So yeah, everybody gets these. If you haven’t found one on your own body, you simply haven’t been looking hard enough, and it’s probably at least six inches long by now. SEARCH THYSELF.
I remember discovering mine for the first time, growing out of the right side of my abdomen like it fucking belonged there. It looked like it came off Gandalf’s head (the White, not the Grey), several inches long and as glossy as a unicorn’s mane. I plucked it with horror, only to have it grow back again and again, the thin strand as white as purely driven snow. Now I monitor the spot with grim vengeance, razing the area as soon as it pokes it’s tiny silky head out of my stomach.
I remember a girl in my class in college who had a massive two-inch black hair emerging from her chin, like Satan’s own pube. I couldn’t understand how she had never noticed it before, but it became more clear as I watched her glance in the mirror in the bathroom. She always angled her head in such a way that she never saw the offending hair curling in the breeze. My God, had nobody ever told her? I didn’t know how to approach that situation since we were merely acquaintances, and she soon ceased coming to class altogether. Had she been strangled by her rogue hair in the night? Perhaps she looked on it fondly, stroking it gently before drifting off to sleep each night. I will never know.
So, my former boss had boobs.
This, in of itself, is not remarkable. However, when she sustained an injury to said breast that she insisted was my fault, I found myself face to face with a lot of boob meat.
It all started when I decided I simply had to have a pet in the office. Our soulless span of cold grey cubicles seemed like a parody of a stifling office, and I was beginning to crack. I had already decorated my cube with a lava lamp, a Rubik’s cube, some putty, and other assorted toys, but it still felt like a desk of despair. Perhaps it was the lack of visible windows, or my beautiful view into a dangerously overcrowded supply closet that maimed many a fellow employee.
Whatever the reasons, I somehow felt that introducing LIFE would be a good start.
The natural cubicle pet is, of course, a plant. But given my previous experiences with plants of all shapes and sizes, I knew that I would somehow manage to care it to death within a few weeks. Either that or it would thrive, but then become infested with tiny mites that would then spread across the thinly carpeted floor. Plus the aforementioned lack of sunlight would doom all but the heartiest vegetation.
No, I wanted something that would move.
And so came the purchase of an ant farm. To save myself time and frustration, I opted for the creepy blue gel version of the farm, in which the unfortunate ants would both dig, eat, and shit out only a space-age gel the color of Windex until they ultimately died from despair. Because owning an ant farm as an adult is truly one of the more depressing experiences out there. As the Onion so eloquently observed, an ant farm is a “fun, interactive way to teach children ages 5 and up about unceasing, backbreaking toil and the cold, inescapable reality of death.”
The ants are all female, and fucking PISSED OFF when you receive them in the mail. I placed mine in the workplace fridge to calm them down, which upset many coworkers who felt I was doing some sort of cruel experiment. In a way, I suppose I was. After depositing the now semi-comatose ants into the enclosure, they quickly perked up and began to dig. And die. And dig. And then muse on the ephemerality of life. And then die some more.
The bodies piled up quickly, and the living ants seemed determined to dismember the dead rather than dig more pointless tunnels. A fat ant with glasses was at some point hunted down by a roving pack of insects covered in war paint. The conch lay forgotten at the dead end of a tunnel into which no one dared enter, for a spectral beast lurked within.
Anyway, each day the environment within the farm became more and more bleak. I occasionally had to pry open a corner of the lid to allow the ants some precious oxygen. But upon lifting the plastic, every ant who still possessed the will to live immediately tried to swarm out. They were shockingly fast, and had large mandibles that would leave fiery welts on your fingers.
And so the day finally came when my coworkers begged me to set the ants free. Most were now lying on the surface in a stupor, unwilling to eat, drink, or move. They were waiting for their inevitable extinction.
My boss, a kindhearted soul, took it upon herself to empty the remaining ants into a nearby park. Tired of looking at a constant reminder of my own mortality, I gave her permission to do what had to be done.
She came back with stings on her boobs as the imprisoned ants had ravaged her chest in their haste to escape. She threw the empty ant farm, which resembled some sort of horrible chemical bomb, into a park trash can. I imagined it being surrounded by the NYC bomb squad and detonated within hours. She showed me her battle wounds with a mixture of anger and pride, as if to show me that she had been strong enough to do what I could not.
But she still blamed me for the whole fiasco, and ant farms are now not permitted in the office. However, her boob scars were showed to all for weeks afterwards.
So, this post is going to get a little gross. Nothing too crazy, but if you are of a sensitive disposition, you might just want to go read about dog molestation instead.
Anyway, I finally got my surgical boot and bandages from my bunion surgery removed on Tuesday. Check out the difference between before and after!
As you can see, I’ve got a nasty gash on the top of my foot, but it’s not too bad, all things considered. However, what WAS bad was trying to wash my foot for the first time in three weeks.
The human body produces a startling amount of dead skin that is normally washed away by sweat, a shower, a bath, friction, etc. My foot had received no such attention, and as such was coated in a quarter-inch thick layer of scum. I didn’t take a picture of my foot before the washing, because it was just too gross.
Calluses which were merely a nuisance before the surgery had morphed into cracked deserts with crevasses large enough to act as tunnels in an ant farm. The surface of my skin was a dull yellow color, both from old Betadine and grime. To my alarm, great chunks of foot began falling off as I scrubbed in the shower. A delicate scratch with a single fingernail released a tectonic plate of dead skin the size of my entire big toe. Each stroke of my loofah made it look like I was leaving genetic breadcrumbs Hansel-and-Gretel style on the bottom of the tub. I hastily collected all the skin in some toilet paper and washed the tub, since I live with roommates and am not a complete heathen.
After about 10 minutes in the shower, the scar cracked open and began to ooze yellowish plasma, followed shortly by heavily congealed blood. I had been avoiding the wound itself as best I could, and to see it spew forth blood like a volcano made me freak out completely. But I kept right on scrubbing the rest of my foot in the midst of my panic, because I’d be damned if I was going to crawl into brand new white sheets while shedding skin faster than a snake.
After a good 25 minutes or so of scrubbing, the deed was finally done. I was bloody and exhausted, but comparatively clean. Luckily, my wound scabbed nicely overnight, and it hasn’t given me a whole lot of trouble since.
But the strange thing is that it still doesn’t feel like my foot. I look at it, and it’s like someone else’s foot has been grafted onto my ankle, then left to fester. When you’re used to seeing an appendage a certain way, and then it suddenly changes, your mind goes all wonky. The fact that some of my toes are still numb from swelling doesn’t help matters. Over the past few days, I’ve tried to get reacquainted with my foot, but it still feels like I’ve got a waxen corpse attached to me. Psychologically, this is pretty upsetting, but I’m hopeful I’ll come around soon. After all, it’s still my body, and I’ll go nuts if I can’t come to terms with that.
While growing up, my sister had a unique ability to magnetically attract liquids and foods to her clothing.
Seriously, no matter what the situation or how careful she was being, by the end of a meal, she would be so splattered with sauces that it looked like she had just come from a paintball arena.
No one is really sure why this happened. Perhaps it was just adolescent klutziness, or maybe because she is left-handed but was forced to use right-handed implements. Regardless of the reason, it caused a lot of distress for my teenage sister. She couldn’t be trusted in a restaurant or at home, and she frequently had to change clothes after each meal. We couldn’t have a family dinner without at least one glass tipping over and covering the entire table with milk or soda. Each time this happened, my sister would frantically apologize while my dad let out a stream of swears and ran for the nearest towel. More often than not, after this spill was mopped up, she would knock over the refilled glass and the scene would repeat itself, only with even more colorful curses from my dad.
My sister was banished to the opposite side of the table from the rest of us, like we were at the Last Supper and she was the only apostle on the near side, covered with food. We weren’t trying to be cruel, but her left elbow was completely unpredictable during a feeding frenzy, often jabbing into someone’s side or flailing into someone ELSE’S cup, strewing its contents onto their plate. Her placement at the table was more like a quarantine for our own protection.
She also had a tendency to stuff WAY too much food into her mouth at once. It was like she had been starved and was fighting off territorial dogs for her dinner. In an infamous restaurant incident, she once stuffed an entire loaf of bread into her maw at once, nearly choking to death. The rest of the table looked in awe at the empty bread basket and my sister’s rapidly purpling face, only putting two and two together when the international choking symbol was performed. Until then, her fellow dinner-mates simply didn’t think that what they were seeing was possible. She also once almost died from eating mozzarella sticks like they were jello shots, not realizing that the hot cheese was like molten lava in her throat. She would also eat a pile of rice so quickly that she’d manage to inhale the grains into her nose via the back of her throat. Suddenly, slimy grains would creepy out of her nostrils like little maggots, forcing her to run from the table and go blow them all into a tissue. The experience was, reportedly, quite painful.
Now that my sister is older, her predilection for decorating herself with foodstuffs seems to have gotten much better. But I still wouldn’t sit to the left of her at a table if you paid me.
So, this was back in 2009 when I was unemployed and dubiously insured.
I noticed this sort of weird mole-like thing on my inner right thigh, and freaked the hell out. The thing was grotesquely shaped and seemed to grow larger weekly, eventually protruding a good quarter of an inch from my leg.
I figured I had some sort of skin cancer, and sent a blurry camera phone photo to my dad, who is a doctor. He told me to quit worrying, and that it was just a skin tag.
I had never heard of a skin tag before, but apparently it’s just a small benign growth that often appears in places where layers of skin rub against each other. Common locations include the your neck, armpits, eyelids, under the breasts, or the spot where your thighs touch (as in my case).
Though they aren’t dangerous, I thought it was pretty unsightly, and decided to get rid of it. However, my insurance was useful only in catastrophic situations, and I was not interested in paying hundreds of dollars for a doctor to snip it off. My dad recommended that I tie thread or thin, waxed dental floss around the base of the growth, and knot it tightly. By cutting off the blood supply, the tumor should eventually dry up and fall off on its own.
However, after two days with floss dangling between my legs, the skin tag was purple, but still very firmly attached. Evidently I had not cut off the blood supply completely, or at least not to the entire mass.
It was time for plan B.
Plan B involved rubbing the area with alcohol, sterilizing a pair of nail or toenail clippers, and just chopping it off. After reading a few articles describing the procedure, I felt like I was ready.
But when the time came, I found myself paralyzed with fear. I held the clippers menacingly in my left hand while the other clutched at my thigh, but I couldn’t seem to get the two to meet. Each time my left hand approached, my thigh scooted off to the right of its own accord, causing me to spin in sad, naked circles.
I took a deep breathe, sterilized everything AGAIN just in case, then sat myself down on the toilet lid so that I’d stop revolving like a top. Even once the clippers were poised around the tag, I still had to give myself a pep talk for a good five minutes before I finally made the snip.
And it really wasn’t bad at all. It stung terribly for a second, bled slightly, and it was all over. After the application of a Band-Aid, it was if nothing had happened at all. Now, all I have is a small scar to mark the spot, and the tag has never recurred.
So if you’ve got a troublesome skin tag, just grit your teeth and chop that damn thing off. You’ll be glad you did, and hopefully you won’t be as wussy as I was about it all.