Joplin — I’m aware of my nose.
I first read about the concept of becoming aware of something that normally we take for granted when I was a kid reading a collection of “Peanuts” cartoons. Really, is there a better comic strip than “Peanuts”? If there is, I’m not sure what it would be.
Sure there are great comic strips out there and there have been great comic strips in the past, but for my money “Peanuts” is probably the best.
How great is it? It’s so great that more than 11 years after the death of Charles Schulz — the creator of “Peanuts” — the strip is still repeated in hundreds of newspapers across the country.
Anyway, in the cartoon one of the characters, I think it was Linus, says, “Oh no. I’m aware of my tongue.” I remember reading that cartoon and immediately becoming aware of my tongue.
Since then, I have occasionally become aware of my toes. I’ve become aware of my elbows. Sometimes, if I am wearing a pair of socks that I feel don’t match what I’m wearing, I will become aware of my socks.
Now, I am aware of my nose. You know how every once in a while some sort of growth will pop up on your nose? Usually, the little growths pop up right before an important event like a prom, a wedding or a Republican presidential debate. Most of the time, these growths are relatively harmless and go away as soon as the important event is over and nobody cares what you look like.
When I have one of those growth issues on my nose, I immediately become aware of my nose. And, if the growth issue is enough of an issue that I can see it, I become even more aware of my nose. That’s because the issue often is so close to my eyes that it looks more like Mount Rushmore than a small growth issue.
But that’s just me.
When you have a growth issue on your nose, you also become aware of other people becoming aware of your nose. You find yourself talking to someone and you can’t help but notice that person is trying desperately not to look at your nose while, at the same time, looking directly at your nose. What it does is give you a deeper understanding about what Dolly Parton has put up with on a daily basis.
At first, my little growth issue went away. Then it came back. Then it went away. Then it came back. This happened for about two months until it dawned on me that maybe I should have someone with a medical background take a look at my growth issue. So, I called Dr. Mark Matlock’s office. The nice folks there said Mark could see me on Friday. Mark looked at the spot on my nose. I told Mark that my wife had already decided that I had skin cancer and that I was going to die.
My wife tends to be that way. Many years ago I had a health issue that required a surgery. When my wife heard that I needed surgery, she sort of overreacted. How did she overreact, you ask? One day, shortly before my surgery, I looked out the window of our home and noticed there was a hearse sitting in our driveway.
“Why is there a hearse in the driveway?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s not supposed to be here until tomorrow,” my wife said.
My wife’s a worrier is what I’m saying.
Mark looked at the growth on my nose. He said it didn’t look like skin cancer, but he said the growth needed to come off. After he removed the growth, Mark told me that had I waited much longer it would have been much tougher to remove. He said it was a good thing that I called when I did.
I made a note to remind other folks not to put off calling somebody if they think something might be wrong with them. Simple procedures can become complicated procedures if left unchecked.
So, now I have a Band-Aid on my nose. I feel like Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown,” and I’m very much aware of my nose.
But at least I can tell my wife to cancel the hearse.
Mike Pound is a columnist for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.