Tonight I was at a softball game. Early in the contest, I was standing by our bench. That’s my usual position, though they occasionally let me clear the dirt off the plate between innings, or polish the bats when nobody’s using them. Or wash the infielders’ cars. I’m a real ‘team player’ that way. That’s what they tell me, at least.
Anyway, on this particular play our runners were careening wildly around the diamond, leading the other team to throw the ball between various bases all willy-nilly. Because this is softball, folks. ‘Good fundamentals’ are for people who can sprint to first base without having a coronary, or stopping by the visitors’ dugout for a chili dog.
“We all know a guy — or know a guy that knows a guy — who has endured the infernal sting of the raw red rash on his ‘Jolly Rogerer’.”
As is always the case when a softball play involves more than two high-velocity throws, the ball went sailing up over a glove and out of play. In this case, out of play past third base, rolling past the bench where I was standing, across a sidewalk, and into a dark patch of weeds in an unlit area of the park.
Me being the
most expendable closest player, I jogged off to retrieve the ball. Since I couldn’t see over there, I was forced to rummage around with both hands, feeling the ground until I located the ball.
Or, in this case, until a guy from the other team came over and said, ‘Hey, I see it — it’s over here‘ approximately three feet from where I was copping a cheap feel from a patch of dirt and weeds.
(I’m guessing it’s just this sort of locked-in ‘nose for the ball’ that keeps me solidly riding the pine on this team. But I’m just happy to contribute — so long as they supply the Turtle Wax for the bats. And the shortstop’s Toyota.
This ‘team player’ thing sucks ass. I see that now.)
So the other guy throws the ball back to the field — and leaves me there with two arms wrist-deep in plants that I can neither identify nor clearly see. And one horrific thought leapt immediately to mind:
That was followed closely by ‘poison oak‘, ‘poison sumac‘, and several other poison-plant concoctions that I’ve since learned don’t actually exist. There’s apparently no such thing as ‘poison grass‘, ‘poison dandelions‘, or even ‘poison poseys‘.
(Except maybe for Parker Posey, in that stupid, stupid cola commercial. I swear, that godforsaken ad makes Pepsi seem like D-Con. Make it stop. Please.)
Still, the fact remained that I might well have been tainted with the noxious itchy oils of one of Nature’s great equalizers. There was no way to know for sure — and no immediately easy way to wash off my hands as a precaution. I had five more innings of plate-dusting and bat-polishing ahead of me, and no tub full of soapy water in sight. Naturally, the next most obvious thought soon came screaming into my consciousness:
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T TOUCH YOUR WINKIE!!
You guys know where I’m coming from. The annals of manhood are full of horror stories involving unsuspecting or injudicious gentlemen who’ve been exposed to poison ivy, and then fiddled with their privates. Whether it’s a bathroom break after working in the garden or an unfortunate choice of toilet paper replacement on a camping trip, the outcome is the same. We all know a guy — or know a guy that knows a guy — who has endured the infernal sting of the raw red rash on his ‘Jolly Rogerer’.
And by far, it’s the itchy irritation of the unmentionables that gets the most sympathetic (or empathetic) response from any group of males. You could have horror stories galore about the non-nether-region effects of poison ivy, and you’d barely rate a blip. Consider:
‘When I was a kid, my dad fell into a bed of poison ivy, and developed open sores on his hands and arms that lasted for weeks. It was a month before the doctors would let him out of bed or untie his arms to scratch, for fear of infection.‘
‘Hrm. Any on his wiener?‘
Or how about:
‘I knew a guy back in high school that burned a bunch of weeds in his yard, but there was poison ivy in there, and he inhaled a bunch of the fumes. The poor guy ended up on a respirator, and now he drinks three meals a day via straw through his nose.‘
‘Sad story. Did the fumes get his penis?‘
‘Not… that I know of, no.‘
‘Eh. He’ll live.‘
‘My old roommate back in college pulled a football out of a shrub during a game, and didn’t know that there was poison ivy in there, too. An hour later, he went to pee — and ended up with poison ivy on his Johnson!‘
‘Gaaaaaah!! Jesus, that poor bastard. We should take up a collection or something. Imagine being cut down, so early in life. Just… wow.‘
Suffice it to say, I didn’t get my hands anywhere near my delicates for the rest of the game. And this was softball — much like baseball, where in-game crotch scratching is damned near an art form, so it wasn’t fricking easy. But I did it. Then I came home, and thoroughly scrubbed my hands with soapy hot water, for as long as I could stand it.
And still I didn’t dare dip a digit toward my danglies. Frankly, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to touch them again. Maybe in three or four months, if no rash forms on my hands, I’ll consider it. But you can never be too careful. We’ve all heard the horror stories — and we’ve all crossed our legs and promised ourselves ‘that will never happen to me‘.
And now my little man is counting on me. I can’t possibly let him down. Hang in there, little dude — I’ll see you again next year!
Well, either that or I’ll end up doing some pretty unspeakable things with one of our oven mitts.
Either way, this could be the start of a long, cold, itchy winter. And I’m not talking about those wool turtleneck sweaters. Now who’s coming over to help with the calamine lotion, eh?Permalink | 3 Comments