Tag Archives: getting older

Warts and Unwelcome Surprises

My feet, without warts these days.

My feet, without warts these days.

I was certain I’d contracted the stupid wart during my time spent barefoot on the slippery deck of the middle school swimming pool, where we girls were required, by law, to take ten days of instructional swim.

After weeks of applying Compound W with no visible improvement, I pulled off my sock and showed the offending bump to my father and, a few days later, I found myself sitting in his car. As he drove down the Boulevard, he warned me that the doctor was probably going to have to burn it off. He told me it might hurt.

But I wasn’t worried.

I was tough.

I’d had a mouthful of silver fillings put in without Novacaine.

Besides, that wart was gross.

I wanted it off.

Dr. Stone’s office was dark and cluttered with odd pieces of furniture, weird lamps and gadgets. An olive green corduroy jacket drooped from a hook on the back of his door. After inspecting my foot for less than .3 seconds, the doctor walked across the room to retrieve a silver thermos from a cooler. Uncapping the top, white swirls of smoke escaped as he took an extra long Q-Tip swab and stirred it around in whatever magic solution was in there.

I didn’t flinch as the liquid nitrogen sizzled against the offending wart.

When he was finished, the doctor explained what was going to happen and what I needed to do.

I hardly heard him.

But then my father piped in. “While we’re here, doctor…” he started. “She’s got something in her left ear…”

What is it? I wondered. Is it a tumor? Why hasn’t my father mentioned it?

Dr. Stone flipped on his headlamp and leaned in to get a good look, his face too close to mine. His chair creaked.

“Ooooh!” The doctor pushed back in his rolling chair. “She’s got a big ole blackhead in there.” I swear the man giggled as he jumped up to get his instruments.

I was horrified. The wart was bad enough. I didn’t want another ailment. “Dad!” I whispered, covering my ear with one hand. “How long has it been there?”

“I don’t know.” My father shrugged. “A while.”

The doctor returned with an instrument of torture, which he used to scoop out whatever was inside my ear. This second procedure took forever. Every once in a while, the doctor made happy noises.

I sometimes think back to that day in the dermatologist’s office.

Back then, I thought the worst thing that could happen to a person was getting a wart. Or a blackhead in her ear.

Now I know better.

tweet me @rasjacobson

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Coming Clean About My Age

My birthday is coming up, y’all.

Yup, this summer girl was born in November.

You know what that means.

My parents got busy around Valentine’s Day.

It means this year I turn 50.

Whaaat?

Well, kind of.

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...

Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucille Ball once said:

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

How much do I Love Lucy?

Here’s the 411.

When I first started teaching, I was 23, just a few years older than some of my 12th grade students!

When I introduced myself, I made a point of tacking on a few extra years. I said I was 25. Seven extra years seemed like the right amount of padding.

When I moved to New Orleans, I continued to add years. I felt I needed the cushion, so parents would nod and smile instead of raise disapproving eyebrows. And so my students would believe I was seasoned and complete my assignments without giving me grief.

I never lied to my employers. The Headmaster and English Department Chair at Metairie Park Country day School knew precisely how green old I was when I was hired.

A few years ago, I realized I’ve been in my 40’s for nearly fifteen years.

And that made me remember my grandmother who told people she was 29.

For decades.

After she stopped wearing wigs and wore her thinning hair in loose ponytails wrapped in twine, she was 29. After her eyes dulled and her skin wrinkled, she was 29. After her toenails yellowed and her remaining teeth fell out of her mouth, she was 29.

It was preposterous.

No-one bought it. It was silly and a little pitiful.

I vowed to go the other way.

So I padded.

This year, I could have told my students that I was 50.

Because if you tack on five extra years…well, I look pretty freaking good for 50, right?

Feeling groovy.

And yet.

I’ve kind of caught up with myself.

These days, I am grateful for this body that continues to get me where it needs to go – even if I sometimes have headaches and get dizzy and fall down. I am grateful for my eyes, which still appreciate all the beauty around me – even if the view is a little blurry. I just have to remember to find put on my glasses. I will never have pretty model’s hands, but I have four fingers that help me to tap out what I want to say. Fingers that help me punch buttons on the phone to speak to old friends and new. Fingers that are attached to hands that reach out to offer assistance, to squeeze shoulders. Hands that are attached to arms which can swallow people up in hugs. And even if my vocal cords are toasted, I realized I have these things called ears that work really well, too.

So the jig is up.

Lucy, we’re back to living honestly.

On Sunday, I’ll be 45.

Right where I’m supposed to be.

A wife.

A mother.

A daughter.

A contestant on Survivor.

Just kidding.

But a girl can hold onto her dreams, right?

Have you ever lied about your age? How are you doing with the growing older thing? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

My Reading Glasses: Revisited

I’ve had my reading glasses for over a year now. At first, if you’ll remember when I posted about new glasses, I was suffering with the concept of how the damn spectacles represent that my eyes are getting older and that, by extension, I am getting older, too. I’m getting used to the concept. Some of you suggested that I try to find a pair of glasses that I really love, so I don’t feel as though I’ve lost my mojo.

Well, I’ve been trying. So here’s what I’ve got:

My actual prescription pair.

These are okay. They are kinda boring though, right? Anyway, this was my starting point.

Round?

These turned out to be some weird, unintentional tribute to John Lennon. So. Totally. Not. Working.

Do I look like a sexy librarian? Hmmmm. Not so much.

These are a vintage pair of specs from the 1960s that I picked up at a local street festival for $2.99. I like them a lot, but the burnt-orange finish is peeling off.

Okay, this pair is a hoot. Emergency purchase. On the way to school one day, I realized I did not have my glasses. Question: How would I ever be able to read all those English papers without glasses? Answer: I wouldn’t. So, I stopped at my local Walgreen’s and snagged whatever I could find in my prescription. There were two choices. I grabbed this pair and, without ever trying them on, made my way to the register. This pair cost about $15. In the classroom, I realized the frames were completely crooked, and no amount of bending or manipulating would make them sit right on my nose. That was a long day. (These glasses now live in our downstairs library. And by library, I mean, bathroom.)

These are my Drew Carey‘s. They are quite awful, but in a weirdly fabulous way. I really like them. I mean, I know I look like my dad in 1963 – but I actually think they are kind of hot. I think I am starting to love them.

My son used these for Halloween when he dressed as Harry Potter – about 6 years ago. They are useless, of course, seeing as though as they are completely lens-less. Still, if I could find a real pair in hot pink or apple green, I might be persuaded to go for them. 😉

I’ve decided that finding the perfect pair of reading glasses is kind of like dating: While searching for the right fit, I’m enjoying all the different types out there. And who knew there would be so many different types out there?

My Annual Birthday Poem: A Terribly Self-Indulgent, Truly Narcissistic Post

Today is my birthday. I’m um… a year older than I was last year. 😉

Every year, for as long as I can remember, my parents have sent me a birthday card. Generally, my card arrives about two weeks early. This year’s card arrived on November 11th, so they are getting closer.

Inside the card, my mom always tells me that I am beautiful, that she remembers my birth as if it were yesterday, (I’ll bet she does), and she wishes me happiness, good health and good luck.

My father always writes me a poem. Well, technically, they are written an anonymous poet, whose handwriting just so happens to look exactly like my father’s script. Since nobody writes anymore, I have come to cherish these little ditties that my father (I mean, “anonymous”) pens for me.

This year’s poem reads:

There once was a girl named Schuls
Who didn’t care much for jewels
Her greatest wish
Was for people to be good in English
And follow the grammar rules.

And it’s true: I don’t care much for diamonds or pearls or rubies or emeralds or gold. And I do wish everyone would walk around with his or her grammar style-book at all times (just in case of an “affect/effect” emergency). But my greatest wish is that my parents stick around for a really long time – at least another hundred years – and that they keep sending me their fabulously goofy cards once a year. At least two weeks early. Their continued wackiness makes getting older a little easier.

Do you have a favorite birthday ritual?