Turns out that thing wasn’t overrated, it just wasn’t big enough for the remedies required for advancing age.
You know what I’m talking about. Creams, lotions, ointments, powders, heat therapy pads, bandages in every size from butterfly to major road rash, tape (cloth, paper, adhesive), elastic bandages and the macabre collection of finger and wrist splints. This stash could stock a first aid station, or at least take care of the neighborhood’s needs, should any disaster short of a plane crash arrive.
It wasn’t always like this, you recall. As kids, we’d fall down, get scraped and Mom would wash it off, dab on some of that Day-Glo iodine stuff (telling us it would not sting, but we knew better), and maybe add a bandage if we really whined for one. The bandage never lasted beyond the bike ride to the next block or the next slide into home plate, of course. But it did not matter. It was that moment of personal parental attention that counted. No worry or panic – just clean it up, put on the antiseptic, cover and go.
Now in the age of fear and germs, in the era of mad cow disease and microbes we cannot see but can turn our brains to soft spongy material, we worry and clean and scrub and treat. We sanitize ourselves before we clean anything. We are suckers for anything that promises more antiseptic surfaces, less pain and speed-of-light healing.
Hence my pain shelf. It’s been a very useful place lately, between the itchy eyes, skin rash, back twinges and really fugly paper cut I got the other day. Maybe I need to go out and price a third medicine cabinet for the bathroom. Something in black, with quick-action spring doors and shelves that are built in the lazy Susan style…