Sorry about that, Mr. Cash. But that’s what has been taking up much of my time, lately. Church softball. It’s harder than it used to be — playing, that is. I find that a philosophical approach is helpful when trying to draw meaning from those painful moments in the outfield when the other team adds a run or two at one’s expense. Philosophically, I stand there, breathing usually, the grass being very green and grasslike. And with the clarity of the sage, truths come to me. Truths like, “I’m old,” and “I’m really old.” I was cruising this planet before that grass was even born. Somebody needs to mow it, by the way. Sort-of like I need to shave my beard-thing. I’ve had it for eight whole months, now, longer than standard. It started back in August on the canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area in Minnesota. So, that’s what I’ll do tonight while my aches mature and my legs try out new colors: shave my goatee. Or is it a fu manchu? You know, it’s that popular moustache-chin combo that is so horribly trendy I thought I’d never acquiesce. It is no longer the same dark color it was back when this ballfield was still in a seedbag over at Ace Hardware. The gray does make me look old-er. That’s the plan…tonight I pull out the razor and rage against the sage and what might turn out to be half-truths. Tomorrow I’ll look like me again. And if anybody’s taking note, what looks like slowness of movement might really be a measured savoring of whatever’s coming my way.
I am of the opinion that some nurses live their lives with potent amounts of aggression built up inside them. Most of them probably aren’t even aware of it. Sometimes that aggression has to come out. And sometimes we’re there when it does.
Today I had a mole removed from the inside portion of my right thigh. Probably not a problem, but my doctor and I decided to be cautious. He was about to carry out the procedure, but then made a last minute decision that some shaving would make his job easier. He called the nurse, and she proceeded to depilate the concerned region. Good. The doctor cut away the mole, and the nurse chemically cauterized the wound and covered it with a self-adhesive bandage. They gave me instructions and good wishes before leaving me to reclothe my lower half.
Well, not only are nurses harboring pent-up aggression, but they’re sneaky about its release. I wasn’t even aware of what had taken place until doctor and nurse were gone. Here is a photo of the area where the remoal occurred. We’ll label it Fig. 1.
Okay. What do you notice? Do you see?
That’s right. Both ends of the bandage are firmly attached to REMAINING HAIR! Walking away, I could feel the pinch, pinch of many little hairs struggling in their follicles against the pull of medical dastardliness. If my leg is going to have a bald, blighted-looking patch and spend the next few months regrowing itself, anyway, why not shave enough to exceed the reach of whatever adhesive strip is required? That’s all I’m asking. How hard is that? Aggression, I tell you.
But…the telling point is that my nurse actually had yet another gentle option that she did not use.
In Fig. 2 you can see that the length of the bandage is 7.75 cm, reaching well past the width of the shaved section. Now look at Fig. 3.
Almost 9 cm of cleared land lies open for the taking! THIS bandage could have fit into THIS shaved oval without offending any uncut hairs, but that was not the choice that was made. I was just thankful the nurse didn’t see fit to further secure the bandage with that nuclear-powered tape used to punish IV patients. So, dear readers, be nice to nurses. The follicles you save could belong to someone you love.
Now, eventually I must remove the bandage, while a nurse somewhere chuckles in her sleep. Not that I’d obsess about it or anything.
Even if there had not been thunderstorms every evening this week, I was occupied, anyway, with vacation Bible school. You know, I love kids, but VBS is an overload of an otherwise usually wonderful segment of our human population: children (or “short people”, as one frustrated teenage volunteer kept calling them, as in “All short people, line up over here!”) The adults who organized the week did such a good job, and we had more children than expected, which was exciting; it was a successful week. But it was so tiring!
VBS tends to focus and concentrate certain aspects of modern childhood into an episode of near-fatal proportions for some adults, especially adults like me who are introverted and not battle-hardened by having kids of my own. Think about it…there’s both the excitement and fear of being around other kids your age…there’s the fact that several devious parents obviously fed their children raw sugar chased with energy drinks before fiendishly dropping them into our care…there’s the sheer inability to pay attention to any verbage not screamed in a high, cartoon-like voice…there’s poking…there’s retaliatory poking…there’s preemptive poking…there are sudden outbursts of screaming and fits of indignant non-participation that proceed from no stimuli observable to the adult senses…there are (Jesus, have mercy) Kool-Aid and cookies…there’s messin’ with someone’s stuff…there’s the complete non-comprehension of English sentences even though these children were birthed and raised by literate English-speaking parents….
Seriously, though, I know VBS does a lot of good, and even most of the adults get a real blessing from it. When the light of coherence comes back to their eyes sometime early the next week, they hear themselves saying things like, “You know, that was fun.” I had fun, too, in between the obstacles, and many of the children and I had moments of meaningful communication, maybe even some bonding.
VBS might be so important, in fact, that we should raise its status and priority in church life, being careful not to overburden or rush the teachers and organizers of it. The best way I can think of to accomplish that would be to hold it once every four years, just like the Olympics (but without the running with fire, please!).