Friday, July 29, 2011

Why I'm Not a Dermatologist

      Not too long ago, we were at Mom and Dad’s house visiting with my brother, Moose, and his wife Red, my “baby” brother, Wolverine, and his wife Midge.  The Yankee, being the compulsive type, can’t stand to sit and chat.  He has to be doing something so he is usually the dishwasher.  (Mom has this weirdness about what can and cannot go in the non-human dishwasher.  “Bertha, you know those dishwashers destroy dishes”.  “But Mom, dishpan hands destroys hands and I can buy another set of dollar store juice glasses.”  “That’s so wasteful, Bert.”  “So where do you buy new hands, Mom?”)  Anyway, on top of being compulsive, The Yankee is also a bit of a dope in the kitchen.  He can’t make scrambled eggs worth a darn, he thinks sage is the magic herb that delicately enhances everything from seared ahi tuna to fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, and he cuts himself … on absolutely everything.  Broken glass, knife blades, cabinet corners, oven knobs; you name it, it has taken his blood.  This time, it was the blade of Mom’s food processor.  I hear the patented sucking sound of air through clenched teeth and see dishwater fly across the kitchen floor as he leaps for a paper towel.  Since I’m “Mrs. The Yankee”, I know what’s going on without looking but sweet, sensitive Red can’t help but check on him.  “Are you OK?” she asks.  The Yankee pulls back the paper towel and I see the color drain from Red’s face.  “Oh.  Blood.  Wow.” she barely whispers as she slowly makes her way to the floor so she can sit and force herself not to pass out.  “I … I … I just can’t do blood.”  Inhale.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Exhale.  The Yankee would be getting more pleasure out of this display were it not for the gushing geyser in his crumpled paper towel bandage.  I helped him get his finger bandaged up and Moose helped poor little Red make it to the couch before she completely lost consciousness. 

      If you had been a Peeping Tom peering through the window that day, you would have seen a sight too hilarious for words.  Red is an attorney (often paid in pies and lovingly crocheted afghans) who has no problems helping a poor old lady create a will and not leave her life savings to the “Save the Wealthy” charity group.  But you put a drop of blood in front of her, and she faints.  I don’t understand that.  For the record, I do not love blood.  Or blood and guts.  Or blood and gore.  Or anything else gross and bloody.  I just don’t freak out over it.  You chop your foot off with the chainsaw in the back yard, I will throw the detached appendage into a bowl of ice and drive you to the hospital at speeds that would make Mario Andretti admit defeat.  I will sign your cast.  I will bandage your wounds.  I will help you pull out your last baby tooth.  I will clip your stitches for you.  But if you come near me with skin flakes of any kind, I will vacate the premises post-haste.  Dandruff has to be undoubtedly the most horrendous thing on earth.  Red says, “Bertha!  You’re such a goober.  Dandruff is unfortunate but a bloody stub is … is …”  She sits before she gets any dizzier.  I totally disagree.  “No, Red, you’re the goober.  The bloody stub would be considered most unfortunate.  But flakes are just … just …” Now I’m sitting. 

       The Yankee thinks we’ve both lost it. 

      I think my issue started when I was in the first grade.  My dad mowed the grass shirtless in the middle of the summer and, big shock, ended up with wicked sunburn on his back. (Rednecks?  Us?  Surely not!)  He moaned for days while my mom slathered aloe on his back and I stayed as far away from him as I could.  About a week later, his moaning had stopped and he was able to wear shirts again.  I let my guard down and resumed my life as a busy 6-year old.  After a particularly spirited game of hopscotch, I came in the house to get a drink of water.  Walking through the back door, I rounded the corner just in time to see my mom peeling skin off my dad’s back.  There, utterly frozen, sat a shell shocked mini-Bertha on the verge of losing her lunch.  “What’s wrong Bert?” said my mom.  “Come look at your dad’s back!”  I took off running, my head feeling itchy, my stomach feeling queasy, and my brain permanently, eternally, irrevocably etched with the nauseating display I had just witnessed. 

      I relay my reasoning to Red and as she laughs, my mom rounds the corner.  “All this fuss over a little sunburn?!”  Well, Mother, if Valentine’s Day is “all this fuss over a little heart-shaped chalk”, then yes.  Hit the nail on the head there, Ma!
      So you see?  I have a good reason for my phobia/weirdness/nausea.  Red, on the other hand, is just a wimp.

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

1 comment:

  1. Red does sound like a total wimp! Bloody stumps are are nothing to squeam over...but flakes of dandruff on a black shirt, now THAT's horrific.


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