Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

The Bee and the Barr

Late last night, I gave in to an itch and rubbed my eye. I knew it was a mistake, but the eye had started itching madly right around the time Last Week Tonight started. Twice during the program I dribbled a little cool water into the corner of my eye, but it did no good: the itch remained. And though I knew the itch was the result of an allergy (I had cut the grass earlier in the day, and it was raining, and it’s spring/summer), and though I knew exactly what was going to happen if I gave in, I stuck my finger in behind my glasses and rubbed.
Ahhh, such sweet relief! There is nothing quite so satisfying as scratching as scratching an itch. It’s so…so…so. It’s just so.

Here’s the problem with this sort of itch, though: while it feels positively orgasmic while you’re scratching it, it doesn’t solve anything. As soon as I pulled my finger out from behind my glasses, three things happened: 1) the itch returned, as bad and insistent as before; 2) it now felt like a lash or something was stuck beneath my eyelid, even though I didn’t have to check in the mirror to know this wasn’t true, and 3) the phlegm factory in my head went into full-scale production mode, churning out mucus like Soviet factories cranked out tanks in World War II. I ended up taking Benadryl, and while it did the job, taking Benadryl at midnight means waking from a bizarre dream at 5:44 with no recollection of the alarm having gone off and a tongue that feels about as moist as the Mojave Desert. My head is clear of phlegm, but my brain is rather sluggish, which might explain this post.

The sad thing? All of this was predictable. I’ve been here before. It never ends well. Experience tells me there are certain types of eye itches that I must absolutely leave alone, and last night’s was one of those. I knew it, and I reaped the consequences. But it felt so good!

Last week, Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee both scratched some particular eye itch, Barr in her Twitter feed, Bee on her show, Full Frontal. (If you’ve been living under a rock, Barr’s tweet was a racist shot at a former Obama administration official, while Bee dropped a C-Bomb on Ivanka Trump) Barr was fired from her show before the day was out. Bee is still employed, though she has lost a couple of big advertisers. She is supposedly going to address this on this week’s show. At this point, I’m guessing she’ll keep her job, since the network (TBS) joined her in falling on the sword. Unless there’s enough of a backlash.

What was Roseanne thinking when she fired off her 2 a.m. Tweet? What was Bee thinking when she dropped the C-bomb on air? I can’t say for sure, but I imagine it was a lot like me with my eye itch: it felt really good until the entirely predictable–and avoidable–reaction.

5 Responses

  1. I have no use for racism or that kind of language at all – and I'll never understand people who use their time in the limelight to spread any kind of hate.

    In other news … No More Scratching!!! 🙂

  2. It seems most people take to social (or public) media now days to "scratch" whatever the hell is irritating them at the moment. People used to have manners.

    And, smart enough not to poke themselves in the eye, lol. Don't worry, you're not alone. Oh how many times have I rubbed itchy eyes after a day in the sun and soooo regretted it later.

  3. It just shows how so often we don't think about the circumstances, but that can have much worse repercussions for some depending on their profile. Social media's a dangerous tool for some but perhaps it's better if we know they hold these views? Sorry about your annoying itch!

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Apologies for not responding sooner, but I've kind of had little brain for it this week!

    And it is allergy season and I have been sitting on my hands a lot tot keep away from the eyes!

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