People don't really get ticks where I'm from, unless maybe you're out camping in the wilderness, way off the grid somewhere. I've never actually heard of someone I know getting a tick on them, so to me it was just some jokey affliction, kind of like scurvy - no doubt real, but not really something to worry about. This is the modern age, after all!
Note that I said it WAS a joke to me. This weekend, C. and I walked along a nice, wide, maintained nature trail with some friends of ours, Matt and Miki. We went down a short side trail to the beach, and I probably brushed against some foliage ONCE... fast forward a few hours when I was washing up in our friends' bathroom. I looked in the mirror and had a train of thought something like this: "AHHH there's a spider on me - wait no it's just some bug, I'll brush it off - why won't it... come off... AHHHHHHH IT'S IN MY NECK!"
A tick was in my neck, feasting on my blood. I tried to telepathically communicate, "I NEED that blood, you jerk! I'm using it." The tick continued quietly sipping away.
First we tried unsuccessfully to drown it with rubbing alcohol. It wasn't working, so I lay on the couch feeling awkward while C. and Matt rushed to - The Internet! - for advice. Matt and Miki were optimistic about pulling it out with tweezers, while C. wanted to heat the bug up with a lighter. An open flame, next to my alcohol-soaked neck. Was I concerned my head would go up in flames? Yes.
But my neck had dried at that point, so I let C. get to work with the lighter. Based on Matt's narration of the events, I think he was having some success, but then the tick burned up and died. Tweezers were employed, and then I was tick free - until I went back to the bathroom to finish washing up, and I found ANOTHER ONE in my hair. I squished it before it could tap into me. NOW I was tick free.
So now I'm just waiting... 3 to 32 days after being bitten, to see if I have Lyme disease. Fingers crossed! Sometimes I feel like the Northeastern United States is out to get me. I've transplanted here, but I'm not taking, and am being rejected...