When I was but a wee lad, sometime before my tenth year of life (if I recall correctly), I got a bad case of poison oak. It was summer, and we were spending a few days up at the house in Coarsegold after a bit of an absence. During that absence, it seems that a large patch of poison oak had started coming through the gravel of the parking area. Daie Vargha (fun fact time: Daie is Farsi for uncle, but not just any uncle, specifically my maternal uncle; my paternal uncle, were he not a hella Anglo [that’s the technical term] descendant of William the Conqueror, would be Amoo) started picking them, barehanded, and I was eager to help. I asked if I could be of any assistance, at which point I was told that the plants would make me itch. My logical mind watched him grabbing them up barehanded for a few seconds before pointing out the obvious discrepancy in his statement. If they would make me itch, then why was he picking them with his bare hands? Would they not make him itch just as much as they would make me itch? His response was that he was immune, and would not develop an itch from handling the poison oak in that way. He was always quite the joker, so naturally I assumed he was pulling my leg. I started grabbing them and pulling them out of the ground with my bare hands, just like my uncle.

The next couple of weeks were spent taking medicated baths, applying medicated lotion, and scratching myself until I was raw. I learned a valuable lesson that day: don’t pick poison oak with your bare hands. I’m sure there was some sort of larger life lesson there, but I can still feel the itching when I think about it.