Mail (May, 1998)

Beach Daring
from KHL

Hi, Ed: It's me again (KHL). I wrote you after I'd moved from India to London and then back to L.A. I'm not sure how long I'm supposed to wait before I notice whether symptoms start clearing up in California sunshine, but my sense of humor is returning, so at least I can be grateful for that.

I went to the beach last weekend and got up the nerve to expose my legs (which look like lasagne). For those people who have never been to California, please don't underestimate the courage it took to do that, because around here you never appear in public in a swimsuit unless your body is more perfect than it was when you were 16. Unfortunately, there are a helluva lot of women who have those perfect bodies. So even normal people feel inadequate, and that means psoriatics are twice cursed.

The good news is nobody pointed at me and screamed, because in addition to having perfect bodies, Californians are perfectly politically correct. I've been telling people either that I suffer from flesh eating bacteria, or that my skin condition was caused by environmental toxins in the Pacific ocean. That way I get a little more room to myself on the beach. Regards, -KHL


Ed's Response: Nice to hear from you again, KHL. (Readers: See KHL's original correspondence—link at end of this file.) Congrats on your courage, ma'am. Might it be that, other than the P, your body DOES look more or less like it did when you were 16?

I've used the toxins-in-the-water line, or its implication, myself, though not on the Beach. A friend named Sam once insisted I come to his pool party. I explained that I didn't do bathing suit socializing because of my P, of which he was aware. He told me to come anyway and forgo the bathing suit. So I sat there sipping my ... if I recall, it was Long Island Iced-Tea ... fully clothed, including my broad-brim hat. I was delighted to be approached by a stranger (a woman who fit your description of California beach acceptability) while my host was sitting with me. Both my host and the stranger were, of course, in bathing suits. "And Mr. Dewke? Why, may I ask, aren't you joining us in the pool?" I extended my hand (fully erupted at that moment) for her perusal and said, "Hah! This is what happened LAST TIME I got in Sam's pool!" I left the explaining to my host, which he did quickly, as you might imagine. ;-) -Ed

See: Dissuading Beggars in India (from the archives)

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