Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Ignorance is NOT BlissNow that I’ve finished a whirlwind week, I was able to get caught up on a number of things that were crying for my attention. After about three hours of non-stop focus, I did manage to get the bulk of my administrative chores finished. It’s always a relief to be able to walk away from fully completed files and hopefully never have to look back.

A great number of years ago I worked under a broker who seemed to enjoy working in chaos. She’d have un-closed files piled everywhere which created a scenario to where which ever transaction was the hottest, would be the one that would be found and focused upon. The most unfortunate thing for me was that there was nearly always an open door between us, and if a customer of mine would walk in my door and happen to look thru hers, there’d always be a questioning look towards me. It’s amazing how in such greatly different ways, some people manage to get their work completed.

Last week someone was telling me an unfortunate story about one of their family members having unknowingly been exposed to the juice/sap of wild parsnip and now suffering topical burns from it. I can only imagine the pain that poor individual is going thru as I speak.

Now I’ll bring you up to speed with wild parsnip “burns”. Wild parsnips contain chemicals called psoralens which causes what dermatologists refer to as, “phyto-photo-dermatitis”, which mean an inflammation of the skin induced by a plant with the help of the sun. When these psoralens are absorbed by the skin, they’re energized by ultraviolet light which is present during both sunny and cloudy days. The UV light causes them to bind with nuclear DNA and cell membranes. This whole process which takes a little time to create visible damage, but when fully kicked-in, destroys cell and skin tissue giving us the end result of full-fledged burns.

Over these past 5 – 10 years, I’ve noticed how widespread/invasive wild parsnip has been. There’ve been numerous warnings by me to people who’re out weed-whacking and mowing areas which may contain either or both wild parsnip and Queen Anne’s lace, which can create the same type of burn but in a lesser degree.

While driving this past week down 12th St. NW out near Eisenhower Ave., I noticed huge stretches of wild parsnip in the ditch on the left side of the road, and another long stretch of Queen Anne’s lace on the right side. It’s even growing right under our noses in our Historic Downtown! I did manage to get rid of the Queen Anne’s lace that was quietly propagating in my office block back at the Commercial Alley side. So please, learn to recognized both of them, and diligently, but carefully get rid of them. Both are considered an invasive plant by our great State of Iowa.

For as long as I live, I’ll never forget the permanent scars I saw on a man’s arms and legs which were caused by burns while he was innocently weed-whacking a patch of wild parsnips growing on his acreage. Unfortunately he was wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts, so his legs and arms bore the brunt of being juiced up by thoseweed-whacked plants.

Isn’t this but one more example of how ignorance is NOT bliss? The above photo is one I took of Queen Anne’s lace in bloom some time ago.

Joe Chodur

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