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psoriasis country
by john truelove

It is a common perception that the life of an artist includes a certain amount of suffering. It is rarely a surprise to learn that inside a musician, writer, painter or actor is a tortured soul struggling with addiction, mental illness or worse. Me, I have psoriasis. It isn’t too bad though and that is probably because I am not much of an artist and presumably could not endure the pain and inner turmoil of a true master.

Minor skin afflictions aside, as the bassist in a cover band the majority of my suffering comes from doing things that I would rather not do like, for instance, playing a modern country song.

If the genre brings to mind the music of iconic figures such as Hank Williams or Waylon Jennings, today’s country and western is probably not what you would expect to hear. My father, a huge fan in his day, said that country music was always about 20 or so years behind the times. He was right. A contemporary country hit is little more than 80’s era arena rock sung by someone who over accentuates their southern drawl. A few fiddle or steel guitar riffs might be thrown in to emphasize that the music is from Nashville but strip away those flourishes along with the hick singer and what you have is a marginal B-side to a Journey or Brian Adams single.

This style of adult contemporary ersatz tends to make my psoriasis flare and one afternoon while I was charting out the bass line to one of these tunes I felt a savage itch on my elbow. Without thinking I gave it a vicious scratch and dead skin fell on my desk like a light dusting of snow on black soil.

When I was a young boy I was very impressed with myself when I discovered that looking through binoculars in the opposite direction intensely magnifies objects at very close range and I had a lot of fun observing the natural world using this technique. I have, over the years, acquired a collection of pointless tools that include a small monocular which, as you might assume, is half of a binocular. I decided to examine the largest flake of dead skin and fetched the little telescope from the toolbox.

To work effectively, the lens needs to be very close to the object being magnified. This proximity tends to block most of the light so I found it necessary to shine the display of my cell phone on the subject. I marveled at the crusty ridges of my dead flesh for a while before blowing away the debris and getting down to the business of learning this new cover song.

This particular tune was a vitriolic little ditty with lyrics that mixed white trash feminism and down-home revenge style justice while pandering to the religious and patriotic sentiments of the right-wing. It would be a clever bit of wordsmithing if it wasn’t so utterly insipid.

As irritating as psoriasis can sometimes be, after this particular episode I certainly consider it more entertaining than modern country. And I think I am lucky to have a few sore patches of skin rather than whatever ailment is responsible for inspiring this music.


Even though I coined the phrase "The service was lousy but the food sucked" I am, by nature, an optimist who keeps his writing skills honed just in case the music career doesn't work out.

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