Sunday, June 05, 2011

The itchy & scratchy show

I’m pretty sure our son Evan is going to play major league baseball someday, if only for his highly advanced scratching abilities.

“He’s really going to town,” I said a few mornings ago as Evan delivered a performance that Lenny Dykstra might have been hesitant about giving in public. Evan had always displayed a predilection for big-league scratching, but this time, he was really putting some extra mustard on it.

That afternoon, his daycare provider said, “Evan seems a little itchy today. I think he might have a yeast infection.”

I was shocked, mostly because I didn’t know that was possible. I’d have guessed that he had a better chance of acquiring his own daytime talk show.

“She knows he’s a dude, right?” I asked my wife Kara on the walk to the car.

“Guys can get them, too,” Kara explained.

It’s amazing, the things you can manage not to learn by the time you turn thirty-three. That guys can get yeast infections, for instance, or that peppers are officially a fruit, or that the word “ramekin” exists.

“Can you get me the ramekin out of the cupboard?” Kara asked a few months ago.

“You just made that word up,” I replied.

Now I can’t step out the door without hearing someone mention ramekins. Ramekin this and ramekin that. It’s strange to hear so many references to an object that wasn’t even invented until late February.

In any event, we took Evan to his pediatrician the next day.

“It’s jock itch,” she said.

“Nice work, Buddy!” I wanted to say, but it didn’t seem appropriate in front of the doctor. Still, it was hard not to be proud. He’s not even two years old, and he already itches like a professional athlete.

Actually, Kara and I both felt guilty for not bringing him in sooner. We thought he’d been spending the last few days preparing to moonwalk or be a center fielder, when he’d actually been trying to tell us something pretty important. Perhaps it should have been a tip that his favorite three words were truck, bus and itchy.

“Evan, no, you don’t need BBQ dog bones. Or eye drops. Or incontinence pads,” I said, chasing him around the CVS as we waited for his prescription to be filled. “Well, not that kind of incontinence pad, anyway.”

“Or fish oil pills. Or wrapping paper. Or eyeglasses,” I said, pushing his hands down to his sides.

We’d played with the sparkly hula hoops and the beach toys. We’d ridden in multiple shopping carts. We’d said hi to every stranger in every aisle. But Evan was like a shark, needing forward motion to keep him alive, and stopping him from destroying any of the millions of colorful objects within his reach was becoming impossible. I’d done everything I could to keep him entertained, but he was hungry, tired and jock-itchy, all the ingredients for a perfect tantrum.

When I picked him up to inquire how much longer we’d have to wait, Evan erupted into a series of shrieks that nearly knocked the inspirational literature off the nearby rack.

“Mr. Todd?” the pharmacist asked from the back, freshly inspired to hurry our order along.

Anyway, the medication worked in a matter of hours, and Evan is back to scratching like an amateur. That’s very good news, but I feel like he may have lost some of his competitive edge. If he’s going to play ball someday, it looks like he’ll have to get there based on his other abilities. Fortunately, he’s already working on his throwing arm, practicing his fastball by hurling meatballs and iPods around the house.

Also, CVS really needs a jungle gym.

You can use Mike Todd as a scratching post at


  1. I came here looking for a new post... no luck :(