Reader be warned: the following post has nothing to do with chocolate, but who cares?
Never trust a dermatologist in bangs. It’s like letting a hairdresser in a wig come at your head with a pair of scissors. Just say no. They’re clearly hiding something. Let’s face it. When most of us get home from work at the end of the day we pour a drink or light some reefer. When dermatologists get off work they grab hold of a syringe and slam it into their forehead, mainlining Botox while muttering What Me Worry? You see a dermatologist wearing bangs, it’s a good bet something went wrong.
I came to this realization after discovering a mole. It appeared on my arm a few months ago, out of nowhere, like a self-declared steady boyfriend. And, like a boyfriend, I kept an eye on it, which was pretty much like staring at an analog clock to see if the hands are moving, but as with most of my boyfriends, nothing happened. I got on the internet and looked at horrifying pictures of mole infested skin, most of which belonged in carnivals and not on living people, but I still wasn’t certain whether or not my mole was deadly. Then I realized it could have been a wart.
Now no self-respecting woman wants to admit she has a wart, but after calculating the cost of my insurance co-pay and deductible, I figured a wart was far more affordable than a mole, and decided to get a can of freezing chemicals to see if I could give myself a small dose of frostbite and be rid of it once and for all. My daughter stumbled into the bathroom just as I was shoving what appeared to be an aerosol can into my arm and she asked if it was time to call for help. I assured her I knew what I was doing, pulled the nozzle out of my flesh and saw that all I had managed to do was create what appeared to be a nipple on my arm. I decided I would leave well enough alone and called a dermatologist before I found some baby suckling my biceps. So a few days later, there I was, in the doctor’s office chatting with the nurse.
I should have known something was wacky when I asked her about magic potions to make me look twenty and she laughed and said, “But you don’t need anything!” I’ve endured life for over half a century and as an American at that. I need everything. I was sure the doctor would have a more reasonable assessment. I was far less concerned with whether or not I was going to die prematurely than whether or not I was going to look as if I had died prematurely. I mean, really, sending a middle aged woman to a dermatologist’s office to see if she has cancer is like sending a drunk to a bar to see if they have a pay phone. Who cares what the reason was they went there, we all know what follows.
So the nurse left and the doctor arrived. Wearing bangs. Now she didn’t have bangs in the picture on her website, or in the ads suggesting I erase decades off my life with painless office procedures, but now here she was with bangs. I was immediately concerned. “Show me your forehead!” I wanted to scream before she got any closer, the same way I sometimes insist on seeing lawyers’ bellybuttons. Instead, I smiled a crooked smile, she said hello, glanced toward my mole from about four feet away, and said I had a carrot toast hiss. I had no idea what that was, but she didn’t seem worried so I figured that was one less death scare I had to deal with until the next abdominal twitch, and asked if she could still embalm me, since I was already there. I couldn’t afford much, I told her, no botulism shot into my sagging face or anything sliced, stitched or stapled, but maybe paper clipped. Perhaps a cheap sand-blasting or some hundred dollar tube the size of my pinky filled with secret serum that would attract love and money and give new meaning to my life?
She said the only thing she could think of was injecting a polycarbonate infusion of acrylic to fill in my face, on sale for seven hundred and fifty. “Quite affordable, actually,” she said, and I knew we didn’t share the same tax rate. I did a quick calculation and realized that plenty of pasta and a few crème brulees and my face would be filled out in no time. I thanked her, paid her a hundred and fifty dollars and went home, cancer free and an hour older, and named my carrot toast hiss Bobo.
Growing old is a lot like waking up and finding you’ve turned into the Wicked Witch of the West, covered in nipples and warts and throwing your face in your hands as you scream, “I’m melting! I’m melting!” It’s no use telling us we’ll live. Comfort us with chemicals, curse Dorothy for stealing our show, and hand us a more powerful broom so we can fly away cackling like lunatics into the starry night. Wondering where we put those damned ruby slippers . . .