I used to be unsympathetic towards allergy sufferers. These are the people whose eyes always look like they just broke up with their long-time partner and whose nasal passages are as constricted as a boa (the snake variety, not the feathery kind).

“Oh, it’s ragweed season,” they’d complain between sneezes. I’d sneer and think, “That’s not even a real plant.” I mean, when was the last time you saw ragweed on a salad bar or listed on a weed-killer commercial?

Ragweed is the bogeyman of allergies, useful as a scapegoat for every ailment from swimmer’s ear to tennis elbow.

If ragweed were to appear in a political cartoon, it would look like the Capitalists of Communist propaganda posters: well-dressed, overweight, jowls dripping with the nasal discharge of the exploited.

Allergies are more widespread than ever before, despite industrialization’s noble attempts to kill all living plants.

When I was a boy, every school kid ate peanut butter by the quart.

Now, setting foot on the spreadable lunch-stuffs aisle for some is akin to taking their lives in their own hands.

This is easily explainable: Allergies are a big business.

Those with weak minds can be convinced by advertising that their eyes are watering and their bronchial tubes are closing, just like ads convince the weak-willed that they need to eat a Subway Steak, Egg and Cheese sandwich (that thing looks delicious!).

My wife claims to suffer from allergies, but I’ve been too wily to fall for her ploys. When she greets me at the door complaining of sinus pressure, I tell her to get back outside and finish mowing the lawn.

All of this changed, however, when I recently experienced my first allergic reaction.

After using a medical skin-care product, my legs became covered with a horribly itchy rash. My fingernails were not up to the task, so I began carrying a shiv-like letter opener with me.

I thought it lent my persona a much-needed tough-guy edge, but my wife said it was “just weird.”

She decided I needed an itch-reducing lotion, but lotion and leg hair don’t mix well.

And this was how I came to cutting my leg hair. Notice I did not say I shaved my legs. I did not shave my legs. I just used a hair trimmer to give my legs a buzz cut.

My wife does not like the result. I think she’s just jealous that my legs now rival hers for silky smoothness.

She treats my legs like shameful abominations, using her body to block them from our children’s view when I wear shorts.

Evidently children being raised in a home with a hairless-legged father can expect a future filled with hefty counseling bills.

The lotion goes on much better, which was my goal, and it seems the itching is abating.

As for the original problem that required the medical remedy, I don’t know what started it, but I suspect it might be caused by ragweed.