Friday, 28 April 2017

X = Xerosis to the X-treme

You're going to have to allow me a bit of latitude with these last few letters of the alphabet. Shortage of material is not the problem, it's shortage of material starting with X,Y and Z that's giving me a right royal pain in the rear end. 
So, I'm hoping that if you've stuck with me this far, you'll cut me a bit of slack. And if you've only just stumbled into this carnival of words...well...

(1) Pathological dryness of a body part or tissue, especially the skin, eyes and mucous membranes  
(2) The normal hardening of the tissue that occurs with aging 
From the Greek xero, meaning dry

In my opinion, definition (2) is just plain rude. OK, yes, it might be true, but  I see no need to call the loss of a little bit of elasticity by the same ugly name as anything pathological. And while I admit to having developed a near-chronic case of lizard legs in my rapidly approaching dotage, it's nothing that a vat of industrial strength moisturiser can't fix.

As far as dried up old body parts go, they don't come much drier than a mummy — who was possibly a daddy. Some 700 years ago, this desiccated bundle was a bloke living on the north coast of Peru. 
And even though his community obviously hoped for him to have life eternal, I suspect they didn't envisage it being on display in a museum in London.

I was totally mistaken when I chose a Tsantsa (which is the formal way to address a shrunken head) for inclusion under the heading of Xerosis
When I did my homework, I discovered that a shrunken head is not made by drying out a full-sized head at all. 

Apparently, you shrink a head the same way you'd shrink a woollen jumper. In really hot water. 
Should you ever hanker to possess the soul of another human being, just follow these ten easy steps to create your very own Tsantsa:
1: Chop head from enemy making sure head and neck remain connected
2: Slit flesh at back of neck and pull in upwards motion to remove skin and hair from skull
3: Discard skull (feed to dog?)
4: Sew eyelids shut and secure lips with wooden skewers (or strong toothpicks)
5: Drop into large pot of boiling water (a pasta or soup pot would be perfect)
6: Simmer for up to 2 hours (remove before hair falls out and skin goes mushy)
7: Turn inside-out and scrape off any remaining fleshy bits clinging to the skin
8: Carefully fill skin-bag with hot sand and stones ( don't scald your fingers)
9: Rub outside with warm charcoal and hang over fire to dry, being careful not to singe the hair (because that smells awful and adding extensions to a Tsantsa is really fiddly)
10: Remove skewers from lips, sew shut.
Once complete, you can decorate as desired, but remember this is your enemy. Don't be too generous.

So, as you can see, although it's not technically Xerosis, there is a bit of drying out involved. 
Latitude taken.

During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.


  1. I was still stuck on your claim that you can get rid of lizard legs with copious amounts of moisturizer. I wish. When I do yoga my upper arms and legs look like a sharpei's face. lol. I remember seeing the mummy in the british museum and could have stared at it for hours. Fascinating. Also, thanks (not) for the recipe for shrinking a head!

    1. We could make a formidable pair in a yoga class... me with my long but pudgy and excessively scaly legs flailing, you with your stylish sharpei impersonation... what a team.

    2. it's a date....we will put those young hard bodies in their rightful place.

  2. You are so hilarious, Wendy! The step by step--for an enemy--is so funny. I visualized each step and of course that was gross!

    My skin looks really nice but in winter... I'd need to live in that vat! :-D

    1. With British summer being less than a pale imitation of a Bangalore winter, I'd have to share my vat with you year-around, here, Vidya. But I'm happy to do so at any time.

    2. The image of us chilling in said vat laughing, wining, and what-not, just went into my mental album of feel-goodness! :D

  3. So glad X is at the extreme end of the alphabet. who knows what you would come up with next!!! Hmmm, any enemies must be thinking 'Keep clear of Wendy' :-)

    1. I'm definitely running out of puff here, Carmel. And I thought this post was a bit of a dud, so I'm delighted that it has entertained you. And you're dead right. I am a formidable foe.

  4. That's hilarious. You're hilarious. It sounds like such a simple and fun thing to do, I almost wish I had enemies. ;-)

    1. I'm happy to send a couple of mine your way if you want to give it a burl.

  5. Well I'm pretty sure now I don't want to be your enemy knowing you hold such specialized dispatching skills. However, I would like to be your friend - you are truly hilarious and a most fabulous writer.

    1. What a lovely thing to say. Too kind.
      But you would find that I have a lot in common with Dorothy Parker:
      “Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.”

  6. Dear God Wendy, you don't disappoint when it comes to the gruesome and the gory. That shrunken head bit and scraping off of flesh was a bit gut wrenching!
    Don't like the look of that mummy/daddy creature much either, I think it's the teeth! They are not in keeping with the rest of him!