When a new jack came into the bunkhouse, it was open season.
One of the men would draw a circle on the floor and then some of the others would join in. There would be a snuff can in the center of the circle and each man would pretend to pick a gray back (lice) off their neck and put it in the can. Then the betting would commence.
After some spirited banter, someone would tip over the can and pretend to watch as the gray backs headed for the edge of the circle. Eventually they would draw the new guy into the betting and take some of his money.
It was all done in fun, but there were a lot of lice in those bunkhouses. "Oh how they itches, those sons a bitches"
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