Friday, November 27, 2015
In 1990 I was pledging Delta Sigma Omega and I was a nervous wreck. This was my opportunity to be a regular guy and I was determined not to mess up. During Hell Weekend, alumni would stop by the college and the active members would take them and the pledges to The Club to bond, I suppose, over the sharing of libations. As a teetotaler and avid dancer (yes, I know it sounds rather non-fraternal) I had designated myself as the driver of the alcoholics, which is what I call anyone who drinks more than me.
Throughout the week we had been requested to do all manner of embarrassing things like run across campus wearing only boxer shorts, dress up as nerds and escort each other to class, carry (and keep from breaking) an egg, etc. I was pretty sure hijinks were to ensue at The Club as hijinks seemed to be de rigueur in this particular establishment.
When we arrived, we found there was a dance contest and I had been entered; the winner was to receive $300. In 1990, y’all. That was enough to buy 750 soft tacos and a medium Dr. Pepper from Taco Bell, people. I was about to get rich up in here.
My brothers were depending on me to take the trophy and I couldn’t let them down. If you threw in a few orphans or a park/nursing home to be saved, this would be like 1/3 of the straight-to-video movies in the late 1980s. Regardless I was determined to be a hero, like Kevin Bacon dancing in Footloose except not athletic or in a feed mill or with a trashy preacher’s daughter in red boots.
I scoped out the competition as those movies had taught me and I felt pretty good about my chances. We each had a turn and the judges narrowed it down to the finals which included me and a sketchy looking girl with “Sonic Hair” and extremely tight acid-washed jeans who bent over a lot. The last finalists were two friends from out of town who had a routine; they literally 5,6,7,8-ed at the start. I felt much cooler than these two with their rat tails and Z Cavariccis and that’s saying a lot. I was spectacularly uncool. However, I was also rhythmically gifted.
I told the DJ to choose something funky with a great beat and he chose Kyper’s “Tic Tac Toe”. Y’all remember that song? If so you know it was ON. I danced with all my might and thought I was doing well. About a minute into my dance, three young ladies from the social club (Mam’selles) with whom we were partying danced onto the floor and made a sexy semi-circle around me. They looked like Robert Palmer’s video girls but with actual smiles and bigger hair but relatively the same amount of red lipstick.
The winner was based on audience response and nothing beats 30 or so slightly inebriated frat boys and social club girls. Not even acid-washed clad hoochies bending over.
The closing scene of this little movie shows me with my winnings treating 30 people to the Shoney’s Breakfast Buffet, which at that time was only $5, everybody.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The rate at which people I’ve just met are asking me to disrobe is alarming. I made an appointment with a Dermatologist for the annual mole patrol. I arrived at the appointed time and location and was ushered into a room and introduced to the Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Lady (not her real name), who summarily asked me to undress and then began pointing at my body and commenting on what she found less than desirable. This I did not need at 8:15 in the blessed morning. Keep in mind this was before I had me daily iced tea from Dunkily Donuts.
If I’m being honest there are many wonky things about my body but this particular wonkiness could be related to cancer so I allowed the inspection to continue. Did you know there are ABCs to mole/spot inspection? There are and it’s cool in a medically nerdy sort of way. A is for asymmetry – if your spots or moles form a complete circle without lots of meandering lines, you’re probably good to go. B is for border – if there are visible borders, it’s a good thing. C is for color – if the entire spot is one continuous color that’s good. If it’s not, you’d better have a doctor check it out. Ombre is only good on fabrics and hair, y’all. You heard it here first.
Unfortunately we must return to my partially nude body. Unlike a turtle, I prefer to be on my back if required to be in the prone position. Admittedly my ninja skills are subpar, but what I do have I would like to employ and you cannot do this when lying on your stomach. There I lay, face down, clad only in boxer briefs being scrutinized by my new friend (trying to go through my shtick about where I'm from which is required each time I meet someone new and I open my mouth and a magnolia falls out). But this scrutiny I can manage until I hear a brand new voice. And I am introduced to Nursing Assistant Lady while my old and dear friend of 15 minutes, Nurse Lady, pulls down the waistband of my underwear to ask the new girl her opinion of a somewhat wonky dot on my top left butt cheek.
Since I cannot see or interact with either of these ladies due to my position, I attempt to insert myself in the conversation by stating, “Of course it’s wonky. I don’t buy my freckles and moles at Brooks Brothers. If I did they’d be plaid or at least paisley.” I hold for laughter and there is none. I have never done stand-up but I feel fairly certain failing to elicit a giggle while mostly nude, face-down on an exam table in a dermatologist’s office about three blocks from the bad part of town would be considered bombing.
The next thing I hear is one of the voices say, “What was that, Mr. Thompson? We stepped out of the room.” What? Not only did they leave me unattended with a partially exposed butt check, they didn’t even close the door leaving my nakedness visible to all and sundry in the outer office? And what did they see on my cheek to cause them to whisper in the hallway like one of the downstairs people on Downton Abbey?
At first I was nervous, then I was appalled, then I was sad for those who sneaked a peek as my derriere is not worthy of discussion or viewing. Semi-public nudity is not the direction I have been trying to take in my life. My family is not a naked family and I am not a naked person in any context other than a shower and only then because not exposing your skin to the water will get you less than desirable outcomes. Also, when I showered in my underwear after a football game in 7th grade, I was so mercilessly mocked by my teammates, it caused deep psychological harm, y’all.
We must return to the nudity once again to bring this story home. In my haste to right the many, many wrong(s) of this visit, I attempted to flip over onto my back to at least let the paper napkin of a gown cover me. As I was doing so, Nurse Lady attempted to flip me back over onto my stomach as she needed to relieve me of three wonky moles to be sure they were not cancerous. The misunderstanding of who exactly was in charge of my body movement resulted in a pulling of something in my hip region, causing admittedly limited pain, but pain nonetheless. The unforeseen consequence is this injury is preventing me from attending the yoga/Pilates/rolling on the floor with fat people class this Saturday.
What can I do? Nurse Lady’s parting instructions were to avoid strenuous activities for at least two weeks. Her exact words were, “If you don’t hear from me in two weeks, it means the tests came back benign.” But I can read between the lines. I do work in healthcare, y'all.