7th December 2022

We live in a society that deems certain habits, practices, as unacceptable, unsavory, unhygienic, inadvisable, verging on the blasphemous, the unholy. We all possess such minor quirks, odd practices, singular ticks, and have suffered the embarrassment of our reaction to a stimulus being frowned upon, of being distanced publicly.

The most recent curse to manifest is the need so sneeze suddenly, openly, violently, repeatedly, only to be made more heinous when accompanied by sniffles, a need to clear, blow, the nasal passages. This affliction, through the connectivity with COVID has easily surpassed that previously number one offense, the inability to ignore the urge to urinate, pass water, have a tinkle. Both functions are perfectly natural and cause no real offence or harm in actioned discretely, but are seen and a severe failure of self-control, good manners, permissible behaviors.

My particular foible is a unignorable need, desire, to scratch profusely, relieve manually, openly, immediately, the tickling presence on an aggravating, fidgeting, itch. I have no doubt that if the assistance was available, and a person agreeable, I would quite happily pay an attractive looking soul, with suitably manicured nails, to scratch my back and as when the inclination took me. Such an arrangement do seem to be the absolute peak of luxury, decadence, unrestrained hedonism.

I recall as a boy being instructed to stop my scratching as it gave a most unfortunate impression, although the only fleas I ever experienced were of the sheep variety, encountered after a rather damp boyhood bivouac amidst a Welsh farm.

The effects of carbolic soap and an abundance of good fresh heated water was quite enough keep the particular human variance of the parasitic beast away from my sweat sources.

The classification of antisocial activities is very much a matter of fashion, the result if fears current to the age, decade, or single year. Today, it is a particularly unpleasant form of virus, tomorrow who can tell, just hopefully something environmentally or scientifically curable, survivable.

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