Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Skin Zapped!

I have fair skin--in both ways.  It's very light (I've never had a suntan in my life).  And it's skin that's also, you know, okay.  Let's put it this way: No executive from a skin-products company is going to see me in line at Acme and offer me an advertising gig. On the other hand, no one in that line is going to glance my way and gag, either.

Like that Safety Patrol belt?
My skin has always kind of annoyed me, actually.  When I was a wee lad, I had freckles.  They seemed to get worse in the summer.  I hated them then.  Now I think they're kind of cute, but, of course, I don't really have them anymore.

When I was in high school, I wanted a tan.  All my friends had them.  My enemies did, too.  Not I, though.  I lived outside in the sun throughout my youth--baseball and tennis and running around, all day, every day, in the summer.  Every now and then I'd burn-and-peel.  And I'd even get a little blond streak near my brow.  That was sexy.  (Ha!)  But not the faintest hint of a tan.

And then those other unwelcome visitors during my teen years, those years when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror to see what new outrage has arrived on your face.  One day, I woke up with a red thing on the side of my nose, a thing that seemed determined to be my own little Mt. Vesuvius.  When my older brother, Richard, saw me that morning, this was his greeting: "You have a horrible pimple on the side of your nose."

Really?  Hadn't noticed.

Siblings are great, you know?

Things calmed down in my early adulthood.  Oh, every now and then something yukky would show up, usually on the most inconvenient day imaginable--a school picture day, a day of a presentation of some sort.

But when I turned 50, all sorts of hell started breaking loose in my body.  And on my face.  So I was going to the dermatologist, who would greet me at the door with his little can of freezing spray.  And he'd fire away as if he were killing a colony of ants on my face.  Nose.  Cheeks.  Forehead.  Zap!  Zap!  Zap!  And then I'd have to walk around for a couple of weeks looking as if someone had put out cigarettes on my face.  This delight now occurs 2-3 times a year.  As I type this, I have on my upper arms three bright red cigarette-burnie things from my last visit.  They will take weeks to disappear.

Oh, and about ten years ago, I got a skin cancer on my forehead, too.  Not the really bad kind.  A squamous cell--a particularly nasty name, I think.  Sounds as if it were named for Squanto's brother, or ugly cousin.  Anyway, that one took some cutting and stitching and a lot of time healing.  I looked, all summer, as if I were auditioning for the creature in a remake of Frankenstein.  All I needed were a couple of bolt-thingies in my neck.

If you enlarge that picture of me at Longfellow's grave, you can get a good look at the healing scar.

But I wouldn't advise it.

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