Scratch My Back, Baby!

I’m a terminally itchy guy.  I always have been.  When it comes to addressing my never ending bouts with flaky, itchy awful skin, I’m like an artist.  I’m the Picasso of picking, the Stravinsky of scratching. I’m the freaking Jackson Pollock of placating pervasive pruritus.

Since many readers are likely amateurs by comparison, I thought it might be nice to share my wealth of scratching strategies.  The truly itchy know that any patch of skin is fair game for a flare up, but for many, the most annoying are the ones located on the back. Those pesky spots can only be reached by a few yoga enthusiasts and circus freaks with really long nails.

I’ve taken the liberty of categorizing the implements/strategies for easy reference – since no one with an itchy back has time to be searching for answers.

Traditional Back-Scratchers

Disregard the rolling massage wheels on the far end, we all accept them as nothing more than dysfunctional sales gimmickry.
Disregard the rolling massage wheels on the far end, we all accept them as nothing more than dysfunctional sales gimmickry.

Plastic – These are politically incorrect, unless fabricated from recycled milk jugs and lawn furniture.

Bamboo – The green crowd loves these, and they work pretty well.  I prefer mine to be sanded to a sharper edge.  The few remaining panda bears can damn well eat kale like the rest of us.

New-Fangled Telescoping – These are flawed in design – one good scratch and you’ll never be able to close this thing up again.


The distinctive shape and length of this beauty makes it easy to spot in that clutter drawer of kitchen crap.
The distinctive shape and length of this beauty makes it easy to spot in that cluttered drawer of kitchen crap.

Long handled soup spoon – Excellent reach, nice edge, strong stem.  Also, you can stir a big pot of soup with it.  Dinner guests will appreciate your washing the spoon between scratching and tending to the gumbo.

Ladle – Good reach, stem strength, but flawed edge accessibility due to angle of cup

Serrated Knife – Very effective, but not advised for amateur use.


Yard Stick (Meter Stick if scratching abroad) – Excellent reach, though too flexible unless you choke up on your grip.

Ruler – Better rigidity than the yard stick and easier to hide from the teacher.  Use the edge with the metal insert for truly evil itches.

#2 Pencil or Bic ballpoint – Not recommended due to poor reach, and increased likelihood of wrecking your favorite white shirt.

Sporting Goods

This is a women's stick, which is why it has no pocket or testicles.
This is a women’s stick, which is why it has no pocket or testicles.

Lacrosse stick – Traditionally strung – good roughness factor, though has a rather broad scratching surface.  Avoid goalie and defense sticks.

Whiffle Ball Bat – Good stiffness, reach, but mediocre roughness, unless you have one that the dog chewed on.

5 Iron – Good grip, excellent reach – angle of the blade face may not be the best – I’d consider a sand wedge here.


For the record, Lucy has never humped my leg.  I won't comment on KK's possible intimacy with any part of my leg.
For the record, Lucy has never humped my leg. I won’t comment on KK’s possible intimacy with any part of my leg.

Dogs – As man’s best friend, you’d think that Fido would be a natural choice, however canines can misinterpret body language and may start humping your thigh instead.

Cats – If you can get them to pay attention to you at all, these furry introverts have what it takes in the claw department.  If your back bears any resemblance to upholstered furniture, they may get overzealous.

Hamsters – For some reason, these little balls of fluff get nervous anytime people attempt to employ them around the back area.

Paid Help

This lady might be a good candidate, though her nails look a little short.
This lady might be a good candidate, though her nails look a little short.

Man on the Street – If you can subliminally convince them that they are on a hidden camera show and will look like jerks for not scratching, this may result in a vigorous scratch and limit potential demands for reciprocity.

Dominatrix – These aren’t cheap (or so I’ve heard).  If they are too into the sadistic end of things, they may refuse to scratch just to watch you squirm.  Find one who knows how to use a cat-o-nine-tails and hope for the best.

Co-Workers – In these politically correct, litigious times, this one can be a little risky.  You don’t want a threatening call from the lawyer representing Jeannie Whatshername with the nice nails down in accounting.  By the same token, you’d be well advised to avoid asking your boss for a good scratch between the shoulder blades.  If possible, use an inanimate object instead, such as a mailer tube or even a compact umbrella in the closed position.  If you must employ a co-worker, try to avoid moaning or reflexive leg jerking during the scratching.

Spouse/Significant Other – Relationship experts agree that a successful pairing of people requires a degree of give and take.  By their reckoning, a spirit of cooperation is key to a long and successful marriage.  It should be noted that relationship experts are often divorced and lonely.  It doesn’t take a degree in quantum physics to determine that a thirty second, limp-wristed scratching should not equate to your having to do yard work for an hour and a half.  Though itching can be intense and with a sudden onset, you need to take a moment to consider your bartering position and history.

I’d write more about this, but I promised my wife I’d cut the grass.



26 thoughts on “Scratch My Back, Baby!

    1. I’ll take most any reblog, because I’m easy that way. shwetamustare must be some kind of speed reader, as finger had only just left the publish button when she had already liked, commented and reblogged the post.

  1. I knew that picture of…Lucy…would make an encore appearance. Bu isn’t it time you took your dog to the vet so she can get that tumor removed? It looks nasty. *smirk*

  2. Well, after having the image of dry, flaky skin implanted in my mind’s eye, I don’t think I’ll be hungry any time soon. So must thank you for that. And if there were any doubt I might change my mind and want to eat, the idea of scratching yourself with my spoon took care of that… 😉

    1. I trimmed the post down, I had originally included medical education section where I reviewed crutches, canes, prosthetic limbs and skeletons. FYI: a below knee prosthesis works great!

    1. As I mentioned to my brother, who emailed wondering why wall corners were left out; I had to edit it down to make it “readable” since 1000 words is too long, and 2000 words is instant death.

      1. Last week someone who knows I have a blog asked me if I’d written anything lately. Since my column had appeared in that day’s paper and just happened to be on the table between us, I pointed it out to him. When he got done reading it he said it was pretty good, especially after I picked up the pace about 1/3 of the way into it. Who was this guy, you ask? Mr. Shakespeare is a “guest” at the homeless shelter where I volunteer.

        Everybody’s a critic, hmm?

  3. Duuuuuuuuude thanks so much for the helpful hints. My back, near the shoulder blades is the worst! I don’t have a lacrosse stick but if it gets bad I use my kid’s Nerf Bow and Arrow set. Good to know there are other options, though.

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