Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are you allergic to Poison Ivy?

Back in the day, the Coasters had a pretty cool song. Remember dancing to the sound of “Measles make you bumpy, And mumps'll make you lumpy, And chicken pox'll make you jump and twitch A common cold'll fool ya And whooping cough'll cool ya But poison ivy, Lord'll make you itch!! Poison ivy, poison ivy, Late at night while you're sleepin' poison ivy comes a'creepin' Around!” We loved that song and we played it so much you could see daylight through the grooves.

Then there was Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley also know as “Poison Ivy” a DC Comics supervillainess who used toxins from plants and mind controlling pheromones for her criminal activities. She has proven to be one of Batman's more powerful foes. Poison Ivy was portrayed as a love interest for Batman. In one comic, Ivy was robbing a charity gala Bruce Wayne was attending. Ivy's first kiss was poison, the second its antidote. When they first meet, Ivy's toxic lips planted a seed of toxic rapture in Bruce. But when she later kissed a dying Dark Knight, Ivy unknowingly cured her intended victim and established a budding romantic tension between them. In the movie, lovely Uma Thurmon made you want to touch!

But if you are like me, the particular strain of poison ivy known as toxicodendron radicans is nothing to mess with. I learned that lesson early in life. Actually my first brush with “the poisons” was with poison sumac then I met poison oak and then finally the lovely and treacherous poison ivy. As a kid I was always running around the woods and forests of northern Florida. There was plenty of opportunity to meet up with one of the three of them and then spend a couple of weeks with my new best friend, Calamine Lotion.

When I moved to SC, at first, I thought I had escaped the evil, flowery tendrils of poison ivy. I went for years without coming in contact, years of blessed relief. Summer after summer, I would go boldly into the back yard mowing and raking and chopping down the overgrowth on the fences. Life was good; I was the master of my own yard. This is until about 15 years ago. After an afternoon clearing the brush along the back, I noticed an itch. By the end of the week, I knew that Ivy had found me again. Ivy has gotten worse while she was away, the rash is hotter and angrier looking than I remember.

Ok, Ivy has tracked me down via my neighbor’s yard. We can reach a stalemate. She can have her section on the fence; I’ll keep her at bay with the best chemistry available. That worked for years, but I am sorry to report that Ivy is a greedy little plant who like Putin has designs on the territory of my back yard. She had recruited some bird friends to carry her seed to my other neighbor’s yard and last year, she got me again. Out came the Ivarest that has the same look and smell of calamine lotion. That is one of those smells that bring back memories of childhood. You know the kind.

Last weekend, I needed to clear out the path on one side of my home so I could get the mower from the back yard to the front. It is a once a year task. I was very careful not to get near the poison ivy that got me last year but she is still creepin’ around. For some reason, I didn’t recognize her “leaves of three” and so today, I sit here smelling like calamine lotion again. Like the Coaster’s sang “But poison ivy, Lord'll make you itch!!” Oh MY!

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