Wednesday, May 8, 2013


It occurs to me ­in my 81st year that all my separate parts are also this old….bones, connective tissue, nerves and organs etc… That’s a lot of mileage to ask of a pile of minerals.                   

One of my favorite organs is my skin. Flabby, blotched and stitched as it is, I’d know it anywhere. It may be a mess but it’s my mess. When it has had enough it knows when to slough off and replenish. Even in its withered state it manages to envelop my whole body twisting and bending at elbow and knee on demand. I wouldn’t have it otherwise. We leave other organs alone to assume their shape for a lifetime but skin is obligated to stretch beyond its infantile imaginings. It may only be skin-deep but that’s deep enough.­­­
I should apologize to my skin before it’s too late. It has endured all those childhood eruptions such as measles and chickenpox to say nothing of adolescent zits. It doesn’t seem fair that skin has to receive not only all the insults of diaper pins, scraped knees, slaps and whacks but also outwardly wear the inner abuse of nasty organisms, raging hormones and ultimately, liver spots. And then there was my foolhardy solar-worship when we didn’t know what evil rays lurk in the heart of the sun.

My only incisions both occurred on my left arm and one resulted in a needless ten inch scar compliments of a knife-happy surgeon looking for a pinched nerve that never was. Sorry, skin, I hope never to put you under the knife again.
When skin has something to say it itches and waits for an answering scratch. Fair enough. Some precincts of the skin present a challenge without a back-scratcher or Peggy’s obliging finger nails. It also speaks volumes with pins & needles and goose bumps. When it throws a hissy-fit we call it a rash. Go ahead, skin, you’re entitled to have your say for all you’ve had to put up with.

I try not to ask too much of my skin at this point. I’m not a hand-wringer. I don’t crack my knuckles or crease my brow any more than I’m aware of. I can only hope smiles and wonderment are less taxing than frowns and sneers. I’ll do my best to keep my face from misbehaving. Just to demonstrate that I have my skin in the game I can safely say now that I shall never enter a monastery and self-flagellate nor will I tattoo myself into a billboard however noble or endearing the message. My skin deserves better.

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