Thursday 20 November 2014

Itchy and Scratchy

I preferred their earlier stuff

Is there nothing more exquisitely divine than scratching an itch? Especially if the time from initiation to abrasive consummation is delayed for what seems an eternity……. Delayed gratification is always the purest and most delectable of sensory fulfilment.

For you and me this most esoteric of pursuits is just a hedonistic distraction on a slow Sunday afternoon. However, there are folk out there who study the itch/scratch phenomenon for a living. The scratch reflex makes sound evolutionary and adaptive behavioural sense. Foreign objects alighting on our skin such as insects and potential parasites elicit the characteristic itch and are subsequently whisked orf with a deft rake of the finger nails, or paw if you happen to be a ferret.

The skin represents our largest organ and the average person sports about 20 square feet. However, if you are endowed with a big fat arse (ARSE), the coverage may be substantially higher. Like most things in life, the itch-scratch reflex is complex. Whilst it is true the nerve conduction pathway to the cerebral cortex is the same for the transmission of an itch or pain, the underlying chemicals which mediate each response is different. In fact it was originally proposed that the distinction between the itch and pain sensation was just a matter of degree. Hence minor stimuli would evoke an itch, whilst more profound sensations produced pain. Although conducted through the same nerve conduit, pain and itching clearly elicit divergent reactions in the human organism. When in pain we withdraw the affected limb, or region, away from the stimuli in order to protect the endangered part of the body, with an itch, a reflex commands us to scratch. For the most part we react automatically/autonomically to the itch reflex and act as if in an unconscious delirium. I wax lyrical and digress. 

Like beauty, the itch reflex is only skin deep. Muscle and brain tissue never itch and consequently never need to be scratched.

Some folk are possessed of a caste iron will and are not to be beseeched by a powerful and dictatorial itch. There is pleasure in abundance to the adamant soul who can resist and saviour this most vehement of provocations. And there are those, equally possessed (by what, you ask?), who allow the itch to build to a crescendo of white heat sensation before satiating with the inevitable chafe. Tis no wonder then that the itch-scratch cycle tracks to the region of the brain associated with pleasure and addiction. There is also a powerful psychological element to itching. Whilst reading this nonsense I bet you have felt the urge to scratch at least once? If I'm any judge (which I'm not), most will be scraping their bodily areas with unashamed and unrestrained abandon. I counsel prudence in your pruritus, otherwise madness will insinuate itself to the very core of your being and loved ones will seek refuge in the arms of one less afflicted and probably less scaly.......    

Shagger having a scratch

1 comment:

  1. I had a very itchy leg in the middle of the night last night , so itchy it woke me, I had a jolly good scratch then my other leg got itchy, so I scratched that too it was one of those scratches that although a bit painful was deeply satisfying, and then I went back to sleep. Not a very interesting story I grant you but true none the less.