Wednesday, May 20, 2020

hope springs eternal

This morning a reader posted a question on Facebook.

She was curious if the coronavirus had made her too sensitive because she was getting irritated at bird chirp rings on telephones.

In the afternoon, a friend in Canada messaged me that he had just failed Husband Diplomacy 101. His wife had asked him if he thought the coronavirus had made her judgmental. He responded: "What does the virus have to do with it?"

When Omar came home from his construction job for lunch today, I made him a corned beef sandwich. While I was slathering mustard on the bread, he kept staring at my lip. Finally, he asked what had happened. My lip was red.

And it was. In my youth, I would have attributed it to what we euphemistically called a "love bite" (or more vulgarly, a "hicky"), but I do not recall ever sporting one on my lip.

Now, I had been with me all day, and I did not recall any amorous interlude. But I do not want to so blithely dismiss what would have once been considered a trophy -- and an absurd eccentricity at my age.

After all, there is always the outside possibility I have have been living a version of the old joke of the Scotsman's kilt. Or, at least, the punchline: "Ay lad, I don't know where you been, but I see you won first prize."*

I doubt I figure anywhere in that story. I suspect the genesis of my mark of pain is far more prosaic. I do have a theory, though.

For about the past three years, I have periodically developed small purple blotches on my hands and arms. They are not bruises. Or, rather, they are not exactly bruises. It takes merely a small brush against something for one to develop.

They are purpura. The primary cause is sun damage that has thinned the skin on the arms and hands. Another of those conditions suffered by the elderly.

It is not serious. The blemishes always fade quickly. I developed one on my right middle finger on Sunday. It is barely visible today.

The blotches look exactly like my new-found lip accent. The only difference is that this one has a bit of pain associated with it. Its onset could have been as simple as drying my mouth with a towel after my shower. Not quite as exotic as the tsarevich's disease, but hardly as debilitating, either.

So, to my friends who think their judgment may be negatively affected by the virus, I offer this reassurance.

At least, you do not need to try to explain to your son how you got what is obviously a hicky when it is nothing more than another of the travails of old age.

* -- I first heard that line as a joke told by a fellow squadron member (Skip Cox) in England. It turns out to actually be a folk (or, more accurately, drinking) tune. "The Drunken Scotsman."

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