I’m loitering in the shower while waiting for my deep conditioning treatment to finish deeply conditioning my hair. The warm water is just beginning to loosen a knot in my back. As I wait for both my back and my hair to relax, I begin to organize the bottles on our tiny shower shelf. It’s hard to read in the shower, it turns out.
Our family sized bottle of Poison Ivy Wash catches my eye. This bottle boasts a column of green squares with simple picture icons indicating the myriad uses of this product. I just want to point out that this is soap. If you haven’t figured out what to do with soap, by this time of your life. Then, that is too bad. However, the green squares are helpfully captioned in ALL CAPS in case you have trouble understanding the little squares.
I didn’t bring a book so I peruse the column from top to bottom.
SKIN, this seems obvious and not really necessary on this bottle. This instruction must be intended for the user who isn’t sure what exactly a poison ivy outbreak is or where it happens but is equally they don’t want it.
The Skin icon is followed by; TOOLS, CLOTHES, and PETS. Of course, wandering pets and gardening tools might come into contact with the urushiol in the leaves. I wasn’t aware until now that my pets and tools were conspiring against me. Crowding dogs, shovels, and laundry into the shower with you and your collection of ivy wash doesn’t seem practical. Who am I to argue with the Ivy Wash people? They know their stuff.
The fifth icon is bewildering.
Skunk, is both the image and the caption. It would seem that enough people have skunks contaminated with poison ivy that this is a thing. The underground exotic pet market must include skunks for those with the urge for danger and social isolation.
Wait a minute, the fourth icon already says PETS. This category already covers pets even exotic ones. These particular poison ivy spreading skunks must be wild creatures and not traitorous pets at all. I imagine wild skunks in dark glasses and tiny trench coats lurking, skulking, and spreading poison ivy to the unwary. I vow to be more vigilant. Mephitidae, you can’t trust them.
I wonder, as you often do, how one washes a wild, contaminated skunk, once you wrestle them out of their trench coat. It seems like initiating any washing at all makes a second bath almost instantly necessary. A third scrub seems equally likely. The Ivy Wash marketing people are brilliant. They’ve created their own market.
The sixth icon indicates Sap. I had no idea that sap needed washing. All this time, my trees have had filthy sa,. How embarrassing. I wonder what else urgently needs attention while I’m just hanging around in the shower reading labels.
The Ivy Wash marketing people are brilliant and a bit cruel. They both enable and take advantage of the obsessive-compulsive gardener whose trees and local skunk population are never thoroughly clean.
By now, the warm water has finished un-kinking my back, my hair is conditioned, and breakfast is long overdue. Afterwards, maybe I’ll stock up on a few more quarts of ivy wash, adopt a skunk, or two and invest in tiny, tiny trenchcoats.