Monday, January 26, 2009

You should see the other guy.

I have skin cancer. Again. Fortunately, after a couple of days, I have been able to move on from being upset about this. But it still opens up a whole range of bizarre conversations.

First I should explain, the skin cancer is two separate spots on my forehead. The first is a big scab because the doctor did a biopsy. The second is right over my eyebrow and is a big scabby red mark because the doctor decided to freeze it with liquid nitrogen (yeah, not happy. very not happy).

I feel like both marks are pretty obvious, but the one over my eyebrow is especially noticeable. Which leads people to notice it. And then they comment on it.

First lady (who is a friend and fellow professor): Are you breaking out?
Me: No, it's skin cancer.
FL: Oh my gosh! Oh, I'm so sorry I said anything! Oh, I really shouldn't have said anything.

Second lady: What'd you do to your forehead?
Me: It's skin cancer.
SL: What?! Why don't we have a prayer circle going? You should TELL people about that! We gotta get some healing up in here.
(I'd attempt to explain that reaction, but... I got nothing).

First Man: Did you scrape yourself?
Me: No, it's skin cancer.
FM: Completely horrified look. I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have said anything at all. Oh, I'm really sorry I brought it up.

I find these reactions very odd. If I had a problem with talking about it, I wouldn't respond honestly, right? But these reactions also make me feel like it is my fault for making the person feel uncomfortable. And, of course, I take a kind of sick pleasure in knowing that I am making them uncomfortable.

But, since I am making people uncomfortable, I decided that my next response will be "I burnt myself with a curling iron" (because that is about what it looks like). A decent response which will just make people leave me alone I think.

Then I thought it would be so much more amusing to say, "Oh, that's nothing. You should see the other guy."

So I'm practicing saying that with a straight face.


  1. You should say you got in a bar fight or something. Or that you got abducted by aliens and that's where they inserted the chip. That could be pretty hilarious.

  2. i think you should stick to skin cancer and then work on your fake crying... i bet people would bring you dinner or something.

  3. I like it when you say you have skin cancer and people say, oh my gosh I shouldn't have said anything... maybe next time they will think twice before opening their mouths and inserting their foot.... and you shouldn't feel like you embarrassed them.
    But the whole alien chip thing could be pretty hilarious :)
    How about, I was a big Harry Potter fan but the lighting shape is alot harder than it looks

  4. You guys crack me up! Now I'm kind of disappointed that it is looking a little better, I could get so much more play out of it.

  5. Hey Emily ..

    I am blogstalking your family and wanted to say hello ..
    but now I have to join the ranks and say .. is it all going to be ok? and by what do you mean again? AND .. I agree with Carla .. you could have gotten some goods out of this! ;)
    Have a good one!

  6. Just got the link to your blog, love it! So sorry about your skin cancer but I think you should continue to make people uncomfortable about it. Or stick with the line about the other guy, very funny. Carla has a good point about dinner, and maybe even treats too.

  7. Oh, I like that one Heather, about trying to be like Harry Potter. That's good.

  8. yeah the harry potter one is hilarious. please use that one emily and then post about it.