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***** 
 
 

don't say this

Hurtful Words

 

 

 

  • [Mother to adopted daughter who has P:] "Well, you didn't get that from me." -SL

  • [Mother to adult daughter with P, over the course of a long weekend visit:] "Why is your face so red? You should ask the dermatologist about that. [Daughter:] I did. He said it's because of my psoriasis. [Mother:] Your face is really red. I'm concerned about how red your face is. You know, Mrs. So-and-so's face is red and she has rosacea. When you go to the doctor, ask if you have rosacea. I wonder why your face is so red...." -SL

  • [On a 100-degree day, wearing shorts to a family picnic, some non-related guest saw my legs and asked:] "Did you lose a fight with a black widow spider?"

  • [X-ray tech taking my mammogram, upon seeing my P:] "Is that AIDS?" [Me:] "No, it's psoriasis." [The tech still stopped what she was doing to go put on rubber gloves.] -Diane

  • [Sister to flaker-me:] "Honestly? Well, if I were a waitress I'd do my best to get out of waiting on you." -Diane

  • [Asian restaurant take-out cashier to me:] "Oh! What happened to your hands?" [I didn't respond out loud, but these words formed in my head:] LIFE happened. -Fred

  • [Co-worker after noticing the psoriasis on my arms while I was working at a computer:] "What is that?" "It's psoriasis, but don't worry, it's inherited in my case and it's never contagious." [Her retort:] "Oh Gosh! My mother-in-law has that! I hope my daughter isn't going to get it, she's SO BEAUTIFUL.." -Andrea D.

  • [Boss who knew I had P on my feet, to Flaker Me:] Have you tried wearing clean socks? -Tamara B.

  • [Flaker Me to a Coalition of Co-workers concerned that my hand P would make paperwork we all touched "contagious." My response to their allegation:] Well, we could get my fiancÚ to come up here and drop his pants. -Tamara B.

  • [Biker to Flaker:]  Do you have road rash? -Kay M.

  • [My husband to me:] My sweet crumble cake! -Ursula

  • [On a holiday everybody else is leaving the pool when I enter it. Me to myself:] Mm, luxury: loads of space… -Ursula

  • [A Christian pastor to me:] Look on the bright side: now you can always leave traces of you on God’s lap! -Ursula

  • [A friend to me:] Cool, you’ve got the map of Sicily on your arm! -Ursula

  • [GP to Med student examining me:] See, that’s psoriasis. It doesn’t hurt at all.-Ursula

  • [Stranger male to me, female and in a bikini on the beach:] Wow! That’s an old shark bite in the middle of your back! [He’d spied the remnants of an old psoriasis lesion that had been given too many cortisone shots years ago. Had he not been such a shark himself, I may have taken the time to respond.] –Dorcas B.

  • [Noticed the old friend whom I was helping with her knitting was getting increasingly uncomfortable. I finally realized she was staring at my disfigured psoriatic nails and lesion-covered hands. Me:] It’s not contagious. [My friend sighed:] Okay then. [I Wonder what she would have done with her knitting piece had I never cleared that up?] –Dorcas

  • [Random man to me, a woman, at a picnic:]  I see you have lime disease. I’ve had it, too. A red ring just like the one on your leg. See a doctor as soon as you can. –Heather H.

  • [Nurses aid to me AFTER I informed her I was a 10 year veteran of psoriasis:] Well, you should use lotion. Every day. –Heather H.

  • [Kids saw me smoking outside a store one day. I was sleeveless and my forearms had lesions on them. Kids:] Mister? Can we have a cigarette? [Me:] No. You’re too young and they’re very addicting.  [Kids, smugly, pointing to my forearms:] You would know about addictions, wouldn’t you. –Nico

  • [Sister-in-law to me and a friend who, like me, also has P:] I don’t understand why you guys aren’t taking anti-inflammatory herbs. Psoriasis is JUST inflammation of the skin.  [Same Sister-in-law a little later:] And you should eat blueberries, they will help. –Jack D.

  • [When I was a young girl and shy and riding alone on a train, a man who sat across from me and noticed, without saying anything, my psoriasis, passed me this note when he got up to leave:] I think you have scabies. You should see a doctor. –Irene G. 

  • [Derm to 15 year old girl:] There's no cure.  But we could always cut it off! [Then, with a flourish, the derm pulls a fake axe out from behind his deck] -Amy H. 

  • [Stranger to Flaker, middle of winter in Michigan:]  Have you been rolling around in Poison Ivy? [Flaker's retort:] Yeah, the other day when I went for a swim in the lake! -Alisha

  • Am I white with red spots, or red with white spots? -Lisa W.

  • [Fellow sixth-grader to flaker me:] No one is going to marry you looking like that. -Alicia W.

  • [Fellow teenagers admiring my light therapy "tan":] Have you been away to an island? -Alicia W.

  • [A co-worker when I dared to wear 3/4-length sleeves because my arms were so clear:] Wow! You've got a really bad sunburn. -Alicia W.

  • [Anesthesiologist just before my emergency C-section:] Is, uh, any of this contagious? -Alicia W.

  • [My X to me, prior to our divorce:] God must be punishing me with you and all your medical problems -Alicia W.

  • [Co-worker to me] What is that on your arm?  Have you been scratching your bug bites? -Krishna B.

  • [Flaker father to recently diagnosed daughter:] At least now someone will know what it feels like. -Cheryl H.

  • [Stranger to me on the beach made after spying my visible lesions:]  Well, are we still alive? -Merlijn (Holland)

  • [Fellow 10-year-old classmate of mine way-back-when:] Lice girl! Lice girl! Lice girl! -Jessica S.

  • [Fellow high school classmate of mine:] Oh, that's a disease?  I thought you were burning yourself. -Jessica S.

  • [Fellow high school classmate of mine:] Hey Jess, it looks like you've got some herpes on your chin there! -Jessica S.

  • [After completing all the enlistment paperwork, killing weeks waiting for a start date, recruiter says to me:]  You've got what? We can't waive that.  I'm afraid I can't let you join. -Jessica S.

  • [Mother-in-law whose daughter cured her dandruff by shampooing in lukewarm water says to me:]  You shouldn't wash your hair in hot water. -Anonymous

  • [Psoriatic eating breakfast:]  If you are what you eat, I should stop eating oatmeal. -Jasmina

  • [Coming out of the bathroom with a dab of Noxema on my ear, two friends say:] "What's that white stuff on your ear?" The other, "Oh she's always got white stuff on her ears." -Ginger

  • [Another Mother at the Playground to me:]  I watched A Current Affair last night and that's exactly what an Ice addict's skin looks like.

  • [My 8 year old daughter to me:]  Mommy, don't get rid of it.  You have little hearts all over your body! -Vanessa M.

  • [Husband to me:]  You are interesting to touch.  Your skin is smooth, then textured. -Vanessa M.

  • [Grandmother to me as a P-kid:]  If you don't stop scratching people will think you have lice. -Vanessa M.

  • [Husband's co-worker:]  Tell your wife she will get lymphoma from that Enbrel.  They always do.  -DC

  • [Orthopedic surgeon:]  Your P-arthritis is too bad in that knee.  Only a complete knee replacement will help.  Meanwhile, do you want a cortisone shot? -DC

  • [Derm Dr. to my flaker father in the 1950s:]  I want you to go into the shower with a nail brush and scrub these lesions away. -Annmarie B.

  • [Loving husband to flaker wife:]  Don't fret darling!  Consider it your glitter! -Annmarie B.

  • [Hospital volunteer to me while I was an inpatient with massive P flare and consequent infection:]  Oh how lucky you are!  People pay thousands to get their skin peeled and yours does it for free! -Lena

  • [Dr. to 14 year old flaker with lesions in hair, on face and elsewhere:]  Let's scrape your scalp for ringworm. -MsSweet

  • [Aunt to 25 year old niece with P-arthritis:]  You're too young to have arthritis! -MsSweet

  • [Derm to flaker-me:]  So you're going to get married?  Just get pregnant; that'll cure you for sure! -Mona

  • [5th Grader to flaker-teacher-me:]  Oh!  You've got popcorn in your hair! -Mona

  • [My boyfriend to flaker-me:]  Do you mind if I smell your shampoo?  I'm sick and need to throw up.  That should do the trick. -Katharine O.

  • [Pastor to flaker-male member of congregation:]  Boy, I really feel sorry for your wife.  She must have a hard time in the bedroom. -Dean

  • [Stepmom to young flaker-son:]  I think if you washed behind your ears better it would just go away. -Dean

  • [Pest control guy to me in front of co-workers at office:]  I think you're drawing the ants because of all this white stuff around your desk.  Maybe you shouldn't eat at your desk anymore. -Dean

  • "Here, let me help.  You have cracker crumbs in your hair!" -Caryn

  • [Son to flaker-mom:]  Mom! You look like you're morphing into something else! -Stephanie H.

  • [Family Practice Dr. when my P first erupted:]  Gosh!  I've never seen anything like this before! -Samantha

  • [Manicurist to me:]  Oh look at all the ridges on your nails.  Maybe you shouldn't wear acrylics so often! -Samantha

  • [Family Dr to 17-year old patient:]  Psoriasis?  That's nothing to worry about.  My wife just had a hysterectomy! -Anon

  • [After my episiotomy during delivery of my baby, the cut Koebnerized and became a lesion.  Months later, return visit to gynecologist, who lifts sheet, jumps back and shrieks:]  Good God what's that? -Anon

  • [Mother-in-law comments on her son (my husband's) psoriasis:]  It's like living with a snail. You leave a trail behind you!  -Nikki G. 

  • [Hairdresser:]  You know what you should do that will sort that out?  [Me:]  No, what?  [Hairdresser:] Wash your hair with baby shampoo and then rub in some olive oil.  It'll clear up in no time! -Ben

  • [Daughter:] What's that?  [Me:] Psoriasis.  [Daughter:] Sore arses?  [Me, in presence of wife:]  Yeah, that too! -Ben

  • [Husband to flaker-wife (me):] I don't mind helping with the chores, but don't expect me to dust.  [Me:] Why not?  [Husband:] Because you cause most of it. -Janette L.

  • [Eight year old neice watching me change:]  Auntie Janette, what's wrong with your legs?  [Me:]  It's my genes, Katie.  [Neice:]  Then why don't you wear a different pair? -Janette L.

  • [Female nurse looking over male-me on my 3rd week of Goeckerman regimen:] MMMM, MMMM, MMMM.  Aren't you looking Goooooooood! -Ed S.

  • [Mum to me while I'm hospitalized for intensive phototherapy:]  Oh look at your lovely tan!  I wish I could have a course like this! -Claire

  • [Friend to me:]  In your case, psoriasis is psexy! -J/K

  • [Husband to flaker-wife when she announces they'll be without the kids tonight:]  Ok honey, but don't expect me to hug you or anything.  You gross me out. -Cheryl C.

  • [Day after someone in the office notices her bleeding arm lesion, this announcement is made:] There will be a mandatory safety meeting on the hazards of "blood-borne pathogens." -Guinn B.

  • [Aunts advice about P in her nethers:]  You need only wear cotton underwear.  It's the heat that's causing it. [She thinks to herself:] What about my elbows, then? -JG

  • [Ex-husband to me:]  You're from Louisiana.  There's a lot of inbreeding there.  Maybe that explains your psoriasis and your brother's autism.  -Amy K.

  • [Stranger to me:]  Oh!  If I had that I'd never leave the house! -Shanna

  • [P-free sister says to me:]  God gave it to you because you're the prettiest. -Shanna

  • [My husband to me:]  Honey, would you mind scratching yourself in only one part of the house?  Or maybe outside? -Shanna

  • [Family physician says to me on first visit:]  This is called psoriasis.  It can be caused by using birth control. -Shanna

  • [Customer to me while I ring up his bag of chips:]  Are you sure you should be touching my bag of chips like that?  Are you contagious?  [Customer next in line chimes in to first customer:]  Are you sure he should touch your money?  He might catch Stupidity from you. [Me to self:]  Yeah! -Dave P.

  • [Derm to Flaker in the middle of a very cold Winter:]  You need to get some sun.  Why don't you put on a skimpy bathing suit and sit out in your yard on the weekend? -Kristin S.

  • [Elementary school teacher to elementary school student with severe psoriasis - and in front of the whole class:]  Do you frost your ears?  I frost my hair and it looks just like your ears! -Charles C.

  • [Nurse at derm's office:] Gawd, that must itch!  [Me:] Constantly.  [Nurse:]  Have you tried putting anything on it? -Kristal B.

  • [New derm to naked me at a UVB treatment:]  Hmmm.  Interesting.  Can I bring my intern in to take a look? -Abbi S.

  • [Aunt to Adult Niece with P:]  You've got that because you're depressed.  You may even have bipolar.  If you get the right antidepressants that will all go away. -Cathy L.  

  • [Co-worker noticing lesions on my knuckles:]  What's got you so upset you're beating up walls? -Glenn Q

  • [Boss to flaker with pustules on his hands:]  Um, can you get a note from your doctor that says those aren't contagious? -Lin D.

  • [Flaker picking skin off feet in front of husband:]  Are you sure this doesn't bother you?  [Husband:] No, baby.  I used to cut my corns in front of people all the time. -Lin D.

  • [Preacher with hypoglycemia and arthritis to flaker who's taking up smoking, again:]  You know, sin brings affliction. -Lin D.

  • [Co-workers at "pitch-in" about flaker with pustules on hands:]  What dish did she bring? -Lin D.

  • [Mother to daughter, who's picking at a lesion:]  Don't touch it and it will go away.  -Marisa Z.

  • [Derm to flaker-patient:]  You have eczema.  Use this steroidal cream for 2 months and it will clear up.  [Same derm, 2 months later:]  Well, I guess you have psoriasis.  My advice?  You need to just chill out." -Kevin A.

  • [Aunt to me the first time I wore shorts outside in 5 years:]  Hope to see you and your, ah, Psoriasis next Easter!"  -Michealalan

  • [Mom to pale-skinned daughter about facial P:]  But you look so much healthier now!  You have that rosy-cheeked glow! -Juliann

  • [Flaker girl overheard this from other girls at school:] That girl has herpes on her elbows. -Brittany B.

  • [Boss after seeing emailed photo of my legs:] OH MY GOD!  That's absolutely awful!  Is it always that bad?  Does it hurt?  I had no idea! [Email from Boss later that same day:] I showed the Director of the Department your photo.  We agreed you should take off as much time as you need.  -Karen A.

  • [Co-worker:]  What causes psoriasis?  [Me:]  Unknown, but stress triggers it.  [Co-worker:] Time to find a new line of work, honey.  -Karen A.

  • [Co-worker seeing my rarely exposed arm:] Wow, you really ARE stressed out.  -Karen A.

  • [Me to Friend at Christmas time:] I use the red and green Saran Wrap to get me in the holiday spirit. -Karen A.

  • [Teenage Son to Flaker Mom after he discovers a little lesion on himself:]  How come I inherit all your BAD things? -Karen A.

  • [Ex husband calling to make amends:] Well, I DID put up with your psoriasis for all of those years! -Lorna C.

  • [Chinese shopkeeper to American flaker:] Wow!  America is so developed, yet you cannot find a cure there! [American flaker to himself:] Your medicine in China has a 2000 year headstart.  Where's YOUR cure for psoriasis? -Jada R.

  • [Derm to flaker in 1998:] In five years we'll have a cure.  [Same derm to same flaker in late 2003:]  In five years we'll have a cure. -David G.

  • [Mom to adult daughter who has scalp P:]  You never had anything like that when you were little.  I took very good care of you. -Barb T.

  • [Co-worker at construction site upon seeing my arm:]  LOOK OUT!  He got that LUMBAYGO!!! -Dustin P.

  • [Fellow 4th grader on school bus:] What is all this white crap? -Dustin P.

  • [Me to female flaker while making out:] I think I got a piece of you in my eye. -Dustin P.

  • [Me to a non-flaker girlfriend:]  I've got a marker.  Wanna get naked and play connect-the-dots?  -Dustin P.

  • [Friend to my girlfriend about our possible offspring:]  You and Dustin will have beautiful children.  Tall with nice butts.  And really dry skin.... -Dustin P.

  • [Friend just before my band went on stage:]  No no no.  You look just fine.  You ARE gonna wear long sleeves and a hat.  Right? -Dustin P.

  • [Fellow musician on day I wore short sleeves to choir practice:]  Have you been biting yourself? -Adam B.

  • [Dad to flaker daughter:] You're not taking the vitamins I gave you, are you. -VM

  • [Dad to Mom about flaker daughter:]  Fran!  Look what she's doing to herself! -VM

  • [Dad to Mom AND flaker daughter:] Mother, get the Vicks Vapor Rub.  [To daughter:] You're going to have to eat it. -VM

  • [Dermatologist to flaker on his first visit:]  Psoriasis never starts in your twenties.  You probably have AIDS. -Richard W.

  • [Dermatologist to me after 1+ years of not-too-successful treatment:]  Well, hey!, it's not like you have cancer! -Eugene C.

  • [Baking class group to Flaker:] Maybe you should just take it easy.  We can cook, you can do dishes. It's no problem if you flake then.  You can just do the dishes again. -Kitty

  • [Cashier after 40 minute wait in line:]  What is-s-s-s that?   [Me:]  Leprosy.  But don't worry.  I'm being treated.  [I was checked out in under two minutes.] -Kathleen S.

  • [Mom to me during an all-too-brief remission:]  Thank God it's finally gone.  It always looked SO-O-O horrible. -Denise M.

  • [Doctor to me:]  Just stop scratching and it will go away. -Lee Ann

  • [Grandmother to granddaughter with scalp P:]  If you'd just cut off that long hair so air could get to it, it would clear right up. -Betty

  • [Just diagnosed daughter to Mom who has P:]  If you knew this was inheritable, why did you have kids?  -Kevin P.

  • [Youngest of four kids to parent with P:]  So, if the odds are 50/50, does that mean two of us will get it? -Scott T.

  • [Dermatologist upon my first visit:]  Wow.  You have psoriasis in all your fingernail beds.  Can I take pictures? -Kay M.

  • "What is that?"  "Psoriasis."  "Sore asses?"  "Well, that too."  -LJ

  • [Psoriatic woman after watching news from Afghanistan:]  Hmmmm.  I wonder where I could get a burka? -Margaret

  • [Four year old son at a breakfast meeting with new acquaintances:]  Mom?  Why is there a jar of your psoriasis on the table?  [It was a jar of oats.] -Caroline

  • [Me to my co-workers:]  I could make a better living, meet lots of interesting people, and travel extensively if I became a circus sideshow.  -JC

  • [Stranger at a gas station:]  Wow!  What's that all over your legs? [Me:] Psoriasis.  [Stranger:] Really?  I thought psoriasis affected the skin. [Me: speechless] -Mat L.

  • [Boyfriend to flaker girlfriend after a strep-induced flare:]  Is that going to happen to you every time you get sick? -Bren

  • [6 year old son to flaker mother:]  Don't worry, Mom.  I still love you even if you're not pretty anymore. -Bren

  • [Friend to flaker computer user:]  You should put the tower up high so your flakes don't get in it and gum-up the works. -Bren

  • [Said to flaker during job interview:]  Too bad you can't wear gloves and type at the same time.  That would make this job perfect for you! -Bren

  • [Mother to adult flaker daughter:]  You do shake out the sheets before you put them in the washer, don't you? -Bren

  • [Mother to divorced flaker daughter:]  It's hard enough to find a man when you already have children.  Now this.  This is going to make it really hard. -Bren

  • That dandruff looks bad.  You should shower and scrub all over with Denorex! -Jav E.

  • [Another person confused about the difference between "psoriasis" and "cirrhosis":]  At least it's not on your liver.  -Rob T.

  • Like how long are you going to have that anyway?  It can't be for life! -Susan

  • We need to take you to Saint Annes.  A lot of people have been healed there. -Susan

  • You're over-medicating.  That's probably the cause.  -Susan

  • [Child to Parent:]  This is just plain disgusting.  Cover it up! -Susan

  • [Child to Parent:] I hope this isn't hereditary. -Susan

  • Stop letting things bother you and this will go away.  -Susan

  • [Hairdresser:]  Rinsing your hair with Listerine should get rid of that really bad dandruff. -Kathleen

  • [Aunt:]  Please don't scratch your head when we get to this restaurant.  It's not McDonald's, you know.  We don't want to gross people out. -Kathleen

  • [Aunt after I'd been living with her for 5 months:]  Has the house seemed dustier over the last 5 months or so? -Kathleen

  • [Friend to me after my light treatment:]  It smells like a burnt wiener around here. -Chris

  • [Derm to me upon first visit:]  This condition is triggered by stress, smoking and drinking.  [Me to myself:]  Wow. That's pretty much my day.  -Chad

  • [Stranger:]  Did you know you are bleeding?  [My response:] Generally, yes.  Can you be more specific? -Chad

  • [Lady clutching rosary addressing me in a restaurant:] MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL AND MAY THE DEVIL BE BANISHED FROM YOU! -Crystal-Lynn

  • [Fellow employee:]  Did you burn the back of your legs? [I did not respond.  Same employee, some weeks later:]  I see the burns on your legs are healing nicely.  [Again, I did not respond.  Can't wait to hear what he'll say in another few weeks!] -Gene

  • [Uncle:]  Is that that sporadicus stuff? -Brandon

  • [Grandmother:]  Your grandfather used to just cut that stuff off him. -Brandon

  • [To friend after I've explained there's no cure:]  That sucks.  So, it's like AIDS, huh? -Brandon

  • [Derm wants me to get more sunlight.  I mention how difficult it is to get sun exposure on the backs of my elbows.  His retort:]  Have you tried walking east at sunset? -Jean

  • [Derm's response when I complain about my lesions itching:]  Nonsense!  Psoriasis doesn't itch! -Jean

  • [Stranger:]  Do you have fleas?  -U. (Germany)

  • [Friend seeing my back for the first time after we've been poolside for a few hours:] Oh!  You must have missed a spot on your back with the suntan lotion.  You're getting red blotches! -Bob S.

  • Aren't you tired of that?  I'd be trying EVERYTHING.  -Ami G.

  • [Priest to hospitalized flaker:]  Oh well, we all have our problems.  I get an itchy burn. -Mary A.

  • [Nurse to patient:] Damned guttate psoriasis.  Takes so long to apply treatment to.  It'd be a lot easier for us if you had ordinary plaque psoriasis.

  • [Plastic surgeon interviewing flaker for job as receptionist:]  We'd like to offer you this job but only if you're willing to wear long sleeves every day.  I'm in the business of making people look beautiful. -Anonymous

  • [Stranger stopping flaker in flea market:]  I know what will clear that up: Crab medicine.  -K.W.

  • [Flaker aunt to flaker neice:]  Pig Pen from the Charlie Brown comic strips should be our mascot. -K.W.

  • [Pediatrician to Nurse:]  You have impetigo, which is very contagious and you shouldn't be around newborns. [Nurse:] No, it's psoriasis and I've had it since 1984.  [Doctor:]  Are you sure? -Rob D.

  • [Protestant minister to flaker:]  You know, some people believe that disease and infirmity are caused by sin. -Rob D.

  • [Computer tech at office:]  What's this crap in your keyboard?  Don't eat biscuits over your keyboard!. -Jill L.

  • [Wife, caught by me wiping my flakes off a patio seat before she sits down:]  Well, dear ... I wouldn't want to sit on you!  -Paul D.

  • [Stranger at store, pointing to my legs:]  Tell me those aren't tattoos. -Amy

  • [Sister-in-law to me:]  Don't you EVER use moisturizer? -Amy

  • [Aunt during my first remission:]  For awhile there we really thought there was no hope for you. -Amy

  • [From my psychotherapist after 3 years of consultation:]  Go see a specialist. -Anon.

  • [Doctor to me, in my 12 year-old psoriatic daughter's presence:]  Allyson shouldn't have kids.  Psoriasis is genetic and it would be unkind to her children.  -Moma

  • Allyson should sit still in one place so her flakes don't get all over. -Moma

  • Allyson would be a really beautiful child, wouldn't she? -Moma 

  • [Friend's father to me:]  Let a dog lick that.  That'll clear it up. -Jessica J.

  • Does that rash you have need to be dried up? -Jessica J.

  • [Wife to me while running the dust buster over her side of the bed and assuming I'm waiting for the device to run over my side:]  What's the point, dear?  -Simon M.

  • [Wife to me while I'm undressing for bed:]  Looks like the bed mites are going to have a smorgasbord tonight. -Kevin

  • [Mother to Flaker-daughter:]  Well, at least you can cover your problem up and no one will notice. -LAB

  • [Sauna owner to Flaker:]  I can set it to boil and sterilize all that badness right out of you. -Craig G.

  • [Flaker's sister to a third party:]  She wears shorts and and a t-shirt so people will feel sorry for her. -Barbara K.

  • [Stranger:]  What's that on your face, poison ivy?  [Me:]  No, it's psoriasis.  [Stranger:]  Hm.  You should just tell people it's poison ivy. -Tom V.

  • [Husband to wife with itchy scalp-P:]  Should we get you one of those cones like dogs wear? -Linda

  • [Six year old tells his mother about flaker:]  Look, she's shedding like one of those snakes we saw at the zoo! -H.

  • [Social worker making in-home visit to invalid sister, says to me:]  Who's been hitting you? How'd you get those bruises? -Beverly K.

  • [Hairdresser to customer with scalp P:]  I have the same thing you do but I use baby shampoo and that keeps it away. -Ada D.

  • [Scalp P raging; at  party with blacklights, hostess says:]  Wow!  You  have the most glowing shoulders! -Sarah T.

  • [Boyfriend to me when I got up from dark sofa:]  "Uhmm.  There's so much of you here now!" -Johnny-from-Portugal

  • [Acquaintance:]  Is that poison ivy?  [Me:] PERMANENT poison ivy. -Jan R.

  • [Potential girlfriend to Flaker:]  I love the touch of a man with beautiful, soft, flawless skin. -Swoods

  • [Husband to wife after trying A&D ointment for the first time:] You smell like the baby's butt. -Sheryl M.

  • [Elderly lady to Flaker:] That's psoriasis?  You must be mistaken.  Several people in my building have psoriasis.  I've seen their skin.  It doesn't look like that! -Ria

  • [Fellow subway passenger upon seeing one of my P lesions ... in October, 2001:]  Have you had that checked for anthrax?  -Rob T.

  • [A derm said this to a Flaker patient:] My father had psoriasis.  I know exactly how it feels.  Psoriatics get self-pitying and lazy and they stop using their medications.  That's why they don't get well.  You need to work a lot harder at this. -Guinn B.

  • [Dental assistant to Flaker:]  Whew!  Are the mosquitoes biting that bad where you live? -Lisa

  • [One 4-year old to another 4-year old in the bathroom after a Flaker's bathed:]  Oh oh, someone's in trouble.  Who got crumbs all over the floor? -Kathy N.

  • [Sufferer to Non-Sufferer:]  I just wouldn't put up with that. -Alice

  • [My sister's conclusion after extensive on-line research:]  Your fingernails turn into talons, your skin grows scales, with PA you get hunched over and walk strange.  You're turning into reptiles.  It all adds up.  -Connie S.

  • Is that scabies? -Julie

  • My aunt has that, but you have it much worse. -Diane

  • You must be very nervous. -JL

  • [Two restaurant customers about me (a waiter) whom they were afraid would become theirs:]  Let's wait for another table.  That bloke has that disease those street people had in Kenya. -Gary J.

  • [Dr. to teenage flaker:] Have you been sitting on dirty toilet seats? -Clara V.

  • [Friend upon seeing me leave the shower after a game of squash:]  Quick, have you got a pencil? -Paul M.

  • [Said while rubbing suntan lotion on my back:]  Jesus Paul, It's like reading braille. -Paul M.

  • [Stranger to mother of P-kid:]  What have you done to that child?! -Laura B.

  • [Customer at the beginning of a contract negotiation:]  First, what the hell is wrong with your head? -Darrell H.

  • [Out-of-state relative upon seeing my nail P:]  Did you dig yourself out of a grave or something? -Darrell H.

  • [Friend's suggestion:] You should open a steak house restaurant and call it 'Steak and Flake.' -Darrell H.

  • [My wife's mantra while she applies topicals to my back:]  Go away go away go away.... -Darrell H.

  • [A classmate to my 7-year-old son:]  I thought Frosty melted when it got warm. -Laura B.

  • [Lady with eyes on stalks says:] Ooooooh! You must be SOOOO self-conscious! -PJ

  • [Said by chiropractor:]  Oh my god look!  You have a dirty rash!  [Reply:]  Oh really?  I didn't know. -Belleangie

  • [From flaking aunt to just-diagnosed nephew:]  You'll see that P is the only loyal friend you'll have.  It will NEVER leave you alone.  -Enzo C. - Italy

  • [Husband to wife:]  That tar lotion is really a husband repellant, isn't it? -Shelly

  • [Stranger at bar to PA sufferer with cane and leg brace, after I told him I had psoriatic arthritis:] Attic arthritis?  I'd be bloody sorry, too! -Michelle M.

  • You can ride in this car as long as you don't get flakes everywhere. -Anonymous

  • [After I cleared my husband said:]  Your back felt like dried oatmeal.  [I suppose it would have been worse if he'd said it before I cleared.] -Amy

  • [Girlfriend:]  You know, we'd save money if these tasted like cornflakes. -Anonymous

  • [From a co-bather in a community shower:]  Did one of these here farmers shoot you in the arse for trespassing? -Anonymous

  • [Mother, who never liked my boyfriend until we broke up:]  Maybe you better make up.  How many men would want to marry you in that condition? -JBL

  • [Don't say this when a near stranger explains to you s/he has P:]  Isn't it supposed to be something psychological? -Lars J.

  • [Second grade pregnant teacher to me about my flaker-daughter in her class:]  I won't be giving Stephanie any hugs this year because my doctor can't tell me for sure psoriasis isn't contagious.  -Lynda C.

  • [My sister to me in reference to my 3-year-old P-kid:]  She looks like she's been burned all over with cigarettes.  Be sure and keep her in her jacket if you take her out in public. -Lynda C.

  • [Son's 8 year-old friend:]  Hey!  You have spaghetti sauce on your back! -Sean C.

  • [My mother to me after my weekly visit:]  I never have to call you to find you.  I can just follow the trail.  -Anneke

  • [Friend studying my pile of flakes:]  Hmmm.  Do you think if we just added water we'd grow a clone of you? -Anonymous

  • [Common inquiry to an American flaker in Switzerland:]  But have you been to see a Swiss doctor? -Terry

  • [Someone's answer to the question "What causes it?":]  Old age. -Helen K.

  • [Derm:]  Sorry, honey.  You have a millionaire's disease! -Anonymous

  • [Colleague from therapeutic counselling:] Have you started self-harming with a cigar? -Bev

  • [Friend in reference to my corticosteroid scalp lotion:]  Gee you're so lucky to use this stuff. It makes your hair so soft and shiny! - Kirk V.

  • [Roommate in drug rehab:]  Honey, they ought to just set you out on the porch.  That [P!] would scare me away from stuff! -Anonymous

  • [Civil servant interviewing me, after studying my psoriasis for a moment:] Hmmm.  Well, you're in drug rehab.  I guess that explains this [my P!]. -Anonymous

  • [Overheard two women talking about my P in the launderette:] See her?  That's the side effect from date-rape drugs they don't tell you about! -Anonymous

  • [From woman in supermarket:]  Have you got measles? -Vicki P.

  • It's not as bad as I thought.  You just look like you've got bad zits. -Vicki P.

  • So, I guess a beach holiday is out this year? -Vicki P.

  • [From daughter:]  Mommy, what shall I tell my friends is wrong with you?  -Vicki P.

  • [Doctor to patient earning minimum wage:] Skin problems are often caused by diet. I'd suggest you try eating only organic foods. -Eve

  • [Friend referencing my boyfriend who has acne and eczema]:  I told you this would happen if you slept with Stewart! -Eve 

  • [Skin specialist to me:]  Did you ever think of joining a convent?  That way you could hide everything but your face. -Wendy R.

  • [Dad to Daughter:]  Think about shaving your head.   It would be much easier to treat this stuff. -Tania M.

  • [From Stranger:]  Aren't people like you required to stay on an island or live in a colony or something? -Mild in Montreal

  • [From husband:]  That alligator skin really turns me on.   -Dina S.

  • [From derm:] You have to be consistent if you want it to go away. -Dina S.

  • [From nurse at family Dr's office:] My sister had that and I thank God everyday it was her and not me.  Ughhhhh.  -Dina S.

  • [From x-boyfriend:]  You could never work under cover, leaving a trail the way you do.  -TaraLyn

  • Did someone dump a bowl of Frosted Flakes on your head?   -Sharon

  • Can that be burned off? -Sharon

  • Can that be cut off? -Sharon

  • [From Derm after 6th Prescription fails to work:]  Don't disappear from my office, I'm very interested in your case. -Philos

  • [Friend's young daughter saw my flaking hand and asked if I had a "boo-boo."  My friend answered her daughter:]  That is what happens when you don't take a bath every night. -Katie L.

  • [From co-worker:] How can you bear to be that itchy? If I am itchy, I scratch and scratch. I'd die if I had psoriasis. -Sally B.

  • Your derm has a license plate that reads SKNHLR. Why don't you get one that says SKNDZZ? -Dave

  • [From husband, who's acknowledge a million times my P is incurable:] You really need to get it cleared up. -Veronica L.

  • I bet battery acid would burn that s**t off! -Barbara K.

  • [From boyfriend, 1 month into relationship:] Your skin doesn't bother me at all, you're beautiful! [Same boyfriend, 6 months into relationship:] Gawd! Isn't there something you can do about this?! -Elle

  • [Girlfriend after hearing my reluctance to date, because of my P, someone we both knew:] I don't think he'd mind. I think there's something really wrong with him, too. -Elle

  • [From Derm(!):] The tar ointment is a really good contraceptive too, isn't it? -Danny

  • [Flaker-dad to complaining daughter:] But sweetheart, I like to leave a piece of me wherever I go. -Richard Z

  • [Derm to flaker:] If you are worried about your children inheriting this, don't have any. -K.K.

  • [GP to 16 year-old patient with P on elbows:] Do you rest your elbows on your desk at school a lot? -K.K.

  • [Husband to wife a few weeks after first visit to derm:] Well? I thought you were going to get rid of it! -K.K.

  • [Girl in gym locker room:] Oh, thank goodness you're getting dressed. I was afraid you might want to use the sauna while I'm in there. -Joyce S.

  • [Husband to me:] What are you complaining about? This could be cancer. At least there's a cure for psoriasis! -Anonymous

  • [Janitor, as he vacuums my office while I'm working late:] What in the world do you do in here all day? -Cathleen S.

  • [Computer tech cleaning my keyboard at work:] You're going to ruin this keyboard with this flaky stuff. -Cathleen S.

  • [Boyfriend in car, sneezing and wheezing after rolling down windows:] I think I'm allergic to you! -Cathleen S.

  • [Derm upon my asking about a particular P treatment:] What is it you hope to accomplish with this treatment? [Me:] It would be nice if I shed less than my dog. -Anonymous

  • [Acquaintances at a party:] Oh my God ... what's on your stomach? That is sooooo disgusting!

  • It's not that bad. No one will see it. I mean, look at this big pimple on my nose. Now, THAT'S BAD.

  • My sister stopped smoking and it went away. -Shelley O.

  • [Derm, upon my 100th visit:] Okay. What do you want to prescribe yourself this time? -Noah L.

  • [Brother sneaks up on me at parties and shakes his hands in my hair while saying:] Look people, it's snowing! -Ellen

  • [Child asks me:] What's wrong with your legs? [I answer:] I'm allergic to children. -Sarah N.

  • [Co-worker when I dared to wear a low-cut blouse:] Is that whisker burn? -Rhonda

  • [Dr. to Nurse:] I'm vacationing in Europe this summer. Schedule him for 12 more appointments. I'll need the money. -Sally T.

  • [Said to me by a devout Christian:] You know, you are a really beautiful looking lass. God's given you this (P) to stop you from becoming arrogant. -Susan L.

  • [Said to me by a customer at the chemist's shop where I work:] You should cover that up. People might think you have AIDS. - Susan L.

  • My skin does that too if I don't put lots of lotion on.

  • I'm called SPOTTYMAN, but not because of my P lesions ... because of the polkadotted showercaps my wife buys for my overnight scalp occlusion! -Dennis M.

  • [Said to me on a Saturday night in the Percy Arms, Newcastle on Tyne (censored):] "J----- C---mate, what's that sh*t on your shirt? You look f*****g manky!" ['Manky,' by the way, not being a complimentary term.]

  • [Hair stylist says:] You know you could get rid of that if you washed your hair every day? -Michael M.

  • Did you get attacked by red ants? -Jodi

  • [3rd Grade Bully says:] Look at your hair! We're going to call you corn flakes! -Michael K.

  • [After telling my sister my lesions were migrating from my legs upward, she said:] Maybe it's making it's way up and will just fly away altogether someday! -Alison S.

  • [Girlfriend upon learning of my vacation plans:] You won't just be a beach whale, you'll be a SCABBY beach whale! -Jackie C.

  • [From an awed bar waitress:] Were you in a motorcycle accident? -Kyric M.

  • [From girlfriend's mom:] Have you been painting? -Kyric M.

  • [On fishing expedition, friend inquires of my P:] Is that poison ivy? [I tell him it's psoriasis; he retorts:] Oh! Cool! -Nick S.

  • [Checkout clerk at grocery store, noticing lesions on my neck:] Did someone try to hang you and miss? -Tracey

  • Good God, girl! Have you got leprosy? -Armstrong

  • [An acquaintance, after hearing I have psoriasis:] Yes, but why do you put chalk all over it? -Rachelle

  • [Video store clerk:] Is that a burn, or do you have some sort of disease? -Rachelle

  • Hey, you have a chip in your hair ... let me get that for you ... Ewwwww! -Rachelle

  • Your ears are dirty, Daddy. You should use a wash cloth. That's what I use!

  • [Bride says to psoriatic bridesmaid:] You'll love your dress! It has a thigh high slit and a low cut back. It's very sexy and I think you'll wear it again!

  • [Four year old to psoriatic classmate:] Why do you have so many boo-boos?

  • Your wife is a nurse! Can't she do something? -Kevin P.

  • [Marine Corp recruiter:] Enlisting you would be against regs. -anonymous

  • Whatever you've got, it's drying up now! -anonymous

  • [From derm lighting a cigarette:] You should watch what you eat. -Tokyo

  • [From a boyfriend who developed exzema:] Did I get this from you? - Zaral M.

  • Are those chicken pox? -Xaomi

  • Is that ringworm? -Danielle Z.

  • My daddy is like a snow man when he takes his shirt off. -Steve S.

  • Hmmm. Dandruff all over your body? -Steve S.

  • [First thing my wife ever said to me:] What is all over your skin? -Steve

  • [Instruction to a 4-yr-old P-girl:] You've got cracker crumbs in your hair everywhere, you should sit up when you eat! -Amy P.

  • [Father to grown son upon first sight of son's P:] That's unacceptable. -Kim

  • [Husband to wife:] Your skin wasn't this bad when we got married. -Anonymous

  • Have you been eating potato chips in bed again? -Sara

  • Sure that's big salt on your food! -G. Louis

  • Is that a rug burn? -Ruth

  • Looks like Jungle Rot to me. -Gene

  • [Derm's astute observation:] Boy! You really are in trouble. -Diana

  • [Said by friend with flawless skin:] It's only skin! -Diana

  • Your system is lacking something. -Ami

  • [Hair Stylist:] Is it okay to touch it? -Anonymous

  • [Close-to-retirement Derm:] I don't want to cure you, there's no money to be made. -Noel

  • You leave crumbs at the table, even when you don't eat. -Roland

  • [Overheard one boy say to another about my psoriatic girlfriend at a dance:] Don't slow dance with her. You'll never get her off of you. -Anonymous

  • You look miserable in that heat. Do you want to borrow a T-shirt? -Brook

  • Why do you always wear stockings? -Brook

  • You got the part in the play! The costume lady wants you in a tank top and shorts. -Brook

  • It really looks much worse to you. I barely even notice it. -Brook

  • Well, look on the bright side. If some jerk starts hitting on you, just show him your skin. -Brook

  • [From someone who's only seen me dressed from wrist to ankles:] You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen! -Brook

  • [Said by a prideful internist:] The first time I saw you, you looked like God's wrath. -Anonymous

  • You know, women used to wear net stockings that looked like that. -Shawn

  • Must you flake everywhere? Isn't there a bag or something you could carry around? -Shawn

  • [Husband to wife] Do you want to play connect-the-dots? -Shawn

  • God is really going to bless you. Remember Job. -Shawn

  • [A derm actually said this] Boy, that must be hell on your sex life. -Shawn

  • Gee! You must go through a lot of vacuum bags! -Shawn

  • [Strange lady on the bus says] That's horrible! How can you go out in public? If I had THAT, I'd kill myself. -Lorrie

  • [Super cool and evidently blind friend says] Oh don't be silly, you can hardly notice anything. Let's go to the pool! -Eva

  • [Same super cool friend says] Wear this super-mini-top and don't worry. It'll be dark in the nightclub. -Eva

  • [Fraternity brother says] That must suck. We should call you 'Scabs.' -Ronald

  • I heard you should go in the ocean ... with oatmeal on. -Ronald

  • [Derm to psoriatic who has tried it all (me!)] Here's a list of topical steroids. Pick one and I'll write you a prescription. -Ronald

  • [Traumatic first trip to derm (patient age: 16)] Yeap it's psoriasis there's no cure it will be with you for the rest of your life and it could get worse. -Ronald [said in one breath?]

  • Banana peels on your elbows. Really, really good. -Ronald

  • Who did you hit to do that to your hands? -O'Day

  • Is that what AIDS looks like? -O'Day

  • Do you wash your hands a lot? It'll dry out your skin, you know. -O'Day

  • [Mother-in-law to grandchildren] See kids, this is what happens if you don't eat your vegies! -Steve

  • You're lucky you don't have it on your face. -Esther

  • Well, are you doing something for it? -Esther

  • [Husband to wife] Would you please stop peeling all over the place! -Finlet

  • [Boyfriend to me] You didn't have it when I met you. When is it going to go away? -Hayes

  • [Friend who gets a spot from sunbathing] Oh my gosh! I hope it's not that stuff you have! -Boyd

  • [Former boyfriend:] Damn! You still have that stuff? -Christina W.

  • [Same former boyfriend:] Isn't there something you can do to it? -Christina W.

  • [Father to daughter:] Well, if you can't keep your ears clean, I will. You've got crud growing back there. -Christina W.

  • [Clinic doctor to psoriatic:] I'm putting you on tranquilizers because psoriasis is caused by stress. [Later, parents to psoriatic:] You did WHAT with those tranquilizers? Do you know what we PAID for them? -David N.

  • [Doctor to psoriatic who's, maybe, 1% effected:] Here's what you have... [doc shows photo of someone who LOOKS 90% effected...] It's called psoriasis. -Julie S.

  • [Tall, punk-ish female friend, looking down at my just-buzzed haircut:] Ya know, you should put little blue and green spots in there, too! That would be so cool! -Erik Hallberg

  • Ewwwwww! Gross! -Hugh

  • Don't shed your skin on my carpets, I just had them cleaned. -Hugh

  • God DAMN son! My God that looks awful! -Hugh

  • Stay away from me. I don't want to get it. -Hugh

  • My [insert favorite relative] had that once and they used [insert favorite remedy] and it never did clear up. -Hugh

  • You're scratching that same place a lot. Does it itch? -ajmille

  • [Daily milestone:] The 10th time in any single day a customer at the McDonald's where I work asks if I have poison ivy. -Ripley Ridenour

  • [Friend to one's brother:] What's your sister got all over her legs? -Joanne Popovich

  • [Little brother to mom:] Why's Jo got so many mosquito bites on her? -Joanne Popovich

  • [Dermatologist:] Well what do you want NOW?! You don't want Cortizone, you don't want creams, you don't want ointments, you don't want PUVA, you don't want UVA. WHAT DO YOU WANT?! -Joanne Popovich

  • [Father to daughter:] We should send you to Africa and bury you in a hole and let the bugs eat it off. I've heard that that's what they do. They only eat the bad skin. -Joanne Popovich

  • [Non-derm doc to patient:] I want you to see a shrink. You know that psoriasis is caused by holding in tensions. -Carol Harding

  • You look like a snake. -Mike Gibson

  • My friend had that. He took [fill in the blank] and it just disappeared! -Buion Feasa

  • Dad! Stop scratching! You'll only make it worse! -Rob Dros

  • (Optimistic Derm:) We'll get rid of this by the end of the year! -Rob Dros

  • Oh! My goodness how did you ever burn yourself like that? -A. June Phillips

  • Aren't you hot in those clothes? It's summer you know... (Translation: Haven't you ever heard of t-shirts & shorts?) -Lissa R.

  • (Empathic friend believing in nature's healing powers): "Did you try peeing on your hands?" -Serghei Dascalu, Ukraine

  • Quite frankly, if we hired you with that skin condition, OSHA inspectors would be asking questions all the time. -Anonymous

  • Lord, Malcolm! You're terrifying the customers! -Anonymous

  • I was being hugged by my husband's cousin. As his nose got close to my
    hair he asked "Have you been standing around a campfire?" -Anonymous

  • That's caused by stress, isn't it. (Statement, not question.) -Ira-Jane Wilton

  • Stop scratching! -Ira-Jane Wilton

  • Those things have pus in them, they must be contagious. -Delane

  • I don't see the problem since they're only on your feet and hands. -Delane

  • Lady, I can't let you try on these shoes. -Delane

  • Do you have what my sister has? Some form of rabies? -D. Voelker

  • (On Halloween:) That alien skin costume is wonderful! -Igor L.

  • Wow! You look like h**l! -Aase-Marit

  • Shoot, now I have to vacuum again. -Aase-Marit

  • (Heard from a derm #1:) No, you don't have to take off any more clothes. I get the picture. -Anonymous

  • (Heard from a derm #2:) Your insurance does have a prescription plan, doesn't it? -Anonymous

  • I know of a very good dandruff shampoo you should try. -Sufferer in Connecticut

  • What did you get into, poison ivy? -Bearbytes

  • What are you allergic to? -Irene Finn

  • Is that mange? -Anonymous

  • What's happened? I thought that cleared up!

  • Have you been taking your medicine like you're supposed to?

  • You are what you eat.

  • Don't be so thin-skinned about it.

  • Losing weight might help.

  • Gaining weight might help.

  • This cured Ethyl May.

  • I'm causing it, aren't I?

  • If your dermatologist isn't helping, maybe you should see a shrink.

  • A change will do you some good.

-END-

 

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