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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
A beautiful, rainbow-hued stained-glass salt shaker
The other day, my roommate Frances was refilling the salt shaker and, unprompted, complimented it. "This is such a nice salt shaker," she said.
Like anyone, I was thrilled to have a product that I had purchased receive recognition for its beauty, but I was especially excited because of the long backstory behind this particular product. "Thanks," I said. "I got it in Venice."
"Oh," Frances said, not fully understanding.
"It's a long story," I added. "You'll have to read about it on my blog."
Here goes.
Dermatologist: Hi, I'm Dr. Skin.
Me: Hi, nice to meet you.
Dr. Skin: So, tell me about your skin.
Me: It's bad, but it mostly fits.
That's not quite how my dermatologist appointment went, but it was pretty close. I was in for a litany of reasons, one of which was red, crusty eyelids. When I told the doctor about this symptom, she asked if I also had dandruff. "Yes," I explained. "That's one of the seven other problems."
Apparently, crusty red eyelids are comorbid with dandruff. I had been suffering from dandruff for about a year and a half. The crusty eyes were a more recent development. I was prescribed super extra strength anti-dandruff shampoo, plus a steroidal cream, plus plenty of other drugs and ointments for the other problems.
The cream worked for my eyes, but the shampoo seemed to only make things worse. Around this time, my itchy scalp was starting to drive me insane (
exhibit a
). Disappointed by the modern pharmaceutical industry, I resolved to take matters into my own hands. As I said, I have been plagued by an itchy scalp for about a year and a half. Incidentally, I had also moved into a new apartment a year and a half prior. My immediate conclusion was that my new roommate, Carter, was giving me dandruff. My mother, rational as always, suggested that it might be the new couch instead. "How could Carter give you dandruff?" she asked. "That's crazy."
I had bought the couch used (
see here for more
) from a friend of a friend who had bought it from another friend who had owned cats. I am sometimes allergic to certain cats. Maybe it was the couch. Maybe my mother was right.
I forswore the couch for a fortnight. I did not lay, sit, nap, lounge, rot, relax, or sprawl out on the couch. It was a hard two weeks; my scalp remained itchy.
I tried a variety of other potential solutions, to no avail. Then, one fateful night, while I was cooking dinner, reaching into Carter's fancy salt container for a pinch of fancy sea salt, I came to a sudden realization: it
Carter's fault all along. Since moving in with him, I had been using his fancy sea salt (which he shared generously), unlike at previous apartments where one roommate or another had a refillable salt shaker that we filled with regular, non-flaky, non-fancy salt. I hypothesized that my dandruff was the result of an iodine deficiency. A while ago, a friend had shown me a cool video about iodine deficiency and hyperthyroidism and how the salt industry had basically solved it in one of the biggest public health victories since sliced bread by iodizing table salt. However, the video had warned, iodine deficiency is back on the rise as flaky, un-iodized sea salt becomes more trendy. I also knew that I wasn't getting much iodine in my almost-vegan diet. So, switching to Carter's fancy salt had removed my last significant source of iodine. I felt my thyroids nervously. Were they swollen?
They seemed fine. And my brief attempt at research (8 searches on duckduckgo) did not yield any studies claiming a correlation of scalp itchiness to iodine deficiency. And yet...
So, I decided to start cooking with iodized salt. Even if it didn't cure my dandruff, it would save my thyroids. I'm quite fond of having normal sized thyroids. Incidentally, my other roommate, Steven, owned and cooked with iodized salt. Steven, however, is a simple man. He has no use for such frivolities as refillable salt shakers. When salting his eggs or chicken, he simply pours out salt from the 1-pound cylinder of iodized salt with a deft hand, straight into the pan. My hand was not so deft. I grossly over salted whatever meal I was cooking at the time.
I needed a salt shaker, one to refill with iodized salt and cure my dandruff. Thus began my quest.