November, '99 | Briefing | Mail | Don't Say This | Articles | Other Places | Archives | Send Mail | Ed Dewke | Legal Stuff

Aren't You In Hiding, Ed?
from Mary I.

Dear Ed: I just found your site today while exploring the Hall of Pshame [see Other Places]. I was researching whether or not to purchase Blue Cap Spray (thank God for those who warn others desperate to try anything that may work). I know that after 30 years of this, I wish there were a miracle (I have atopic dermatitis).

I read that you have P and are diabetic, and work in media. I was wondering if you felt it was easier to work behind the scenes than to work face to face with others with your psoriasis? I am of course assuming that you work in semi-seclusion and get to choose when you feel like having someone say something you don't want to hear. (I couldn't even read through the "Don't Say This" section without wanting to burst into tears. I hate the things others say. My family says I am just overly sensitive). The only reason I ask about your situation is that I am starting a business that requires me to sell advertising, and I am sort of dreading going out to sell with my skin condition. Just thought I would talk to someone who knows sort of what it's like to have this.

Thanks for your time. -Mary I.


Ed's Response: Okay. I apologize for the overly-dramatic headline on your letter. But I'm glad you asked the question, Mary. Depending on how you look at it, I could be thought of as "in hiding."

I moved away from big cities and started working by myself in 1989 (consulting, then telecommuting). Late in ‘89 my first P symptoms appeared (scalp), but I wasn't diagnosed a flaker for another year. This makes it sound like my voluntary "seclusion" may have triggered my P and I don't think that's the case (I talk at length about what I think triggered my P in my book. That aside, the fact remains that so long as I have been a flaker I have NOT been in a position to face colleagues or the public every working day for eight or more hours. And, yes, this is a relief during those times my P is flaming.

On the other hand, since 90% of the media I create is for other people, and since they are paying me to create it, if they want to see me I'm compelled to oblige. I've got to show up whether I'm flaking or not. And since none of these people see me every day, any occasion to meet when my P is raging is a shocker. No one has enough time in my company to get used to it. So I'm hiding but not completely invisible (or invincible), but you have probably put your finger on the reason why the "Don't Say This" page is written by you all, not me.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for your new business, Mary. You are showing a courage that belies your "over-sensitivity." I find it most admirable for a person to be sensitive to cruelty but courageous in not avoiding its potential. I think you will find that in your professional associations the potential for people to treat you cruelly is rarely realized. You will more frequently feel sorry for your associates' ineptitude at dealing with your atopic dermatitis, and you will learn techniques to help them feel at ease. (My own proclivity is to tease people, especially strangers. Re: Intrigue at 30,000 Feet. You might consider this "reverse cruelty for the sake of grins.")

I hope you will stay in touch, Mary, as you proceed with your new venture. We would be interested in reports on how it goes. And speaking personally, I need these doses of reality while in the sanctuary of my Kentucky Cloister <grin | wink>. -Ed

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