment for head lice that my doctor gave me:

Stand in front of your bathroom mirror. Shave all the hair off the left side of your head. Then, set fire to the hair on the right side. As the lice scurry onto the left side, stab them with an ice pick. There! Head lice will now be the least of your worries.