You’re gonna need an ocean
of calamine lotion
You’ll be scratching like a hound
the minute you start to mess around
Poison ivy, poison ivy
Well late at night when you’re sleeping
Poison ivy comes a creeping all around
– “Poison Ivy”, The Rolling Stone’s Lyrics
This jelly ebbs and flows with the tides. Summer currents carry the purple-striped jelly to the waters just off our shores. When it arrives, you’d better keep your distance. This jelly’s sting isn’t fatal, but it can be painful.
– Monterey Bay Aquarium
Anne went to see our dermatologist today. She has poison ivy. She got it last Sunday, when we were working together in the yard. She is sensitive to poison ivy, while I am not. Why she was weeding poison ivy and I wasn’t is a long story, but let’s cut to the chase. She asked me to weed the poison ivy last Spring, but I didn’t. I guess that I am just a bad guy. Now she has oral and topical medications to alleviate her discomfort. This is a good thing, because she has her first day of school tomorrow.
I may be a bad guy, but I am not without sympathy. My sympathy is born from experience, a rather painful experience. Step into my Way-Back machine, back to my first Boy Scout campout. I was a tenderfoot of twelve-years old. One of the older boys was going for his first class badge. The requirements for this badge required this scout to identify poison oak. This episode occurred in Marin County, California. Out west there is poison oak, a parasite that on plants and trees is pervasive. It is a totally different species from poison ivy, which is an eastern US plant.
So said scout identified poison oak. His next requirement was to build a fire. Somewhere between steps one and two there was a disconnect. He built the campfire using poison oak. The danger here was acute, because the inhalation of burnt poison oak fumes can be fatal. No one died, but come Monday we were all severely affected. I missed a week of school. I had poison oak everywhere. I mean everywhere.
Fast forward to today. As Anne is sensitive to poison ivy, I am even more sensitive to poison oak. While neither of us has been stung by a jelly fish, we are both relatively immune to the other one’s nemesis. I apologize to Anne for not being there for her. I also apologize to Kayak Women for my incomprehensible and insensitive comment last night.