Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Last Superpower

I have an unsightly (and quite itchy) rash on one arm and both legs. Red, scaly blotches, little bumps, altogether angry skin. As I undressed in my dermatologist's office (coincidentally, I was there for my annual check-up*), I noticed a wall chart explaining poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy.

Couldn't be. I've always been impervious to poison ivy. It was my last remaining superpower.** I could roll around in a bed of poison ivy and come away unscathed. Because of my special ability, I was always the one to chase the ball into the woods. I never had to wear gloves or long sleeves or long pants when I did yardwork. I could stroll through the woods (barefoot, if I so desired!) with impunity. I was immune.

I finished disrobing and waited for the doctor.

When she entered the exam room, she glanced at my splotchy arm. "Have you been in the woods or working in the yard lately?" she asked.

"As a matter of fact, I have. A couple days ago, I spent about an hour pulling vines off my azaleas," I responded. No, no, please, no.

"Uh, huh. Well, you have poison ivy." poison ivy

My worst fear realized. I had poison ivy. Common poison ivy.

Sure, it looks nasty and itches like crazy.

But that's not what bugs me.

My last superpower is gone.

And now, I must face my mortality.***

*I go to the dermatologist every year. As a child, I had many severe sunburns. One was so bad I passed out on the Autotrain coming back from Florida. I missed two days of school with sun poisoning and had to sit in a bathtub full of oatmeal. Lesson learned: Always use sunscreen!

**I lost my ability to eat just one potato chip last year at the Fourth of July picnic.

***Did I mention it itches like crazy?



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh, too funny---I'm going to the drugstore this morning to get something for my 12 year old son's poison ivy. It will NOT subside. I've put Bactine and hydrocortisone on it. It looks like he has leprosy. And, yes, he has been in the woods as well as helping in the yard. Usually he's immune to it, too, like his dad. So maybe it's a particularly virulent strain.

Maybe you can think of another superpower you have. Writing has got to count for something.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Alan Orloff said...

I feel his pain, er, itching.

And I'm not sure writing is a superpower. (Maybe some kind of mystical curse...)