A Piece of a Nose Walks into a Bar
So it’s near closing time, and a piece of a nose walks into a bar. It hops up on a stool— no mean feat for a piece of a nose. The weary bartender asks what it would like. “I’ll tell you what I’d like,” the piece of nose says. “I’d like to share a story about a very neurotic person.” The bartender says, “Oh. That old thing. Go ahead. You talk and I’ll pour MYSELF a drink.”
It’s probably a rare person who, the night before a surgical procedure, however slight, (MOHS surgery for squamous cell carcinoma on the side of my nose) doesn’t lie in bed imagining the worst. Thus it is that, after a long period of silence, I tell my almost-asleep but incredibly patient sweetheart, “I have to share this dark fantasy. Because if I share it, it will go away.”
“What is your dark fantasy?” he asks.
“Okay,” I say. “So they do their customary first scrape, and I come out into the waiting room and look out the window for birds and read my WHERE WOMEN CREATE magazine (it and its sister publication WHAT WOMEN CREATE are so inspiring and beautiful) and then I read some of the new Richard Russo novel (SOMEBODY’S FOOL), and then I read the newspapers to the extent that I am able to tolerate the stories, and then I think about the fantastic breakast I’m going to have on the way home on account of my great suffering. They call me back to scrape some more. Then some more. Then some more after that. The sun travels across the sky. Afternoon comes. Babies awaken from their naps. People in offices look at their watches and think oh good, almost time to go home. After the final scrape, the surgeon says, ‘Oops, we’ve hit bone and also we messed up a little bit. We’re going to have to replace your entire face.’ I think about this and then say, ‘While you’re at it, could you please fix my saggy neck?’”
My sweetheart says, “And if you could please offer a two-for-one, my boyfriend would like to have his neck done also.”
So, see? We laughed and my fears went (mostly) away and the next day I had the procedure done and they only had to scrape once.
The conversation we had about my dark fantasy followed a more serious coverstation wherein I lay with my hands folded across my chest and, eyes closed, said, “I guess life is a lot about losses. Especially at this age. And the way we handle these losses is the way we can manifest grace. It’s so funny how I have such affection for my nose, now. I never liked it much burt I’m sorry to lose part of it now. And then you think of all the people who lose a lot more than a piece of their nose.”
Okay, that’s the yin part of this post. Now let’s get to the more pleasant yang part.
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