Have you ever wanted to leave a different impression on folks around you than you actually do?
Yeah, me too.
In high school, boys found me cute. Now to all you high school age boys reading this, please note that the way to a girl’s ummm, heart, is not via the word “cute.” By the end of my senior year, I had had it with that word. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my older sister, Judy, was seriously sexy. Nope. Nothing to do with that.
As I entered English class one day, my friend Jonathan was still chuckling over something adorably cute I had said or done in the class we had together earlier in the day.
“Elyse,” he said, chuckling, “you are so cute!”
“Really?” I responded. “Damn it, I always wanted to be voluptuous.
Jonathan’s mouth, no doubt, is still hanging open.
Years later when I played basketball for a law school team (I was an honorary student at the time with gym privileges), I wanted to be tall. Very tall. Sadly, tallness is something you cannot fake. Especially if you are 5 foot 2. Damn. And did I mention that I’m slow, too? Yeah. Molasses.
But I’m resourceful, so when my opposing guard, all 12 feet of her, hovered over me whenever I got down court towards my basket, I improvised. I shot the ball from center court. Of course I made the shot. Alas it was before you got 3 points for such skill.
Shooting hoops is a skill that has helped me throughout my lifetime. I am never, ever, out of reach of the trash basket. Yes, I am that good.
As I’ve aged, though, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would never be either voluptuous or tall. So I wanted to be intimidating. Physically intimidating. At 5’2″. You got a problem with that?
You’ll be pleased to know that now, and for the near future, I could scare the hell out of you. Or anybody. If only I’d remember to.
Where I live, the guys who design the roads like to pretend that we are waaaaay out in the country. They do this by insisting on putting one lane bridges over bridges that cross streams connecting two pieces of major roads. These road designers either have bizarre senses of humor or a sadistic streak. Maybe both.
As you drive towards the one lane bridge, you note a white line and a “yield to oncoming traffic” sign.
It’s terribly quaint. You are expected to take turns.
But this is 2014, and there are lots of overachievers around here who flunked only one course on the way to their advanced degrees: Turn Taking.
On Sunday, I approached one of these bridges, slowed down, and stopped at the white line. It was the oncoming car’s turn. After the driver of the oncoming car went, I started forward to take my turn.
Flying down the hill towards me and the one lane bridge I hadn’t yet reached, was someone who didn’t know how to take turns. And she wasn’t going to stop her Mercedes SUV for me.
My mouth ran on with some choice words, but my foot wisely pressed the brake, and the collision that would have otherwise occurred, didn’t. But I was, pissed. And swearing. And really wishing that I was a frightening, imposing looking person so that I could chase after the asshole and confront her. Yell at her. Threaten her. Teach her how to wait for her bloomin’ turn.
A mile down the road I stopped short and pulled over.
“SHIT!” I shouted as I realized that I had missed my chance. My chance to stand in front of someone and scare them. To make them wonder just what I am capable of. To wonder if they would be able to survive an encounter with me. All 5’2″ of me.
Because you see, these days I’m a wee bit scary looking. I look like I’ve been in a knife fight. Like an abused wife. But like someone likely gave way more than she got.
Yup. You can call me Scarface.
Remember last month when I told you about the Valentine’s gift I got? You remember, don’t you — I got melanoma! (Although, I would have preferred flowers.)
In the intervening weeks, I’ve de-melanoma’d. Yup, I’ve had it taken out by a plastic surgeon. And while I will look just fine in two shakes of a dog’s tail, right now I look a bit intimidating.
AND I DIDN’T USE IT! I didn’t chase after her and make her fear for her life! I didn’t teach her how to take turns! Damn it! I coulda been a contender!
* * *
This was just a little ditty to let you know that I had my surgery, that I am now cancer free and just fine, thank you very much.
But what about you? Did you do what I told you? (No comments from you, Guap!)
Save your skin. Right now. Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:
- Go into your bathroom
- Take off all of your clothes
- Examine your skin
- Check spots, moles and discolorations carefully
- If anything doesn’t look right, if you have a bad feeling, if something is bigger or darker or just different, go to a dermatologist and have it checked out.
Even though I look pretty scary now, I won’t for long. But I won’t forget to use what I have — I will intimidate assholes for several weeks until my scar fades.
But you know what? The real way I’ll get back at folks who don’t know how to take turns is to take away their sunscreen. That’ll fix ’em!