This much is a given: I need to lower my body into a large vat of rubbing alchohol and remain suspended there for some minutes.
What has not yet been decided are the logistics of the lowering. Obviously, I need some sort of harness, right? And while I suppose a bathtub could suffice as the vat, I’m afraid I may need a submersion tank with greater depth (I need a Ted Koppel-type tank, not just the Matt Lauer easy-dip bathtub). Do you think David Blaine has any equipment he’s not currently using to enter a state of hibernation and non-defecation for three weeks while promoting the Target brand?
See, here’s the thing: since getting back from Guatemala (did I, um, mention we went to Guatemala?), my right hand and now arm have been developing some suspicious bite/wart/mini-third-nipple type thingies. First two little bites popped up on my thumb. They didn’t phase me; I named them Madison and Cody and painted little matching outfits on them. Then, approximately 40 hours later, two inches down on my hand, up popped Auntie Clementine, looking suspiciously like the twins. But denial exists for a reason, and so I soldiered through another 41 hours until Uncle Festus came out to set up a lemonade stand on my wrist.
I’m giving it just another 40 hours. Or 80. Or at the most 120. But then, most certainly, I’m going to face this marauding horde and take them to the vat of rubbing alchohol (trust me, I’ve already tried the ingestible stuff, and neither Pumpkin Ale nor Riesling is anti-biotic enough), whereupon we’re going to play end-of-the-school-year carnival dunk-tank, like in the finale of GREASE, during which John Travolta in his new letterman jacket dunks the teacher who is responsible for his imminent summer school make-up session.
Sure, others among us–let’s call them Wusschester United–would go to the doc. Trust me, the fact that I inadvertently put my toothbrush under the tap water two times in Guatemala and drank pop containing non-pure water ice cubes leads me to think I may actually have some sort of doc-suitable parasite (we’ve all seen TREMORS, ja? I imagine such wormy beasts under my skin, laying their eggs, snaking around my veins).
Then again, I may just have a workaday case of pest infestation. However, if you’ve read this blog back far enough to remember when a bat moved into my house, you’ll know that I don’t suffer any infestation lightly. I often take to the bathroom for hours upon end, where I enjoy unfettered weeping and agitatedly rearrange the tampons into small village communities.
This particular infestation, though, doesn’t make me feel weepy. It just makes me feel scratchy, as in “I got this huge paper cut on my toe, slathered it in honey, and then jammed it into an ant colony on the savannah for twelve days” itchy.
As I peruse the Walgreens to see how many bottles of rubbing alcohol it will take to fill the vat, and as I scratch the whole family of bites to infernal bloodiness, I harken back two years to when I was pretty sure I had fleas.
We hadn’t been on any cross-contintental dashes, and we didn’t have a pet. Of course, I might’ve picked the fleabies up from a shrew, vole, rat, or leashless dog (all the creatures with whom I have daily involuntary contact). With the fleas, the itches got to the point where I couldn’t even sit and type, much less grab the remote control at night to tune into THE APPRENTICE and scream at what a weenie Donald Trump is.
All I could do was scratch and scratch; my skin was covered with bites–around the ankles, up to my knees, around my waistband. I was in a constant state of being about to scream, like cresting the highest peak of a roller-coaster called the Entangled Entrails.
During Flea Infestation 2004, I tried really hard to be rational and relevant in daily life, but I just couldn’t stop scratching.
Maybe it wasn’t fleas. Maybe it was hives. Or maybe I had scabies. Or chiggers. All I knew for sure is that all attempts at heightened personal hygiene (I even washed the sheets, and it wasn’t even February) resulted in more scratching.
Most definitely, I was glad my husband was already committed to our gig as a lifetime dealie, or I’d have been certain that I was about to be alone forever, just me, my fleas, my big crocheted rainbow-colored poncho, my John Travolta tote bag, and a lot of bus rides up and down Superior Street to the city bus transfer station, where I would spend my hours, scratching and whimpering, alone in the middle of a crowd.
So today, as I sit scratching, instead of looking up the doc’s phone number, I find myself searching for enough change to hop on the bus, where I will be among My People.
Public scratchers of the world, gather ’round. And then strap on a harness. The vatting won’t be gentle, but won’t it feel good when those top layers of skin peel off for once and all?
Host no more!