Get an exclusive free story about Carey when he was a boy. Click here!Exclusive free story about Robert Carey, aged eight

Oh God, I can\’t stop… (Don\’t read this if you\’re eating.)

It\’s the vice that\’s too embarassed to speak its name (apart from one other, arguably worse). In fact, I don\’t know what its name is. Even when you\’re little, you know, you just KNOW that peeling sunburn is WRONG. You know you shouldn\’t pick hard skin off your feet in strips and flakes because you\’ll inevitably go too far and too deep and end up hobbling around on raw patches. And you know you mustn\’t satisfy the horrible primeval urge to pick your knee scabs either.
***
The most depraved children, like me, found that if you got a lot of craft glue on your fingers you could enjoy that delicious sense of peeeeeling it off again without the usual risks – until the teacher caught you, of course. Nowadays you\’d probably be offered some kind of rehab program; then you got shouted at for wasting valuable glue. Which, of course, only made it more delightful.
***
But the wickedest, the most exquisite joy comes as the only recompense for having your arm or leg in plaster. When the plaster comes off after weeks of itchy discomfort and the sharp fresh air of the clinic spritzes the healed but withered limb, they\’ll advise you to wash it gently and use handcream.
***
The best bits are those funny plates of skin you get on places like elbows and then there\’s the long slow pleasure of the megadandruff everywhere else. Little teasy flakes; long bits…
***
Handcream? I don\’t think so.

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