1. Get out the peanut butter. There’s a popular old wives’ tale that says if you put peanut butter over a tick, the peanut butter will start to smother the little bugger, and he’ll release his lockjaw bite on your flesh. This is a total lie. The peanut butter is for the snack you’ll want before this is over.
2. Find a pair of needle-tip tweezers. Nothing but needle-tip will do. I can’t stress this enough. Regular tweezers will cause you to rip off the tick’s abdomen, leaving its filthy, diseased head still firmly burrowed under your skin. Tick heads are infinitely more difficult to remove than whole ticks.
3. Place the tips of the tweezers as close to your skin and the tick’s hellspawn pincers as possible, squeeze, and gently start pulling. Slowly, slooowly . . . pop! What the—didn’t I TELL you not to use regular tweezers? Now you’ve got a tick belly leaking your freshly sucked blood all over the place, and a half a tick still stuck in you. What happens next is of your own making, pal!
4. Start sharpening the filleting knife. You’ve got a tick head that’s got to come out, my friend, and the only way to do that is to cut it out. Regretting not splurging on the needle-tip tweezers now, aren’t you?
5. Using your crappy regular tweezers, pull on the tick head hard enough to pull your skin away from your body. I know it’s gross. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
6. Use the filleting knife to gently saw away at the two points where the tick pincers have a death-lock grip on your skin. Luckily, I’ve found that the person with the tick often passes out from the pain at some point during the process, which makes it easier to saw.
7. The heck with it. When “gentle” fails to get you very far, just start hacking away. You’re going to wind up with a hole in your skin anyway, might as well gouge it out yourself. Continue to do this until the chunk of skin with the tick head still embedded separates from your body.
8. Stuff the gaping, bleeding hole that remains with gauze. Don’t use cotton. Hey! You saw what happened when you ignored my tweezers advice, didn’t you? Put that cotton ball down!
9. Collect the tick abdomen and tick head (with your flesh still attached) and bring it to the doctor. Put it in a safe container, like an old pill bottle. Don’t worry, you’ll get a new pill bottle when the doctor prescribes antibiotics for you.
10. Enjoy a spoonful of peanut butter. Go ahead. You’ve earned it, and you’ll have a battle scar for the rest of your life to show for it.