There are many things broken in our world that show us how far from perfection we live. Mosquitos, hanging chads and freezer burn come immediately to mind. But I think, without argument, the proof most clearly visible of creation turned horribly perverse is: Poison Oak.
It is not a stretch to say that poison oak is the manifestation of all plantly evil ever made possible by Adam's sin. I am particularly susceptible to this great tragedy of flora. It hunts me down like a heat seeking missile, and targets me with its maniacal schemes.
You may think I exaggerate. I assure you, I do not.
Growing up I was bound to get the dreaded itchy rash every spring when the bloom burst forth in the forest surrounding my home. I would swell up to roughly the size of a blue whale, eyes closed to slits and skin covered in scabbing pustules while my mom diligently used a cotton ball to dab pink calamine lotion all over me. Cotton ball dabbed pink calamine lotion on poison oak is akin to 7 water droplets used to extinguish a grease fire - highly ineffective and strangely comical. We would also employ ice packs to help numb the painful sores but the condensation from the packs just served to moisten the rash and keep it from drying out as quickly as possible. To say I hate it is a gross understatement.
As I grew I learned to avoid the deadly plant like the plague. I memorized the cute rhymes meant to teach children what to look for, like: leaves of three, let it be; and berries white, poisonous sight. This knowledge, along with a godly sense of fear for any contact with the detestable shrub kept me from my nemesis for years.
Then I had children.
To be fair, they are not trying to be tools of the enemy. But any one trained in tactical arts will tell you that getting the target's loved ones to do the dirty work is worth bonus point. Poison oak is a powerful tactician. Most recently my beautiful 2nd born daughter Bethany was beguiled by the insidious weed while spending the night at a friend's house. However, not satisfied with one victim it also left its toxic oil all over her clothes for me to "find" while doing laundry. Within 24 hours the tell-tale rash with its itchy burn erupted on my left shoulder. A few days later we were both covered from head to toe.
Thankfully today there are a great deal more robust and proactive measures to use in the fight for justice. Topical steroids, oral steroids and even injectables all give much greater relief in a much shorter time...
Apparently I am one of the few random people who continues to erupt in the hateful breakout for weeks after the contaminate should have washed clear of my system. Why do I know this? Because 5 weeks after my initial contact (and with no possible options for fresh exposure) I am breaking out in a new wave of pustules in the EXACT same location as the initial scourge. Nice.
I'm telling you, there is no greater proof needed that we have fallen woefully short of the Garden of Eden. In fact, I think maybe the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a pre-cursed poison oak plant.