Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Fix Parenthesis

I took Austin to a dermatologist today. He had something on his elbow that I thought was probably a wart. I didn't want to go get some over-the-counter medicine and treat it myself though for fear that it wasn't in fact a wart and I'd be putting salicylic acid on a spot of skin cancer or something. And if I had even mentioned the possibility there was a wart on Austin's arm, I just know my mom would've told me to put a tomato on it. My dad, the Greek, might have suggested Windex just because he's seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding too many times. But I could just see the doctor reprimanding me, "Well, he'd be just fine if someone hadn't burned a hole through the cancer and made it spread to his entire arm."

Anyway, after filling out some paperwork, we sat in the waiting room where a 50,000 inch TV played infomercial after infomercial about Botox and Microdermabrasion. I briefly glanced at the TV and rolled my eyes. Why do people subject themselves to this? Are wrinkles really that bad? Looking at the "before" pictures, I honestly couldn't see anything wrong with the women that required fixing. I glanced back at the TV as I heard them excitedly assured me that with Botox, I'd still be able to smile, frown, and look surprised. Oh yeah. Sign me up for that. I especially like the part where they let me know I'll be able to make a variety of facial expressions. You know, just in case I was considering the procedure, but that was the one thing holding me back - worrying that I wouldn't be able to convey my feelings of surprise to others. The voice on the TV continued, letting me know that it shouldn't look like I have parenthesis on my face. Parenthesis? I thought they were "laugh lines". I like "laugh lines" better than parenthesis. Laugh lines are like a badge of honor. A medal, or trophy of sorts received for living life well and enjoying it.

I dismissed the infomercials and asked Austin how the meeting with his counselor went today. He told me that he'd signed up to take Japanese next year. That's right. The kid who doesn't want to do any homework is going to learn a foreign language and not just any foreign language, but a language that has a whole 'nother alphabet! An alphabet that looks like chicken scratches to my untrained eye. Very pretty chicken scratches, but still, characters that are completely indiscernible to me. Yeah, sounds like a good plan. "You know, Austin. Japanese is going to be pretty hard to learn. And where are you going to use it? Why didn't you take Spanish or French? I think they'd be much easier to learn and you'd probably have a better opportunity to use them. By the time you get to your third year of Japanese, I have a feeling it's going to be really difficult."

"Oh, I won't get to my third year," he informed me. "I have a better plan. I need 3 years of language, so I'm just going to take Japanese 1, then I'll switch to French 1, then I'll switch to Italian 1. I'll never have to take a hard class."

SIGH "Oh Austin," I lamented, shaking my head. You do realize that once you start to get the hang of the language, you'll be moving on and starting ALL OVER AGAIN, don't you? Not to mention the fact that you won't come close to fluency in any of the languages so it's really not going to do you much good."

Our conversation was interrupted by the receptionist who told us that her son, a senior in high school, was taking German, going to Germany this summer, and hosting a foreign exchange student from Germany this spring. We started talking and somewhere along the way, she mentioned that she had 5 kids and the senior in high school was her youngest.
After my jaw actually hit the floor, I closed my mouth and blurted something classy like, "There is NO way you have 5 kids and the youngest is a senior!"

She insisted that her oldest was 30 and she had a grandchild. She didn't look much older than 30 herself! After picking my jaw up off the floor again, I turned back to the TV and the Botox commercial and gave it my rapt attention, taking notes, even.

So, we were taken back to a room where we met the doctor who looked like a life-sized Barbie doll - tall, thin, blond, flawless skin. I immediately hated her asked her how she was going to treat Austin's arm. She described the treatment plan which included cream, lasers, and duct tape. I think that's what she said anyway. I was too busy trying to figure out if she'd had Botox to really pay attention. After she talked about the treatment, she looked at Austin and asked him, "What are you doing for the acne?" He stared at her blankly. First off, his face really isn't bad. He has a little acne, like most teenagers, now and then. It's certainly nothing that has ever bothered him. He kinda shrugged his shoulders and told her that he sometimes washed his face. OK then. She said she couldn't let him see a dermatologist and not even bring up the subject, so she gave him a bag full of samples of acne medicine.

Then she turned to me and said something like, "This cream plumps up wrinkles too if you want to try it." Then she scrutinized my face and kinda shook her head like I was a lost cause beyond the help of even Botox. My hand immediately flew to my forehead where I quickly brushed my bangs in my face, then I carefully and strategically placed my hand over the lower part of my face to cover my "parenthesis".

The trip ended with with some snazzy blue safety glasses, a laser, and the smell of burning flesh. I can't wait to take him back in 4 weeks.


Sandy in Illinois said...

Just in case no one has said that you are funny yet, I think you are.

Dawn said...

Thank you Sandy. Now I can sleep. :)

Frau Mahlzahn said...

You did not? Honestly! Please tell me you just threw in the last two sentences for the whole fun of it!

Seriosly. I'd never even walk in to a Dermatologist who runs Botox informacials in the waiting room. I mean, how much care do you honestly think she'll put into treating real things, when all she wants to do is to make a lot of money with Botox? God.

So long,

Deborah said...

I'm with you, Dawn! Laugh lines are GOOD! People who look artificially young ... I feel sorry for them, thinking that they have to look young forever. Yes, my face is beginning to look older. Yes, my hair is getting more and more strands of silver. So what? That's life! And I love it! And I love reading your blog, hon!

Anonymous said...

Funny and informative! Wish someone could hand me some free anti-wrinkle stuff!

Jennifer said...

I went to the dermaltolgist last week and she was the plainest, most unfortunate woman I have ever seen. But I have to admit that she didn't have any makeup on, and her skin still looked nice.

Knitty said...

I'm laughing over this and your comment on FB about reading comments. :-D

I'm not without vanity...why else would I pick out matching clothes, wear jewelry and makeup when I don't plan to leave the house and am not expecting company? I think it is sad that some fall victim to trying to look 21 forever. Obviously not everyone who has a little work done falls into that trap, but we all have seen Joan Rivers with a face sometimes so tight her eyes are in danger of being over her ears. How Picasso-esque!

If your face wears a frown most of the time, all the Botox in the world isn't going to change your outlook. Maybe you'll look better in a photograph, but the real you will be visible to people you meet face to face.

For the record, I think you look great. Of course I am old and not wearing my glasses at the moment. Maybe I should put them on. This is the Pioneer Woman's blog, isn't it?


~Tammy~ said...

LOL Dawn!
I am a mom to 7, my oldest is 30... the Surprise! Surprise! twins are now 13. I get comments all the time that I don't look old enough to have 8 grandkids.

I have never had any cosmetic anything... I hardly ever even cosmetic cosmetics!

Anyway, about the "acne"... my middle son was hit hard with it. We tried several "As Seen On TV" cures, which helped some. But what really cleared him up, and has worked on the next few boys with acne is: bath soap. Ordinary bathsoap. I usually get whatever is on sale, so we have used Zest, Irish Spring, and other brands. The son who "discovered" this would wash his face and leave the soap lather on for 20 minutes or so, then rinse it off.
Have a great day!

Valerie said...

While all your comments about the anti-aging remindies made me laugh, I was sobered by the fact that the doctor was already trying to push acne medication on Austin, especially if it's not severe.

Don't fall for it Austin! I had mild acne in high school and my dermatologist had to say something about it, giving me a typical high school complex, and soon I ended up with meds that wreaked havoc on my face when all I really needed was a gentle cleanser and some clearasil.

Ugh, bad memories.

Shelley said...

Ok seriously, you didn't punch her when she said something about plumping out wrinkles? I'm not sure I would have been able to restrain myself.

About the foreign language thing...you should make sure that the requirement isn't three years of the same language. Here the requirement is two years, but it has to be two years of the same language. When my freshman daughter was picking a language, I said to her, "If you take Spanish, it will be easy because you had Spanish all through elementary school, plus I had Spanish in high school and college, so I can help you. If you take French, you're on your own." So of course? She picked French. Guess who failed the first semester of French, has dropped the class, and will be starting over with Spanish her sophomore year? Uh huh.

Kate said...

I have seen many dermatologists over the years, all for legitimate reasons, but I will say in my experience that they are the most medication happy group of docs out there. Dermatologists in general will not be happy until we are all globbed eight layers deep. It isn't uncommon to leave a derm's office with five prescriptions. Derms who are NOT like this are a rarity.

However...that said, I do think it is best to see dermatologists for certain issues. Sometimes people say you can see your general practitioner for this stuff...but I think they miss stuff sometimes, and don't really know how to treat it properly. So I think you were right to take him to see a dermatologist.

Brassy said...

Um, usually you need 3 years of the SAME foreign language. Poor, poor Austin!

Though, Japanese isn't that bad. And lots of teens are taking it now anyway. AND he can "practice" by watching anime. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I love this post!

Anonymous said...

Ah for a normal day.. Than you for making me laugh today I so needed it!

Cookie said...

Oh, how funny. I wrote about my trip to the dermatologist in my blog yesterday!
And I'm over 30 and taking Japanese 2... it's hard!

Lyuda said...

I agree with Tammie, sometimes soap works wonders. Yeah, it does dry skin, but then if you already have skin that is prone to being oily, then it's not too bad. Plus, there's always moisturizer. But, it was funny to see the face of the lady at the Clinique counter when I told her I used soap as part of my "routine". LOL

Ah..high school foreign requirements. Honestly, they were not that difficult (I took 4 yrs. Spanish), but maybe it was like this sometimes: one year, the teacher hardly taught but let us watch Spanish romantic dramas (no kidding! I think she liked them more than we did cuz she had this dreamy look on her face whenever we watched them. :-)

pmerry said...

My daughter, who is also not the best student in the world, is taking Japanese. You have to learn THREE different pretty alphabets each harder than the last....

And you look just fine. Stay away from the scary Barbie with the needle!

lori said...

tell austin me thinks he has to take 3 years of the SAME language in high school.

Michelle said...

You know, Austin is quite the creative little guy. I like it. Remind me not to tell this story to the wee ones. Ever.

Dana from Alabama said...

About Japanese, let me just say that after taking two years of Spanish in high school and hating it, I took Japanese in college and LOVED it. I even spent a semester of college in Japan. Yes, it is hard (3 written alphabets, very different grammar structure than ours, pronunciation quirks), but I thought it was easier than learning all the verb tenses and male/female stuff that went along with Spanish.

Plus, I think that Austin with his artistic abilities would really enjoy drawing the symbols. I did!

Marly said...

wow, I've never been to a dermatologist and you just made me not want to go. I want to age, all by myself!

I also can't believe she pointed out the acne. I mean seriously, not everyone has a complex about it. If he had come in asking about that, fine, but to bring it up is just annoying.

Oh, and you really are funny :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, My son was born with a growth thing above his eye by his eyebrow. When he was small I took him to the doctor to have it removed. The Dr. came at him with a needle to numb the area. He was not having it. Six years later he finally had it done and it was a wart.Now he has one on his nose :O Poor kid :( I had an appt. on Dec. 22 but cancelled because of Christmas pictures. And he also has really bad acne and is now on Tetracycline. The good part is he really is not self consisious about it.Kristine in Michigan.

That Crazy Mom Over There said...

Stay away from the Barbie... I hear it makes you become like a kid in a candy store! lol

pam said...

i'm giggling because next to this post is an ad for some kind of cover girl ageless make up; "four ways to firmer, younger-looking skin." that's fantastic.

Colleen said...

Hey Dawn....I am a huge fan...been following you since the eBay days & lovin it!

I see you do all kinds of charity work. I'm doing my very 1st charity "thing". I'm being arrested!! And my bail is set at $1600.00. There is even a video of info on my arrest. :-)

As I've said this is the 1st time I've done anything like this? What do you recommend as a way to get the word out?

Any help would be appreciated!!!
Colleen Ohler
St Helens Oregon

Jessica said...

Such a great post!!!

CDS said...

Here's one for you, at the salon, getting my hair colored, the woman next to me, states. I can get rid of your crow eyes in 30 seconds. I laughed, then realized she was dead serious, your on I told her. Turns out she was the manager of the cosmetic counter, at a well known retailer. Thirty seconds after the application, crow's eyes still there, just softened. They still call me to come in for free facial's, I guess you can say they have not given up on me!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it is my mood, but frankly, I would be completely annoyed by the dermatologist. I can't even say I would go back to her.

Good luck with Japanese, Austin. I had 2 years of high school Spanish. Still can't speak it....

jony said...

Oh, how funny. I wrote about my trip to the dermatologist in my blog yesterday!
And I'm over 30 and taking Japanese 2... it's hard!

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