Calamine Lotion

Do you remember calamine lotion? When I was a kid growing up in the Fifties and had mosquito bites or a case of poison ivy, the go-to remedy my mother always went to was calamine lotion. She would take a cotton ball, pour some calamine lotion on it, and dab the cold, pink liquid onto my bug bites or poison ivy. The lotion would eventually dry up and my skin would be covered in with pink blotches of cracked, dried up calamine lotion.

Apparently calamine lotion was not just my mother’s go-to remedy. There was a mega hit by the Coasters in 1959, “Poison Ivy,” that had the lyric, “You’re gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion.” It is, in fact, the only hit song ever with the words “calamine lotion” in the lyrics.

I honestly can’t remember if calamine lotion actually relieved my itching or if I was the victim of mom-propaganda.

A few days ago, I somehow acquired a few bug bites. I’m not sure if they were mosquito bites or spider bites, but the itching was driving me crazy. I headed over to my local Walgreens and asked the pharmacist what she recommended to stop the itching of mosquito or spider bites. Her immediate response was hydrocortisone. But then she said, “Alternatively, you can try old-fashioned calamine lotion.”

Whoa! Suddenly the pharmacist turned into my mother and I half expected her to reach out for a package of cotton balls, pull one out, pour calamine lotion on it, and start dabbing it on my bug bites.

“So?” the pharmacist said, breaking me out of my flashback.

“I’ll take the hydrocortisone,” I said.

Truthful Tuesday — Birth Control

Melanie, of Sparks from a Combustible Mind, is still filling in for Frank, aka PCGuy, who is taking a hiatus from his Truthful Tuesday prompt. This week Melanie has picked up on this post I wrote last week about how paradoxical it is that many who oppose abortion also oppose birth control. Melanie asks…

Birth control? Pro or con. Please explain.

My wife and I believe in the “replace yourself” theory of population growth. So after we had our second child, I had a vasectomy. It was our way of ensuring that we didn’t have any more kids.

A vasectomy is one form of birth control that a man can employ. The condom is another. Virtually all other forms of contraception are used by women. I haven’t looked into the Republican efforts to ban contraceptives, but I would wager that it doesn’t include banning vasectomies. Am I right, fellas?

Speaking of birth control, a few weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 228 to 195 to pass the Right to Contraception Act, which would make it a federal right for Americans to obtain and use birth control pills, condoms, IUDs and other contraceptives.

The bill specifically defined contraceptives as “any drug, device, or biological product intended for use in the prevention of pregnancy, whether specifically intended to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs, that is legally marketed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, such as oral contraceptives, long-acting reversible contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, internal and external condoms, injectables, vaginal barrier methods, transdermal patches, and vaginal rings, or other contraceptives.”

But when the Senate Democrats tried to pass the bill codifying federal rights to contraception by unanimous consent, it was blocked by Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa. So for now, the bill is dead in the water.

Birth control is a way for women and men to prevent and/or plan the timing of pregnancy. It’s use is a personal and private matter. It should not be a political issue. It should not be a religious issue. It should be a matter for a woman and a man to decide upon. Period.

#WDYS — The Muse

After three hours of staring at the blank canvas, Felix’s headache worsened, despite having taken four Advil tablets an hour earlier. This lack of inspiration had never happened to Felix before. Whenever he approached a canvas with his brushes and paints, everything just flowed. But not today. He was blocked.

He stepped back from the easel, put down his palette of paint splotches, and sat down in the easy chair he kept in his studio in the garage. Maybe if he just closed his eyes for a few minutes, cleared his mind, he’d feel refreshed and inspired.

That’s when he heard a woman’s voice repeating his name. “Felix. Felix. Felix.” He opened his eyes and looked across the room and his jaw dropped. Extending from the blank canvas were two arms. One was reaching out in Felix’s direction, beckoning him to reach out and take the hand. In the other hand we’re some fresh flowers.

“Felix,” the same woman’s voice who called his name earlier said, “Felix, I’m your muse and I’m here to give you a hand. Please take the hand I’m offering you.

Transfixed, Felix got up from his chair, walked over to the canvas and grabbed the hand with both of his. As soon as he touched the hand, Felix felt a bolt of electricity surge through his body. It was strong enough to cause him to fall to the floor of his studio, unconscious.

He didn’t know how long he was out, but when he came to, he looked up at the still blank canvas. He started to stand, faltered a bit, but was then able to get up, walk over to his palette, grab his brushes, and return to the easel with the blank canvas on it, and to start frenetically painting.

After a few hours, Felix stopped painting, stepped back from the easel, put down his palette of paint splotches, and sat down in the easy chair he kept in his studio in the garage.

Three days later, Felix’s housekeeper found his body slumped in the chair. She called the authorities, who came out and removed Felix’s body and took it to the morgue. His granddaughter, Felix’s only living relative, took the painting on the canvas that was on the easel to be evaluated by the head of the art department at the local university.

Felix’s final painting was declared to be a worthless artistic mess.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Marti Alonso @ Unsplash.

Fandango’s Story Starter #57

It’s time for my weekly Story Starter prompt. Here’s how it works. Every Tuesday morning (my time), I’m going to give you an incomplete “teaser” sentence and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a story (prose or poetry) around that partial sentence. It doesn’t have to be the first sentence in your story, and you don’t even have to use it in your post at all if you don’t want to. The purpose of the teaser is simply to spark your imagination and to get your storytelling juices flowing.

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

In the three days since Richard had received the subpoena to testify at the trial, he frantically …

If you care to write and post a story built from this teaser, be sure to link back to this post and to tag your post with #FSS. I would also encourage you to read and enjoy what your fellow bloggers do with their stories.

And most of all, have fun.

FOWC with Fandango — Willpower


It’s August 2, 2022. Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “willpower.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. Show them some love.