The Taking of Medicine

Dave’s here from Wisconsin, and we’re swimming at Ala Moana Beach,
despite the posted bright orange jellyfish warning signs.
I’ve assured him I do it all the time, that he should have no fear.
Suddenly Dave screams, how unlucky, races to shore and I follow.
He’s rocking back and forth, moaning and groaning,
applying cool wet sand to the red whip line along his chest.
He asks if this could kill him, and assure him no,
if he were allergic, he’d already be dead.
I relate how it happened to me when I was seven.
“What did you do to stop the pain?” he asks.
“My dad urinated on my arm.”
Dave looks up at me, fear in his Midwestern eyes.
“Please don’t you even think about it,” he pleads.
“No worries,” I say, “I’ll keep the hypodermic in my pants.”

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