I’m a Resident, and I’m Here to Help!

Our lack of publication may be summarized in three sentences: The editor is in grad school.  The three-year-old is feral.  And the author…well… He embarked on one of those leisurely quests through the medical establishment–a quest wherein a great many tests are conducted to discover nothing about him is uniquely wrong, excepting the ever-present cynicism and the sheep-themed website.

To date, I’m told, there is no cure for either.

That established, allow me to share what I have learned over the course of my long absence: most notably, that I am not an anesthesiologist.

Well… not usually, anyway.

Directions: Use to forget troubles. Side effects may include new troubles.

Directions: Use to forget troubles. Side effects may include new troubles.

And because I am not an anesthesiologist, and because I’m given to understand that most anesthesiologists don’t need to measure things in fifths, I’m loathe to offer advice to a member of that profession.  That said, recent experience compels me to offer a few words of advice to the dear, dear resident physician tasked with removing some of the more terrifying moles* from my chest.

(*And just so we’re clear, “mole” is being used in this instance to refer to a smallish skin blotch that has made its home on my epidermis and not a smallish, garden-dwelling mammal that somehow got lost and made its home in my wazoo.  This is an important distinction, and I’m trusting that the removal of the latter would not be trusted to a lowly resident–or, at the very least, not the resident who removed my moles for reasons which are about to become very obvious.)

Because my moles are legion…and because I foolishly told the resident to take off whatever she wanted…and because said resident was either enthusiastic, sadistic, or both…I was awarded ample opportunity to observe, review, and come to an understanding of the process. If I might be pardoned a moment of medical oversimplification, it can be summarized thusly:

1. Numb the area.

2. Check to make sure the area is actually numb.

3. Remove the mole with an insanely scary looking knife.

Actual picture of resident with scalpel

Actual picture of resident with scalpel

That established, let’s talk about the importance of step two–i.e., the one that simultaneously differentiates this procedure from the plot of a B-grade horror film and keeps the screams of your patient from echoing down the halls.  The resident attending to me struggled with step two.  She struggled mightily.  She had a scalpel, a needle’s worth of anesthesia, and God as her co-pilot.  Based on her actions, I assume that she assumed her needle was magic–that its touch could do no wrong.  The idea that it might numb an area a quarter inch to the right of the spot intended, consequently, was simply unthinkable.

And to her credit, she might have also been an ex-gunslinger, if the speed of her draw with that knife of hers was any indication.  By the time my rather vocal protest to the effect that we had omitted step two (and in the course of doing so uncovered some glaring shortcomings in the execution of step one) registered, she was already showing me my own mole with the giddy delight of someone who doesn’t grasp why someone else might not want to see recently severed portions of their own anatomy.

I’m thinking she needed a button.  Something to the effect of, “I’m a resident, and I’m here to help!”


The Size of Your Face

So if you needed another reason not to go to Sri Lanka, aside from ignorance of its geographic location and the fact it’s Sri Lanka, do I have a news article for you:

Tarantula the Size of a Human Face Discovered

Also, apparently, “the size of a human face” is now a standard unit of measurement when it comes to spiders.  Whose face?  I don’t know – presumably the guy running around shouting, “Help!  There’s a tarantula on my face!”

Apparently the Alien trilogy was shot in Sri Lanka.

Apparently, the Alien trilogy was shot in Sri Lanka.

Am I the only one who is neither excited nor titillated by the knowledge that we, as a species, have identified and cataloged a larger, scarier spider than we have ever cataloged before?  Call me short-sighted, but upon getting the phone call from some university or another going, “I hear they found a huge, creepy-ass spider out in Sri Lanka,” I fail to understand what motivates someone to go, “Gotta get me some of that!”  Thanks to this article, I spend my every waking moment terrified I will, spontaneously and accidentally, bi-locate to somewhere in Sri Lanka.  Furthermore, I have, and will continue to consider, doing something drastic enough to get on the government’s no-fly list just so I don’t find myself on a flight from Minneapolis to Chicago that diverts to Sri Lanka.  Yes, I understand the odds of these things are slim.  But that spider is real, and the odds cannot be slim enough.

Returning to the discussion of the spider, the article in question reads like the cliff notes for Arachnophobia.

The reason I carry an aerosol can and a lighter with me at all times.  ALL.  TIMES.

The reason I carry an aerosol can and a lighter with me at all times. ALL. TIMES.

If I might quote:

“The arachnid had originally been presented to [Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research organization] three years ago by villagers in Mankulam, who had killed a male specimen.”

At the request of the man in paragraph two, I would presume.

“Scientists immediately realised the dead spider was not like anything they already knew, and a group was charged with finding any living relatives.”

Presumably, the group doing the charging was their wives, and I’d hope the articulated mission was to ensure the living relatives in question were not living for long.

“It has been named Poecilotheria rajaei, in recognition of a senior police officer called Michael Rajakumar Purajah, who guided the research team through a hazardous jungle overrun by civil unrest in order to seek out the spider.”

On.  Your.  Face.

On. Your. Face.

Also, Poecilotheria rajaei just happens to be Sri Lankan for “Help – there’s a tarantula on my face.”

And if a spider the size of your face wasn’t enough to get you writing your congressman and demanding a tactical nuclear strike on Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte1, dig this.  Apparently, when pressed to provide a little more detail on the arachnid in question, their three adjectives of choice were “colourful, fast, and venomous.”  This inadvertently answers the questions of (1) how the spider ends up on your face and (2) what it does when it gets there.

It also raises questions as to what precisely happened to the previous village doctor, on which the article is silent – disturbingly so:

“They [the big @$$ spiders] prefer well-established old trees, but due to deforestation, the number have dwindled, and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings. […] The living Poecilotheria rajaei were eventually discovered in the former doctor’s quarters of the village’s hospital.”

Presumably the former doctor was not.  Before leaving on his flight to anyplace that was not Sri Lanka, my bet is that he was last heard telling the new village doctor, “Whatever you do, do not go in there.  There’s a spider the size of your face.”

1The capital of Sri Lanka, you geographic ignoramus.2

2Totally didn’t just look that up on Wikipedia.3

3Totally lying about not looking that up on Wikipedia.

Simple Hair Necessities

Let us begin with a simple proof. If an item is dead, it cannot (or at the very least should not) be characterized as either healthy or vibrant. Hair is dead. Ergo, hair cannot (or at the very least should not) be described as either healthy or vibrant. Indeed, if at any point in your life the substance growing out of the top of your head takes on properties that necessitate describing it as either healthy or vibrant, I would suggest you have a problem and recommend that you consider killing it – probably with fire and preferably before it gets too belligerent.

This is what healthy, vibrant hair looks like.  As you can see, Itt is not something to aspire to unless one is creepy and/or kooky.

This is what healthy, vibrant hair looks like. As you can see, Itt is not something to aspire to unless one is creepy and/or kooky.

Likewise, if you’re thinking you can skirt these guidelines by purchasing some sort of organic toupee , I would like to point out the following: If your toupee is alive, it means you’ve probably purchased a Chia pet by mistake or, alternately, have become a habitat for some furry, scalp-dwelling, woodland mammal. In event of the former, I recommend Weed-B-Gone. In case of the latter, a high-powered rifle and your friend’s best William Tell impression.



But to return at length to our original argument, there is nothing that Pantene Pro V can do which a good coat of shellac could not duplicate. The ubiquitous shampoo and conditioner ads wherein they promise a Lazarus-style regeneration and/or Schwarzenegger-esque body for your skeletal insulation overlook the fact that the stuff streaming out of our skulls was never alive to begin with. To summarize, zero times any fruit-scented number is still zero. And short of using a bottle of Herbal Essences to make a pact with the dark gods, one should expect their hair to be approximately as dead and flat when they get out of the shower as it was going in.

Speaking of the shower, I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss shampoo commercials and their flagrant disrespect for the space time continuum. Nearly all shampoos are marketed the same. Two seconds into the ad, show the product. Six seconds into the ad, show naked woman applying the product. Remaining twenty seconds of the ad, switch to slow motion while the aforementioned naked woman tosses her hair about like Shrek’s Prince Charming.

Hair with body like a sumo wrestler.

Hair with body like a sumo wrestler.

Ladies, if time is slowing down while you’re in the shower, it doesn’t mean you’ve picked a good conditioner – it means you’re approaching the speed of light. As a kindness to the rest of us, please don’t abuse general relativity while in the shower – you use up all the hot water.

Now, if any are struggling with the concept that their hair is essentially beyond help, there is always the option to get rid of it. (And for those who are unwillingly going down that road, might I gently encourage you to take the plunge as opposed to embarking on a desperate attempt to save it? I trust I need not remind you that there has not yet been a comb-over created that doesn’t make the combee look utterly ridiculous.) Besides, many a celebrity is approaching sphere-bald with great effect. Men, look to Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington, or Jack Nicholson. Yes, I understand no one wants to look like Jack Nicholson, but… Alright, you know what, forget about it.  Just forget I said Jack Nicholson, okay? Bad example.



Women, I know I have a harder sell here, but every eighteen to twenty-four-year-old male will tell you Sigourney Weaver looked mighty fine in the first Alien movie. I’m just sayin’.

Ultimately, we should all have a more utilitarian approach to our hair. Is your head too cold? Then I recommend you produce a little more. Is your head too hot? Maybe go for a little less. Is your name Jack Nicholson? Maybe you should see if you can look like someone else. Granted, I doubt Jack could pull off Bruce Willis. Maybe he should try for Sigourney Weaver. It’d be a good move for him.