A Rash of Sore Luck

"He thinks it's from doing the housework." "Yeah, that's a laugh!"

“Yeah, he thinks it’s from doing the housework.” “That’s a laugh!”

I went to the ER with a skin rash, and took my youngest daughter.

The doctor looked at me and said, “Well, it looks like you’re the only guy to get sunburned on a rainy day!”

I didn’t laugh – and tried not to itch.

But before I could respond with any explanation, my six-year-old daughter said, “I think it was the beer.”

The doctor looked at her and smiled as if to say, “How cute.”

We’d been out for a pizza, beer and water. The youngest is prone to skin rashes, stemming, so we think, from the food coloring in soft drinks, most likely in Mirinda and maybe Coca-Cola. So she drinks water and thinks now after all her experience that beer probably has the same effect on me.

The nurse came and gave me a shot in the butt, and the youngest observed with attentive eyes like an expert in the field.

The doctor came back and I was still thinking of what the cause of the rash could have been. It started before the pizza, before the beer. I’d had salad for lunch. Breakfast?

Then it hit me: housework and odd jobs. My wife had been away for a couple of weeks in England, and that afternoon I had fixed a light switch, changed a light bulb, glued a chipped piece of wood back on a chest of drawers, and sorted out a long-overdue pile of papers.

“Maybe,” I said, turning to the doctor to explain my wife’s absence. “Maybe it was the housework, the odd jobs.”

The doctor, a father himself, no doubt, smiled with assurance that I was on to something, the stress, the kids, the cooking, the housework. It was an observation as astute as his about the sunburn on a rainy day.

But the youngest, in all her experience with rashes, wasn’t buying our conclusion and looked at both of us as if we were boys busted by a teacher for farting loudly.

“No, Dad, it was the beer,” she said, “and you know that.”

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