Two weeks ago, I managed to land myself in some poison ivy. As it turns out, my body no longer offers much protection from the havoc the evil plant is currently wreaking on my epidermis. I am in need of an ocean of calamine lotion. It might have been smart to talk to my doctor earlier, but I already had the appointment, and I was going to be a big tough man about the whole unsightly and hellish rash thing.
This course of action proved to be a poor decision, but the ordeal put a few things in perspective. To start with, I used to be immune to poison ivy. Never worried about it. Maybe I was lucky, or maybe it was part and parcel of being your run-of-the-mill indestructible child. Revisiting valleys and creeks, wines and rope swings, I started to wonder when the whole self-preservation instinct kicked in. My money is on 19 or so, when I became crazy boring. Or boring and crazy. Whatever. That timeframe locks up nicely with the end of a regular camping schedule that I enjoyed for the bulk of my teenage years.
The more I wander abandoned factory yards, the bowels of parking garages and the miniature jungle on the hillside behind my house, the more said self-preservation eased off. Sure, hurtling down a hillside in the middle of the night is made easier with some dutch courage, but not so much courage as to preclude a brief moment of hesitation, especially when faced with army-crawling through the underbrush. I swear there is a good reason for said crawling. Honest.
A week ago, while flailing about in the dark, running into trees and rolling around in who knows what, I managed to somehow compound my rash. And slice my left hand. And bash my legs up for the nth time this summer.
The point is, the more I wandered around, the less I worried about comparitively minor annoyances, like rashes, sunburn, or potentially impaling, breaking or ending myself somewhere in the dark green busom of the hill. I’m having fun, which unlocked the riddle of what happened to my childhood penchant for suicide missions: They never left, I had just been lazy. It was kind of like finding an old bike in a basement. Imagine that.
While it may seem preferred to chill out and watch Godzilla in the air conditioning (especially with this relentless heat), it is entirely more fulfilling to be Godzilla. Outside. Not that there’s anything anything wrong with AC, but is nice to earn it in a sense- especially if you’re coated in fresh scratches. Or lingering plant-based rashes. Or whatever. I mean, you don’t wanna die without any scars, do you?