Last night I went to bed with my normal complexion: dark circles under my eyes, some burgeoning laugh lines, and this disturbing crevasse between my eyebrows. You know, the typical face of a 41 year old mother of three who spins way too many plates. I woke up this morning to a pimple on my cheek. Yesterday, no sign of impending acne doom. Today, yikes. How does this happen? More importantly, why does it happen to me? Oh yeah, I collect unfortunate events like some people collect hoarding materials.
Speaking of unfortunate events, here’s a doozy. And it really happened. As in, my collection of unfortunate events is more impressive than your’s, so neener neener neener. But I must say, when you are a collector of unfortunate events, it pays to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. So, feel free to laugh at my expense. (Laugh track shall commence in 3, 2, 1….)
My senior year in college, three important elements collided one morning. 1) I was really into this hottie (who is now my husband); 2) I was taking an anthropology class and it was mid-terms; and 3) I am “sensitive” to mosquito bites.
That morning, I woke up to an odd sensation. I hadn’t been awake long enough to have a clue what was wrong, but something was definitely not quite right with my world. My windows were open and I could hear the birds chirping their little selves silly, the sun was shining, and all should have been hunky-dory. But as I stumbled out of bed and brailled my myopic way to my mirror, I knew something was rotten in the state of MY Denmark, to be sure. Squinting at my reflection, I looked, well, odd. Putting on my spectacles may have made things focused, but less rosy. It seemed, Houston, that we had a problem. A very big problem.
At some point, during short hours between my going to sleep and waking up, a mosquito had bit me on my upper lip.
Now, for some of you, this may not seem a calamity. But for me, it was.
Picture, if you will, lips that are normally fashionably full. (Having trouble? Take a gander at my pic. I’m still amazed I’ve never been asked to be a lipstick model. Oh well.) In fact, my lips are much like other parts of me and decidedly not thin. (Might explain the lack of modeling contracts.) So, combine that lusciousness with a mild allergic reaction to mosquito saliva, and you have extreme puffing. As in, my upper lip was so swollen as to touch my nose. (This is NOT hyperbole.)
Really, try to imagine just what a calamity this was. I mean, talk about an unfortunate event of magnificent proportions.
Realizing just how damaging this bizarre lip-look potentially had upon my future dating opportunities, I quickly beat-feet to the campus nurse who took one look at me and starting dishing out the Benedryl like an over-zealous drug-pusher in a housing project.
Armed with enough Benedryl to drop a horse, I stealthily crept back to my room where, over the sound of distant nurse-like laughter, I phoned the anthropology department. The secretary, whom I’ve known since admission back as a freshman, sounded sympathetic. My professor did not.
As in, “A mosquito bite? Huh. Well, I’m afraid you’ll just have to muddle through your mid-term with your mosquito bite to the best of your ability.”
Frakkin’ cerebral types.
So, I slunk my way across campus, armed with my best Benedryl-addled anthropology memories and the largest sunglasses and hat I could find. (They, by the way, only drew people’s attention. But then, having a three-inch-thick upper lip obstructing your nasal passages really can’t be disguised by sunglasses and a ball cap anyway.)
I walked into class, sat down, and commenced acting as if everything was absolutely normal. My classmates weren’t duped. Of course, I sounded like Darth Vadar, so their powers of observation weren’t necessarily over-the-top. By the time my professor handed me my exam, the Benedryl was kicking in enough to make focusing my eyes a major challenge.
Cut to the good part. I managed to ace my test, although I’m pretty sure I drooled on it when I lost consciousness there for a bit. And when I put my test on the stack, my professor did tell me I was welcome to miss any future class I deemed necessary. Fat lot of good that did me then. The damage to my social status had already been done.
That night, by the time I awoke from the Benedryl coma and stumbled to dinner, the hottie was kind enough to tell me that my lip almost looked normal. (He was lying. It took several days for the swelling to go down and the dead skin to all slough off.)
I wish I could say this was an anomaly. A freak occurrence. Something so outlandish as to never happen again. But I cannot. Because I collect unfortunate events like some other folks collect handbags or shoes or power tools. But at least I can laugh at the whole thing. After all, I’m a comic. We’re supposed to find things funny. I just have way more things to laugh about than normal folks.