My brother, on a recent motorbike trip around Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas, boggled at how he ever could have lived here in the land of Poison Ivy. He’s in Washington state now, where they have poison ivy, it’s just not EVERYWHERE. I thought I was used to it- until a week and a half ago.

On the first day of the school year, my wife tries to walk along to school with the kids, and on the way back, she uses some handy garden clippers to snip off the limbs and things that have grown over the sidewalk in the intervening summer. Snip, snip, and the kids can walk to school without taking a locust branch, with its attendant thorns, in the eye. Very community minded.

I was going to ‘help’. As I was reaching up to snip some high branch, helpfully, my wife asks if that’s not poison ivy. No, I think. Couldn’t be. Sure, there’s sort of three leaves in groups, but they’re HUGE, and they’re way up there… that can’t be poison ivy. But that wasn’t a branch from a tree, it was a creeper coming off a vine that had strangled the tree. Weird.

Poison Ivy has gotten SNEAKY. Must be an evolutionary trick. Anyhow, it fooled me, and as I had snipped, big ol’ pseudo branches had tumbled down along my arm. I guess I wasn’t convinced that it WAS poison ivy, or I had a lot on my mind, or … I don’t have an excuse. Instead of boiling my arm when I got home, I went to work. It was morning. I was probably worried about getting a Hubris cartoon ready for you guys. ‘Cause I love you.

When you sit at a desk and draw and answer phones, and draw some more, you brush your arm against other parts of your body, and scratch, and generally your arm doesn’t mind it own business. And I had peeled my sweaty shirt off when I got home, and probably smeared a towel around so that I wouldn’t leave sweat all over my drawing board and drawings. So a few days later, when it was far too late, I had an exhibit for the local cub scouts- “Here’s what happens when you don’t wash your arm carefully after touching poison ivy!” I refuse to peel the shirt and show everyone the myriad smears and swipes across my chest and back. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m STUPID.

Here’s some modern poison ivy medication. Click on the tube if you want to shop:
Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub