“Dirt Always Wins” — A Story, Part Two

'30s girl injecting insulin

Sterile Technique There’s a curiously moving photo in a 1930s medical handbook put out by Dr. Elliott P. Joslin, who started a clinic in Boston that still specializes in treating diabetics. It shows a sweet Shirley Temple clone, almost 3 years old, the caption says, sitting on a wooden table and injecting her doll-like thigh with a needle and syringe that contains a dose of insulin. (A darling voice muffles an “ouch!”) She’s just a baby, yet she’s her own life-saving nurse. I became diabetic at 7 and almost died because the family doctor … [Read more...]

“Dirt Always Wins” — A Story in Six Parts

Stain wheel

One: Stains     Have you ever seen a stain wheel? It’s a practical novelty, die-cut layers of glossy printed cardboard that you’d have found in an old five-and-dime. Is something you love spotted or blotched? Merely turn the wheel to your problem: egg, gum, alcoholic beverages, axle grease, urine, mustard, glue, mildew, flowers, and the step-by-step stain solution, as it were, appears in a window. Similar wheels were made long ago for bashful young men who needed help in coordinating the colors of their suits, shirts and ties -- before they … [Read more...]