Founded 1996

 

*****

How to
Become a Patron of 
The PsorGourmet

Write an episode yourself! It's that easy. Still perplexed? Here's the 1-2-3...

1. You know what it's like to be a patron of the Psorgourmet after you've read one or a few episodes.

2. Now imagine yourself coming there.  What kind of crazy, touching, zany, absurd things might happen in such an establishment? Remember, almost everyone there is a flaker, so what is there to be stigmatized about? Embarrassed about? Ashamed of? Nada. Not a thing! What would you like to say to your colleagues, new or old? What stories have you to tell?

3. Write it down. email it to Ed Dewke.

 

 

@ the psorgourmet

(installments listed in reverse chronological order, latest on top)

1-3 Halloween Party!
Sunday, November 1, 2009

Not surprisingly, lots of flakers like to party hearty on Halloween. It only makes sense: we spend a lot of every year super-conscious of our flawed skin, doing our utmost to make it invisible (or at least inconspicuous), then comes that one day of the year where weirdness is celebrated, monsters make merry. When the prospects of a Halloween party were first discussed at the Psorgourmet several years back, Treat's concern, which has been oft repeated in countless contexts ever since, was voiced like this: "I'm not licensed for nudie shows! Wouldn't the prevalent costume be come as you are and show all?" Turned out that wasn't a problem at all. Perhaps we have seen a few more lesions than usual at our Halloween parties, but most attendees do create costumes, many intended to poke fun at how we treat our psoriasis.

Some examples:

  • Chloe and Frasier created hilarious and impressive body-sized tubes of favorite topicals, then wore them. Their heads stuck out of the screw-top opening, their arms and feet emerged from tight holes in the giant squeeze tube. Chloe came as Diprolene™, Frasier as Dovonex™. When I asked them if they knew the combination of the two was now sold as Dovobet they smiled knowingly and Frasier said, "We become Dovobet behind closed doors."
  • Dawn showed up wearing a light closet! It wasn't really, but it sure looked authentic if not a little short. Plenty of fellows tried to help her out of it and she resisted their offers very patiently, I thought.
  • Around his exposed midriff, Carter wore a skin-colored belt from which jutted a year's worth of Humira syringes. I couldn't believe he'd saved them for this. Eventually he confessed he hadn't; he had to tear apart his Sharps disposal container to retrieve them.
  • Jason (who fortunately had the physique to actually make this look good) showed up in a leotard covered with what looked like chocolate pudding. Amazingly, the apparent goo was hardened. The younger flakers couldn't guess what Jason was punning; those of us over 40 had no problem — a tar bather! A lot of us watched jealously while unknowing and unoriginal young ladies at the party teased Jason all night with lines like, "Mmmm. I might just take a bite out of you." If only they knew!
  • Predictably, Treat's daughter Patty showed up wearing a sandwich sign over a bathing suit. The front of the sign had a poster-sized picture of her a few months ago when her arms, legs, neck and face were mottled with lesions, and on the back was an equally large poster of SpeedyRelief! When I congratulated her on her entrepreneurial opportunism, she reached between the boards of the sandwich sign and retrieved a brochure  (from where, exactly?) that she gave me.
  • And then there was poor Treat. He actually made an attempt at being "costumed." He wore his Delasco Sleep Sauna occlusion suit and everybody thought he was wearing sweats. Countless times I heard "Where's your costume, Treat?" and he would always take the time to explain he was wearing an outfit designed to occlude topical treatments widespread over the body and limbs. Chances are, Treat sold a lot more Delasco occlusion suits than Patty sold jars of SpeedyRelief.

Eventually it came time for the Karaoke contest, but a second after Treat turned off the canned restaurant music I asked for a minute at the microphone....

"Fellow flakers," I started, "Our illustrious poet laureate — Sherry Sheehan  — is unable to join us here on this Hallowed Eve, but she provided a few lines to commemorate the occasion and I'd like to share them with you..

SOURGUM...

...scientifically known as Nyssa sylvatica,
according to a look at Wikipedia,
is a deciduous tree, meaning it sheds
its leaves, once they've turned various reds

like psoriatic spots, making Ed’s
fictitious restaurant, 'The Psorgourmet,'
a sourgum-kindred place
for us pink peelers to grace.

Perhaps ‘The Psorgourmet’ will provide
us some sour gum sticks on the side,
once we have eaten what is yummy,
and for kids, maybe, a sour gummy.

On Halloween, what I have seen
only on a movie or TV screen,
fluorescent green sour gore may
be the yuckiest joke of the day.

Thank you Sherry!"


1-2 Who's Afraid of Nightshades?
Monday, October 26, 2009

I've taken my lunch at The Psorgourmet for so many years that some regulars think I'm staff. I've been asked to fetch drinks, return undercooked steaks, and had not-so-clean silverware jabbed at me contemptuously. But all this has been worth it; it comes with sitting at Treat's table, which is halfway between the bar and the kitchen along the back wall of the restaurant.

Sometimes Treat will have lunch with me, but most of the time I eat alone because Treat is up and down, tending to the lunch crowd and his staff. Today, though, was different. Treat was deep in thought when I arrived, showed me an upset face as I sat down, grumbled, coughed and finally let it out.

"I'm under attack, Edward."

"How so?"

"A group of our customers is lobbying to take nightshades out of our menu."

"Nightshades?"

"Yes. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers ... and several spices."

"Your unhappy customers must be Pagano-ists."

"Dr. Pagano's list of what not to eat may have been the first that mentioned nightshades, but since then it's come up in several other diets." Treat sniffed then took a deep breath. "I should not be surprised. Over the past year or so the number of inquiries about tomato in our entrees has increased and many more folks are asking for brown rice instead of potato. Changing times, Ed! But still, how am I to cook without any tomato bases ... without paprika or chili pepper? Eggplant is a favorite with the vegans. That would have to come off, too!"

"Surely there's a way to compromise," I said.

Treat looked at me and sniffed. "How?"

"Create a section in your menu just for people avoiding nightshades. Call it 'Sans Nightshades,' or 'Pagano Approved,' or ... something else."

"That sounds like a good idea, Ed; but do you think the lobbying will stop there? I mean, Pagano's no-no list includes virtually all red meat."

I could feel the blood draining from my face. "That would be taking it too far," I said. "No Psorgourmet blackened rib eye? Unthinkable!"

Treat grinned maliciously. "Blackened? Oh Ed, you poor desperado. Even if the steaks were permitted the blackening would be out. Peppers and other nightshade spices are in that blackening."

I sat silently dumbfounded as Treat's daughter, Patty, emerged from the kitchen and spotted us in our usual place. She sauntered over.

"And what would our compadre Edward like for lunch today?"

"He wants our new and improved rib eye," Treat said.

Patty frowned, "Hmmm. Just what is our new and improved rib eye, Dad?"

"Tofu patty, baked, with our exciting new curry sauce."

"What?"

"It's coming on our new menu," Treat said, "For those afraid of nightshades."

I interjected, "If the cook's not prepared, Patty, please change that to a blackened rib eye, cooked medium."

Patty headed for the kitchen. "We're making light of it, Ed," but these folk are serious. "The ones clamoring loudest for the menu changes have much improved skin from their nightshades-free diet, and it's difficult to argue with success."

At that moment a middle-aged woman approached Treat. "Excuse me," she said. "I couldn't help but notice the bar...."

I could not hear more. It was altogether too frightening. My turn to be excused. I exited the restaurant through the alley access and stood there, hands in pockets, with a couple of the waiters enjoying their cigarettes on a break. (Nicotine, by the way, is a natural product of tobacco, which happens to be a nightshade plant.)


1-1 A New OTC "Cure" Finds a Devotee Among Us
Friday, October 23, 2009

I thought, while I was headed for The Psorgourmet this morning, the sidewalk section would be closed for the season. This sad occasion usually coincides with my turning climate control from "air conditioning" to "furnace" at home, which I had done, for the first time this fall, last night.

But I was mistaken. My friend Treat was at his usual table in front of The Psorgourmet with his mini-laptop and well-worn spiral notebook. The only difference from last week: today he wore a long-sleeve sweater. Three more people—a couple and a man alone—occupied two more tables.

Treat saw me approaching his table. "Edward! Good morning to you."

"I thought you'd have the outdoor tables and chairs all put away for winter," I said.

"No no. It must get colder than this. Ms. Tammy—you know her, I'm sure—told me a long time ago that seeing us close the sidewalk cafe for the winter triggered her worst flare of the year."

"Ah." I know Ms. Tammy pretty well. "By worst flare of the year you mean she grew a second lesion?"

Treat looked at me with raised eyebrows, "Yes. But it was on the other elbow. She was devastated." When I started to chuckle, Treat added, "Don't laugh at Ms. Tammy, Edward."

I said, "methinks she doth protest too much."

Treat shrugged and gazed out at the street, "Perhaps, but who are we to judge?" He looked back at me, "Especially you, Edward. You are still lesion-free, aren't you? I shouldn’t let you frequent The Psorgourmet. You haven't really qualified to enjoy the place for, what, three years now?"

I raised my right foot and put it on the chair closest to Treat, then I pulled up my pant leg exposing my calf and the three-inch by three-inch lesion that had nested there, inflamed, covered with an ash-colored scale except where I'd raked it off with fingernails. The trails from scratching were dotted with little spots of dried blood.

"All right, Edward," Treat said after a brief study of the exhibit. "Is the biologic starting not to work? I hear that happens a lot."

"No, this lesion has never responded to biologics. Not one of the three I've used has subdued this one. And it is the ONLY one that has resisted the biologics."

"Stubborn."

"I think it's my brand. You know? Like cattle are branded? Something tangible has to linger to make me remember I am a psoriatic."

"And I see you cannot practice what you preach. You've been scratching your one and only lesion. Scratching until it bleeds."

I shrugged. "Yes. And, like always, piles of flakes build up everywhere I sit and scratch."

Treat's daughter, Patty, emerged from the restaurant and, spotted me showing her father my calf. "Well Edward!"

Treat said, "Sit down, Edward, or she'll think you're courting her."

By the time she arrived I was seated. "What are you noticing about me, you two?" she asked and we got a clue when she spun around like a fashion model.

"New Capri pants?" Treat asked. She grimaced.

"New deck shoes?" I asked. She pouted.

"No, sillies. My skin. Look at my skin." We looked. She had clusters of plaque lesions on her wrists, forearms and upper arms, on her calves (beneath the Capri legs) and her ankles.

I made a guess. "You're not flaking so bad. Your lesions are salmon colored, not crimson. You’re in remission."

She clapped and chirped, "That's right. They’re capsules called SpeedyRelief. All natural ingredients. I've been taking them for a little over a month and LOOK! Already!" She pulled up one leg of her Capris to show a once-hideous lesion and the lower half of a shapely thigh. I glanced at Treat, who was frowning.

“I haven’t been this clear since they took away SkinCap,” Patty said, dropping her pant leg. Treat exhaled audibly. “All my lesions are in remission. I can’t wait to tell everybody about this. I want everyone to try SpeedyRelief. It’s a CURE!”

“I’m glad it works for you,” I said. “I’ve not been able to get good results from any non-prescription orals.”

She looked at me like a stalker might and I’m sure I blushed. “This is different, Edward. You really must try it. Three months, ninety-nine dollars. The cheapest and the ONLY cure you’ll ever need.”

Was she quoting directly from an advertisement? I’m sure. “I don’t have any active lesions right now,” I said. “My biologic drug has cleared me completely.” I felt Treat staring at my ear; but I figured he would not object to my lie. Patty sucked in her lips and scowled. “Oh gawd Edward. What does THAT cost you? Over a thousand dollars a month, right? Everybody around here complains about the cost of the biologics. Well, compare that to ninety-nine dollars for a three month supply of SpeedyRelief. And NO SIDE EFFECTS! Did I mention that? No risk of infections, cancer. No sexual dysfunction, either."

Treat and I looked at each other, helpless.

"How could you NOT try, Edward?” Patty asked and I didn't know whether to blush or giggle, so I did neither.

"Yes Edward," Treat chimed in, "how could you NOT try?"

Seconds past and I could think of nothing to say. Taking pity on me, Treat cleared his throat and said, “Patty, have you wrapped enough silverware for that crowd of flakers I expect to arrive any minute now?”

She wasn’t fazed. Her eyes never left me. “Well? How could you not try it, Edward?”

“Well,” I said, glancing away from her, “my co-pay for the biologic is thirty dollars a month. That makes it ninety dollars in three months. Still cheaper than SpeedyRelief, and I’m walking around lesion free for the time being. Maybe if the biologic stops working—“

Treat cut me off. “Your passion is admirable, daughter. But it won’t wrap that silverware.”

She jerked her gaze away from me to her father. She sighed. Back at me: “We’ll talk about this later, Edward.” Her father and I watched her walk away. She will make one helluva sales rep for some snake oil company one day. We watched Patty stroll by the other guests but, to our relief, she did not stop to pitch SpeedyRelief to them.

I looked at Treat, “You're expecting a crowd of flakers this far before lunch?”

He looked at me, “And you became lesion-free inside the last three minutes?” and shook his head.

I asked, “Why do women we know so well compel us to lie so easily?”

Treat responded: “It amuses them. Don't think for a moment we get away with it.”

Treat saw someone over my shoulder and smiled broadly. I became aware of the cacophony of voices and turned to see many familiar faces. It was a crowd of flakers about to arrive.

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