Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the glorious hair metal band of the 1980s, although I do tacitly admit that I did pay to see them perform live in concert back in the day …
Oh C.C. … no one loves your guitar playing more than you do yourself!
I should also come clean and say that it took me a few years before I really thought about the song “Unskinny Bop,” and realized what the hell is going on … Clearly, I must’ve not understood as it’s so much more subtle than “Big Bottom” and “Fat Bottom Girls.” Or I’m just a dumb ass, which we know is most likely the case.
Anyway, those embarrassments needlessly shared, this summer has been a toxic one for me, literally. First, I documented my failed effort to inadvertently kill myself in one of the most stupid ways possible by mixing bleach and Raid ant spray in a cabinet and then shoving my head in there. I’m still awaiting my Darwin Award Honorable Mention for that effort.
Now, my season of toxins continues with the very bestest of skin irritations—poison ivy.
Yeah, that caladryl-coated, pustule-ridden body part is my right ankle. And there are *plenty* more bumpy and hot and itchy patches like that on my arms and legs. Yay me!
And although I appreciate the dozens of remedies out there, after a lot of research (mostly at 2 a.m. when it felt like my skin was on fire and I couldn’t sleep), I’ve come to realize that there is no real cure other than time—7 to 10 days in most cases. Sure, there are different things you can put on your skin to ease the discomfort, but it’s not going away once it’s gotten hold. No oatmeal baths or bleachings, thanks!
I’m not quite sure how I contracted it, although it most likely happened last week when I was weed-whacking the yard. I didn’t notice any poison ivy, but evidently there was some, and using a device to whip it up with weeds and throw it against my legs like arsenic-coated shrapnel was a great way to ensure it was able to take root in my skin.
The sad part is that I have Tecnu, which I’ve used successfully other times when I’ve come in contact with poison ivy, but it’s only effective if you use it right away. If you’re an idiot and spend the first few days telling yourself, “Well, it looks like poison ivy and feels like poison ivy and sure as hell itches like poison ivy, but it can’t be poison ivy because I don’t know where I possibly could’ve gotten it from,” rather than just being cautious and using it, then it gets too late very fast.
Have I mentioned that I’m a dumb ass?
For the record:
Poison ivy makes for a strong argument *against* “Intelligent Design.” Seriously, like swans, cancer and clowns, what Supreme Being in its right mind would come up with such an evil creation? I don’t see how it contributes to the Circle of Life, although I do see how it’s made for circles of medication around both my ankles.
Only one good thing has ever come of poison ivy in the existence of human kind. And this is that story.
Waaay back in the day, when I was in college, I got a bad case of poison ivy after doing some ill-advised springtime landscaping for the office my mother worked for—I encountered a wall covered with it, but as I had never gotten it to that point despite traipsing around in it a bit as a kid, I figured I was not allergic. So I pulled it out by hand—bare hands.
Turns out, I was NOT “not allergic.” So *very* not. Still not sure why I thought I could be, but whatever—we all know that I’m a dumb ass, right?
So anyway, I had it up and down my arms and legs, and was quite miserable. Like I am now, I was constantly caked with Caladryl. The only saving grace was that I was working as a clerk at ShopRite in Milford, and for those two weeks, I was helping out in the frozen food department while someone was on vacation—being able to stick my arms in freezers for six hours a day was bliss! So, so cold …
One Saturday night during this period, my friends decided to have a party to celebrate my birthday! Okay, actually, we had parties pretty much every Friday and Saturday night because we were college students and that’s what we did, but on this particular weekend, we decided to celebrate my birthday while we were at it … and by “we” I mean everyone else but me as you should know by now that I really have no interest in celebrating my birthday.
The only hang up was that I had to work the noon-9 shift on this Saturday, but this was back in the day when we didn’t go out to bars until 10 p.m. at the earliest, so this was not a big deal. The party was starting around 8 p.m., so I just figured I’d work my shift then go over a little late. No biggie, right?
So I worked my hours, and even though I had spent extra time in the freezer, I was still a blotchy pink mess when it was over. Not wanting to show up for my own “party” in such a state, I decided to go home first to take a shower and get cleaned up a bit. I hosed off the day’s grime, and re-applied the least obvious coat of Caladryl I could manage—had to look good in case there were any single ladies there, right? Sure.
Anyway, after my shower and re-application routine, it was about 10:00 or so by the time I arrived on the scene. I could see that the party was in full swing. I parked my car, went into the house and was greeted in decidedly non-birthday fashion by pretty much everyone I passed, be it friend or vague acquaintance.
“RAY! YOU ASSHOLE!”
“HEY, NICE GOING, JERK!”
“WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU, YOU IDIOT?!”
Needless to say (although I’ll say it anyway), I was a bit perplexed by the lack of well wishes. It was only when I found my closest friends that I was told why everyone was mad at me …
Apparently, to “celebrate” my birthday, someone had the bright idea to order me A FREAKIN’ CLOWN!!
Again, if you’re any sort of regular visitor to this site (or anyone with any common sense, really), you know that I absolutely, positively despise—and yes, fear—clowns.
But as it turns out, my late arrival caused me to miss the entire visit of the grease-painted purveyor of evil—it (and I use that pronoun not by accident) couldn’t wait around because it had another soul to claim. Or “party to go to,” whatever you want to believe.
So yeah, if it wasn’t for poison ivy, I probably would’ve been eaten and raped by a clown (maybe even in that order). Other than that one shining moment, however, poison ivy has brought me nothing but misery. (Two more vague Stephen King references?)
Whatever. I can’t wait to stop itching …