Man is not alone in having an itch that can’t quite be reached. Many four-legged animals have long necks that allow them to nibble at an irritation or tingle. Bears can rub up and down a tree, but humans are left making do.
Back scratchers started out as limbs from trees. Early primates would simply tear off the right size tree limb to reach an itch. Modern man has options. I’ve used a telescoping wiener roast fork before (be careful of the prongs), as well as plastic rulers.
“Wood, bone, horn, claws, brass, stainless steel, metal, plastic and multiple combinations of these materials are used to create products ranging from both mass-produced trade show swag to individual artisanal hand crafted back scratchers.” – itchthatbitch.com/blogs/news/backscratcher-history-from-old-wood-and-bones-to-stainless-steel
My dermatologist says that at the end of the day, our muscles relax along our backbone and this gives us that itchy feeling that rubbing, scratching, massaging, stroking, patting, or kneading relieves.
I don’t know how many cheap plastic back scratchers (with that darn little hand) I’ve broken seeking comfort. From Eskimos using whale bone and fur to European courtiers with scratchers hanging from their belts and sashes, back scratchers have been with us for what seems like forever.
I’m big into re-purposing . . . meaning I rarely throw anything away. After my last paint roller episode, I took my handle extensions apart and froze as I had an epiphany. I looked at one piece closely. It was fourteen inches long. I shoved it up my back from below my shirt. It reached my back bone and shoulder blade. I caressed the hidden area blindly. Next I pulled the extension from beneath my shirt and tried reaching down my back via my shirt collar. The pleasure was exquisite.
At first the threaded wooden grooves were a little prickly, but then, so am I. Eventually, the personal touch and wear have smoothed the rough edges. We’ve become close friends.
Chinese emperors once had artisans specially create jade back scratchers carved for their royal backsides, but I would think on a crisp morning the cold jade could easily disturb the solace and a moment of nirvana. I am well pleased with my very affordable back scratcher tool of heaven. Thank you, ACE Hardware.