Slices of Life: Paint or dandruff
"One day not long ago, I scratched my head and felt something peculiar under my fingertips. Something flaky, thicker than regular skin and not quite right atop my scalp," writes Jill Pertler.
Recently I’ve been diving into home improvement projects. I like them on the border of loving them. They are fulfilling, because at the end of it all, you are left with a clean wall, newly colored cabinets or maybe even just a really frilly, upscaled dollar store soap dispenser.
There’s something to be said of an empty paint can and dirty paint brushes that cause you to look at your newest endeavor (with glee) and exclaim, “I did that!”
My latest undertakings have been bittersweet because I always had a partner when completing home improvement projects. He was the CEO, with me standing on the sidelines as the assistant and “Hand me the Phillips” co-conspirator. The last upgrade we completed together was a ceiling fan installation in June 2020.
My husband died less than four months later. Now it’s just me and the hammer, spackle, paint brush and/or glitter, not necessarily in that order.
Lately, I’ve been painting cupboards and refinishing countertops. No small feat — unless you consider the tiny paint brush I use for touch-ups at the very end. The devil’s in the details.
Which leads me to my problem.
I’d finished my last painting project for the season and was feeling quite proud when I encountered an unexpected after-effect. Except I didn’t know it at the time.
One day not long ago, I scratched my head and felt something peculiar under my fingertips. Something flaky, thicker than regular skin and not quite right atop my scalp.
It’s interesting, and pretty amazing actually, how we have the ability to sense when something is off about our physical bodies. The patch atop my scalp didn’t feel like scalp. But what else could it possibly be? I’ve always loved a good facetious question.
Herein is where I miss my home-improvement honey (again.) If he were here, my palpable scalp issue would be resolved in an instant. I’d simply ask him to take a look.
Unfortunately he isn’t here right now, so I’m without his eyes (or his body or any of the rest of him). I guess I find myself on my own in more ways than just home improvement. There’s an understatement if there ever was one.
I’ve never dealt with dandruff, but wondered if that’s what was happening atop my head. I scratched the area in question and came up with a plethora of white gunk under my fingernails. Are dandruff flakes white, somewhat resembling house paint?
A quick Google showed dandruff resembles skin cells, not paint.
What could the anomaly be? Again, I found myself missing my husband. Where is a guy when you need him to look down on you and examine the top of your head?
In my case his existence, unfortunately, rhymes with "head,: meaning he’s not here and I’m alone with my scalp and whatever entity happens to rest atop it.
After a fair amount of itching and scratching I got desperate to know the source. I leaned forward into the bathroom mirror, trying to see what presence was present on the posterior portion of my scalp. My contortions were in vain. A person is not able to look at the back of their own head. I guess that’s why spouses were invented.
That, and mirrors.
I grabbed mine (the mirror) from the drawer and took about 67 seconds to figure out how to position it just so that I could see the part of my head in question. In that instant the problem (or solution, depending on your perspective) was obvious.
My head touted a generous dollop of white primer paint. Primer is sticky on walls, and apparently also on a scalp. Even though I’d washed my hair multiple times, the sticky stickiness of the primer didn’t want to let go. It was a quality paint brand for goodness' sake.
After identifying the problem, the solution was obvious. A fair amount of scrubbing in the shower, dissolved the dollop and my scalp was thankfully naked once again.
Which left me free to continue my home improvement projects — and miss my hubby, not necessarily in that order.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.