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    Scratching an Itch

    Have any of you guys had an itch that you just couldn’t scratch? Well, this happened to me about a month ago. Here I was all bundled up while waiting for Herman in the car. The itching got so intense that I found myself yelling in the car.

    As soon as Herman got back I begged him to scratch my entire right arm right through my coat. Unfortunately it didn’t help. When we got back home Herman suggested I take Benedryl which is an antihistamine. I’m happy to report that within about an hour the itching stopped.

    But isn’t that the worst feeling? Herman tells me he once had shingles which he can compare the itching to. With shingles, there is a virus that attacks the nerves just below the skin on one hemisphere (one half) of your body. The itching is below the skin, so no amount of scratching can get to it. Herman says he was told shingles are really from having chicken pox as a child and you carry the virus into adulthood, ready to attack if your system gets run down.

    I call my itches the “MS Itchies” because, like shingles, it’s below the surface of the skin and you can’t get to it with any amount of scratching.

    Even our beloved Dalmatian Moxie had an allergy that made her itch her paws by chewing them until they were raw. She had to take steroid shots and now uses a special spray from the vets.

    Moxie loves to flip on her back in the snow and wiggle her back by way of scratching those itches she can’t get to otherwise. And she can scratch away with her rear paw so fast it looks like a blur. I don’t know how dogs do that.

    Herman tells me his family actually used to own a back scratcher in the shape of a curved arm with a hand at the business end to do the scratching, and odd as it sounds, he says it worked very well and wishes he still had it. I’ve seen back scratchers like the one he described.

    And as far as my research into word and phrase origins, there is the old, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” I don’t think we need to look too far to figure out where that came from.

    So for all of you out there with any itchies, find a good friend to do the scratching for you. It’s one favor you don’t mind owing someone else.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"