Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don't Give Me Any of That Lip!

Well, besides a temp in the hi-30s with a wind chill where you can almost see the frozen flag snapping on the pole at McMurdo Station -- working outside is nice. I get to live in the world when I go to work, instead of just inside a cubicle. I'm so impressed when every lane is filled with people (2 and 3 per lane!) at 6 a.m. and they not only get out of bed when they hear the wind howling, but shed off their warm clothes and plunge into the Laney pool.

Of course there are drawbacks. The Nimitz freeway is a raging mass of road rage, the elements are just a little unpleasant, but the UV rays are bad news. Twice a year I go to my dermatologist and he looks at my lower lip and nose (the rest of my body apparently impenetrable by these rays) and then goes out to the storage room and comes back with a little mini fire extinguisher of liquid nitrogen which he sprays on my lip. After years of this treatment I have figured out the secret formula for how long I suffer after the appointment. Removing these pre-cancerous spots seems to work out to be one week of disfigurement for each second he sprays.

Four weeks ago he sprayed for four seconds and I'm just about wrapping up the latest oozy blister. So that was nice for Thanksgiving. Hi cousins, it's your favorite relative -- Syphilis Marcia!! The first day it is an enormous blister and then it's number-of-seconds-sprayed expressed in weeks-minus-one (blister day) of huge raw oozy open sore. The last two days it shrinks into a little raw lake with a shoreline of scab and then just like the Snows of Kilimanjaro, it shrinks up into nothingness.

Glad it's not a picture day, aren't you?

Oh, I found one taken at Thanksgiving but it's suitably far away. This is the Painted Canyon in Palm Desert -- just gorgeous. I can barely remember what it was like to be warm, but I think I liked it. Assorted family members trail me in my ascent of the dangerous peak (not!).

Not that I'm vain, usually, but it teaches you something when you just have to walk out there and wear that lip. I used to work around it with lip gloss, but it never stayed put and was just too much trouble. I also used to explain it to everyone I met, but now just wear it around like some sort of furry sweater. Oh, that old thing -- I've had it for years!
Lesson for today, everything falls apart when you age. But keep fighting the good fight.