Friday, May 30, 2008


some important points to consider this morning:

1. as you likely have figured out all on your lonesome from the following photos, yes we do have a magnolia tree in our backyard.

2. and i have poison ivy on two legs and an arm. or should i say i'm having a reaction to poison ivy? everyone understands when you say, "i have poison ivy," right? it's like "vietnam"--a nation, true, but also shorthand for a war.

3. no, i'm not comparing my poison ivy victimhood with the horrors of that awful awful war.

4. though it IS natural for male dudes like me to share with others stories about their minor physical problems. just yesterday i unsolicitedly showed to a poor woman some icky bruising on my leg that is a result of a pulled muscle in my leg. or maybe it's a torn tendon. i'm not sure. basically i broke my body. it hurts enough to keep me up at night. yes, i am tempted to show it on the blog.

5. truth in advertising: i can't be sure how serious my injury is because i think i have a fairly low pain threshold. especially with all dental work. i cry when they turn on that bright light hanging over your head. i'm a very wimpy sick patient as well. for some reason when i get sick i genuinely fear losing the love of all those around me. i need reassurance that, yes, i'm still loved. i plead to my family, oh please come to my room and let me know that you aren't going to kick me out of the house. which is pathetic. but not altogether unrealistic because my family does seem genuinely disgusted with me when i'm sick. because, let's face it, sickness is disgusting. especially when after a prolonged time in bed, i'm deeply in need of a shower. which makes them love me less because, all phony talk to the contrary, the unlovely (and stinky) are in fact hard to love. which is why the command to love our neighbors is a commandment.

6. but i digress.

7. it's just fun for male-type dudes to talk about non-war related "war wounds," especially when they are a result of astounding stupidity, as they often are. (swapping stories of our stupidity and the resulting injuries either to ourselves or to others is a favorite pastime of technoprairie's husband and i when we get together. boy how do we laugh and we wonder why others aren't laughing. because whew boy howdy them are some funny stories, and we don't care what you think.)

8. stupidity played a part in my present state as well. the scoop: i pulled/tore/obliterated my calf muscles playing basketball. to my surprise, my leg could stand only so many of the 360% turn slam-dunks i was producing at an astonishing rate. okay, maybe that's an embellishment. they weren't 360% dunks; they were 180% dunks, though i'm not sure how that works unless i start the dunk facing away from the hoop. but the point is that the guy who was guarding me (mostly in vain, i must say) kicked me as hard as he could in the back of my leg. or so it felt. and so i accused him. and when he denied it so i accused everyone else on the court as well, even those guys a good twenty feet from me. because i was definitely kicked in the back of my leg.

9. but i wasn't. my leg exploded on its own without any external assistance. i did not know my leg was holding a grudge against me, but it was. after the explosion i hobbled around like the bad alien guy in "men in black."
10. the actor who played the alien in that movie is the forever sideways-leaning detective in "law and order: criminal intent." vincent d'onfrio.

11. after a day or two of me i thinking that i "should" be on my way to recovery even though i was in shriek-inducing pain and still hobbling around like quasi modo, i decided i wanted to create a little walking path for my girls along the little creek (trickle? tiny tributary?) in our backyard. normally my girls just trudge through the high grass. but when my oldest daughter saw a snake in the grass, i thought it's time for me to be a responsible dad. it was obvious what need to be done: i needed to forge a trail for them. and to do it i bought one of those weed whip tools that you swing back and forth and just went at it!

12. i did this for three days, all the while my leg just killing me. most of the time i'd swing as hard as i could at the weeds and follow through like a golf swing. which resulted much of the times in the weeds landing directly on my head--weeds which were composed of 50% poison ivy, 20% neighbors' flowers, 20% unidentified flora fed on runoff water and runoff bacteria, and 10% snake parts. and yet i couldn't stop that big golf swing because it was so much fun to see those weeds fly high into the air (if also on my head). the result is that in no time at all my head was just lousy with poison ivy. how it ended up infecting my legs and not my eyes is as much mystery to me as it is to you.

13. the result from all that trailblazing was not only a bad case of poision ivy but also an aggravated leg injury that now requires that i see an orthopedic doctor. i hate to lie, but who i because there's no way i'm going to mention weed whacking to the doctor. who needs the doctor's "you should have known better" stare? not me. i also developed terrible blisters that are scarring my hands, mostly because i'm not putting band aids on them because i want people to see the beet-red blotches so they'll ask me about them and thereby giving me an opportunity to tell them about my leg.

14. i'm not sure why i'm sharing all of this, except to say that i got little sleep last night and my brain isn't right quite yet.

15. man, my poison ivy is really itching. i'm going to have to break down and put that stuff on it. i can never remember the name of it. calodryl. or colombine. or calphilarahyde. something like that.

16. so while i have you here, do you think i should i remove the photo below captioned "green and bluish"? there's something just not right about it.

17. here's one more thing. i threw most of the weeds that landed on my head into the creek. unfortunately the creek wasn't flowing enough to carry the weeds away, so i fear that i am responsible for starving the creek of vital oxygen necessary for the poor fish and tadpoles and frogs and legions of snakes that live there. i consoled myself with the knowledge that with the first good rain, the weeds would all wash downstream and clog the river on someone else's property. as it stood, however, i felt like i was polluting the river even though i was polluting it with al gore-approvable green organic refuse. then it did rain for a couple of days and the creek flowed more heavily. but there's this one big heap of weeds that has stuck on a rock directly in our backyard. and that clump of ornery weeds is driving me to distraction. it's like the old man's vulture eye in poe's "the tell-tale heart." that clump stares at me. and stares. and stares. so every few hours i went out into the rain to see whether the evidence of my modern-day crime of polluting a river has been washed away.

18. it hasn't! i may have to wade into the creek this morning and break up the clump.

19. this post exemplifies what some people think is wrong with blogging. and the internet. and our oprah-fueled life of public confession and sharing. and society more generally.

20. but my leg is REALLY itchy!
21. i hope you enjoy the magnolia photos.
22. taken from a magnolia tree in our yard.


justcurious said...

wow. i had to come back to this list after i could settle in with coffee. that is some funny and compelling angst. i mean not funny. sad. sad is what i meant to say, and i'm sorry for ya.

i read just the other day that, rather than use the topical stuff, you should take benedryl and treat the itching systemically while the junk itself dries up. i'm not a doctor, but i did stay in a holiday inn express last night.

why are you pickin' on bluish and green, or whatever it's called? it's nice. makes me contemplate fractals.

Technoprairie said...

I've heard that if you get into a really really hot shower and just let that water flow over the poison ivy patches, it will itch like CRAZY and then it will stop itching. But the water has to be as hot as you can stand it.

Sabbatical is supposed to be a time of rest and renewal, right? Sounds like you need to get back into the office before you kill yourself.

Michael B said...

the photo is out. boom.

Michael B said...

holiday inn does seem to have the answers. i've certainly never gotten poison ivy from it. plus, i take all my medical practice from my blog responders. here's the truth about what i'm doing:

1. scalding water. no joke. i figure that if nothing else the nerve endings will be damaged in the process.

2. benedryl

3. baking soda application

4. topical stuff

since that i've developed a near-debililtating crick (sp?) in the neck. plus most of my right side hurts.

logically you might think it's because of compensatory actions i take with my limp. maybe. but it might also be the baking soda water. you never can tell.

i'm a mess.

justcurious said...

okay, at the risk of embarrassing my oldest punk, i'll tell you how i've treated her when she is in the throes of her most evil poison ivy attacks. i glue her to the t.v., sit her on the bed on a towel, then plaster the oozing places with a mix of cooked oatmeal and baking soda. i swear she looks like a scooby-doo bad guy, but it works. it speeds the drying-up process and helps with the itching. you do look ridiculous, and you do have oatmeal all over your bed, but she says it works, and she's reluctant to take aspirin for a headache.

Michael B said...

when have i ever minded looking ridiculous?

I like the scooby-doo reference. very nice. they really were quite oatmealy, weren't there.

i think my poison ivy s drying up a little, but if it's still itching tomorow i'm going to get plop in front of my own tv and follow your remedy.