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Hey, Matt!

Do kids these days still get cooties? And what's a cootie anyway?

-- Buglady, San Diego

Cooties live! Science has not yet found a cure. According to our survey of neighborhood short people, you can still get cooties from your classmates. Nobody could describe a cootie, exactly. They're just the same vague but nasty emanations they were back when Matthew was a tyke. A wonderful school tradition that links the generations. The word "cootie" is a borrow (ca. 1915) from the Malaysian word "kutu" -- lice.

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