“A Message from Your Skin,” by Doug Gower

May 6th, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Skin, I’m waterproof.  That’s a feature not emphasized enough when we extol the wonders of this 360-degree, wraparound envelope of living flesh that you exist inside.

Think about it:  You can swim with me or soak in the tub for hours and, aside from getting all wrinkly and swollen like a puffer fish, your body doesn’t absorb a drop.  The takeaway?  You’re not a sponge!  You don’t fill up and sink to the bottom!  The only thing missing are gills.  If you had those, you’d be an actual aquatic vertebrate, qualified for action in salt or fresh water.  That’s one sad lack, I admit, that we’re barred together from a fully joyous life in the Kingdom Undersea.  But let’s not get all down about it; internal organs aren’t really my department.  Your Skin still has its waterproof superpower.  Any other missing wonders just add poignancy, which is part of the human deal.

What else is great about me, Skin?

Of your entire body, I’m your largest organ.  Isn’t that cool?  Not even King Colon can make that boast.

Skin is God’s Zip-Lock bag.  It keeps germs out and all the oozy, squirmy, liquid, flabby parts in.  Let’s face it, there’s a lot to be ashamed of inside you, much of it upchucky repulsive.  Well, all of it.  Consider me your all-purpose burqa bag and hit the streets with confidence.

Skin inspires great literature:  “If you prick me, do I not bleed?” –Hey Skin, thanks for Shakespeare!

Without Skin it would be impossible to make snow angels.  You’d just drain out all over the place in a hot, steamy mess, desecrating the purity of snow in the process.  I’m your ticket to childlike wonder.

If it feels like I’m straining to impress, it’s because you take me for granted.  To tear your attention away from Instagram and your Twitter feed I’d probably have to develop psoriasis.  Psoriasis – don’t make me go there.  Ha ha, kidding!  But listen, OK?

OK, time to get down and serious about the beauty of skin.  It feels good.  It’s silken and slide-y.  In sex, it’s so good you have to close your eyes.  Feeling.  When we talk about the sense of touch, isn’t that what I’m all about?  Unlike other sensory organs – mountains “seen” miles away, stinky smells “seeping through that vent from next door” – Skin only knows the world up close and personal. Skin, the “Do you want a hug?” organ.

I come in many colors.  Identarian politics have ruined just about everything these days.  But let’s think of Skin as an incredible spectrum of Pantone numbers instead.  I’m Pantone number 2309C, what’s yours?  For sure, it’s not Skin that wants to break things up into tribes and bring on the hate.  That’s your brain.  Of all the ironies that’s probably the worst.  Brains want to be brown or pink or yellow or black.  But Skin, which actually is a color?  Skin is color-blind (Well OK, just plain blind) and shares no part in the fuss about intolerance.  What a shame Skin doesn’t rule the world?  Skin, which gets all the blame, is the least racist organ you know.

Don’t forget tattoos.  Move over Vision, Smell, Taste, and Hearing!  When’s the last time one of you could be a walking talking work of art?  Well, talking mixes in hearing with Skin, which is confusing, but you get the idea.

In conclusion, Skin is the best.  Let’s hear it for me.

So close your eyes and unbutton your shirt or blouse, and reach in right now and cop a feel.

“Skin, it’s not a Sin.”

Without me, you couldn’t appreciate the feel of your lover, or of the cheap, paper-tissue-thin leather in your used Honda Pilot’s upholstery, when you could have gotten the Mazda CX-9, if you’d sprung for that advantageous leasing deal.

“Skin-flint,” what does that even mean?  “Skin-fantastic” is more like it.

Hug me, smell me, lick me, love me.  I’m you.

Walk tall and stay proud, Skin.  When it comes to bodily parts, I’ve got you “covered.”

“–I’m Skin, and I approve this message.”


Doug Gower’s recent story “Kartoosh” and novella “Cowboy vs Truck” appeared in the Spring and Fall 2019 issues of Electica.  His play “Daddies” is available through Dramatists Play Service, and his stageplays have been seen at venues like The Vineyard Theatre (NYC), the Julliard Repertory (NYC), and Actors Theatre of Louisville.  He’s a member of Austin ScriptWorks and of Austin Fiction Writers Group where he has a strange novel in development.

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