Communications (August, 1997)

Psoriasis Sufferers, The End Is Nigh
by T. Wilkinson (Toronto, Canada)

So this is where the other 6.14 million flakes in North America hang out,
and for 38 years I thought it was my own personal dilemma. I enjoyed your pages, Ed, and thought I would pass on a couple of my personal observations.

Living with psoriasis in Canada has its advantages and disadvantages. During autumn, winter and spring you wouldn't want to expose your body parts to the elements anyway, so psoriasis sufferers go relatively unnoticed for 3/4 of the year. Of course those dark places tend to be wonderful breeding grounds for the little critters and by the vernal equinox you could invite the entire neighborhood over to play connect the dots!

But alas it is not all fun and games, I mean how many times do I have to hear, "Did you get in a fight, or something?" as people gaze at my plaque-plastered knuckles. "Actually they always get red that way just before I punch something!" I like to answer. And in the same vein (for those inclined to believe that they are stress related), "Yes, I've been meaning to let off some steam, and by the way, see answer #1."

But all is not lost for summer is here. I can finally tame the beast by getting some sun during my holidays in the next couple of weeks, which tends to clear up [the lesions], and... I have a theory. Well actually it's more of a science fiction story than a theory but read on.

There is a variety of moth that was made up of 98% white moths and 2% black moths. I believe it lives in England, but I can't recall its name. Over the years the blend changed to 98% black and 2% white. The reason for the change was due to the slowly changing environment in which the moth lived. Over the years its habitat became darker as soot from industry blackened the moths' landscape. Originally it was thought to be some kind of adaptation but in fact what happened was natural selection, the black moths prospered and the white moths became dinner.

The change was slow and I'm quite confident that it was barely noticeable to the white moths until it was too late. Changes in nature like these continue to happen in our world today. This is where the story begins to develop. Today the human population could be categorized as 98% non-flaky, smooth-skinned, Camay commercial types, and the other 2% breakfast cereal (that's us). Now look at the ratio of black and white moths prior to the dark ages. Coincidence? Unlikely. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Now we all know that if we spent more time wallowing in the sun absorbing those UVB's like mad dogs and Englishmen, instead of moping around in glass skyscrapers for 8 hours a day, we'd be as spotless as wineglasses at the Woldorf. In fact I'd go as far as to say we'd bare our buns (if so inclined) at every opportunity! This reminds me to mention that there is a pudding served in England known as 'spotted dick. Having been there (in more ways than one), I had to experience it, but that's another story.

So where was I, oh yes, so I'd like to spend more time in the sun but just as a left-handed person has to adjust to a right-handers world, the flakes have to adjust to the smoothies world or else we'll be done like dinner. Somehow I don't think the 4 hour work day that I need so that I can get home and soak up some sun isn't going to cut it with my lily white skinned boss.

But the times they are a changin', Bob, because sixty minutes of high noon sun in "1960 rays" wouldn't have given me a freckle when I was a kid, but today that's enough energy to fry all the bacon in Texas. So what's happening? Do you think the moths have noticed? Well sure they have but it may be too late, because the flakes are about to take over the surface of Earth while the smoothies move underground to protect themselves from the increasing UV rays caused by the depleting ozone layer!!! Meanwhile our genetic defect will be our savior and future generations who inherit the gene will develop into superior beings capable of absorbing high levels of UV radiation. They can use all of the hairspray they want! Great skin, great hair, downright irresistible I'd say. Every cloud has a silver lining. -Tim


Ed's Response:

Dear Tim: My spirits soar, my pride swells, I wear my flakes upon my sleeves like a trooper from the future! I'd read about those bilious moths in England that switched colors to survive mankind's sooty re-creation of their environment, but alas, I had not seen our future writ in that incident so clearly as you! What an enlightening connection! To think, tomorrow brings homo sapiens UVBD (ultra-violet B-dependent). Harken back to the days when the Cro-Magnons battled the Neanderthals, the former better-suited for the frosty ice ages than the later (they had sense enough to turn animal skins into clothes, except for Raquel Welch, of course). Another sign of our prehistoric adaptability. And now, the Flakers (homo sapiens UVBD) will battle the Smooth Skins (homo sapiens) for dominance upon the surface of an ozone-depleted planet. Sagas will be written about our triumph and you, Mr. Wilkinson, will be the Nostradamus to the new era.

I can pre-write the history now.... "The man called Wilkinson lived in the cold north like a spy, using the long chilly seasons up there, the necessity to overdress, to hide among the Smooth Skins. But he was one of us, and among them, he alone knew what was coming, how we would grow strong, how one day soon the opaque mantle of ozone, beneath which the weaker thrived, would be destroyed by their own misdeeds, and then our time would come.

"At the end of the Smooth Skins' era, Wilkinson stood alone on the beach, unprotected from the relentless sun, and while the Smooth Skins around him huddled beneath their umbrellas, broad-brimmed hats, or peered fearfully through the chinks in their dark-shaded dwellings, he raised his mottled face and ceremoniously removed his hooded jacket, three layers of shirts, his pants, his boots and four pairs of socks, and stood tall and proud in his brazen flakiness. All knew that his time had come. All knew that OUR time had come, that the Centuries of Shame were ended, and that the word Flake would from thence forward be capitalized.

"Then, one by one, more Flakers came and assembled with him on the beach, shedding their clothes, uninhibited and unphased by the unfiltered sun; and the Smooth Skins cowered in their dark places and murmured in their fear.

"‘Make him speak,' one of the admiring Flakers on the beach whispered, and the growing mass of Flaky people took up the sentiment, turning it into a chant. 'Speak!' ‘Speak!' 'Speak!' Until finally Wilkinson was compelled to comply. They lifted him upon their shoulders and cheered, laughed, bellowed with joy, until he raised his arms to quiet them. All eyes were upon him and silence befell the crowd. He cast his eyes over his kind—the pioneers of our new era—and finally opened his mouth to speak. The crowd inhaled as one and then held its breath. 'Who brought the beer?' Wilkinson asked. And all were instantly humbled by the severity of their oversight." -Ed

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