SLACKJAW by JIM KNIPFEL
March 25, 2012

The Unspeakable Bump Part III: Cherubs With Gigantic Asses

 

I didn’t find out about it until later when Morgan told me, and I think that’s a good thing. You have to wonder a little bit about a doctor of any stripe who fills his office with large and gaudy statues of cherubs. A pediatrician is one thing, but a man who’s about to take a scalpel to your head is something completely different. If he hadn’t been the only doctor in New York willing to take a wild stab at the procedure, I might have run screaming. Of course, maybe the fact that he was the only doctor willing to try it should have been further cause for concern.

        Those weren’t the only problems. When we arrived at the office, the receptionist handed us a postcard advertising all the doctor’s assorted services. There was nothing on there about removing loathsome oozing cysts from the head. There was quite a bit, however, about Brazilian buttock enhancement. I don't know what that means, but it was something I was hoping to avoid.

        “The whole process will take forty-five minutes,” he told me. “No more, no less.”

        That didn’t help things either. I wasn’t sure I fully trusted a doctor who would be keeping one eye on the clock the entire time he was messing with my head, just to keep his record solid.

        There was more than a hint of Dr. Nick Riviera about the man, but like Dr. Nick, he was quite charming and friendly. Given that I had little choice in the matter if I wanted to get rid of the stinking, oozing and painful monstrosity on my skull once and for all, I had to take my chances, even if I ended up with a gigantic Brazilian ass or outlandish boobs in the process.

        On their third album, Killdozer included a song about cyst removal which ended with the lines, “My heart wept when it occurred to me what I had done, for my soul would burn for the destruction of this little life.” Those lines were running through my head as I signed the release forms and the doctor explained the procedure one last time.

        “So do you think you’d like a Valium or a Percodan before we get started?” he asked.

        “Oh, that won’t be necessary,” I told him. “I’m not worried.”

        He went away for a minute to make some arrangements, then returned. “Have you ever done any partying?” he asked. “You know, with a little pot or some alcohol or anything?”

        I had no idea what he was getting at. “Um, yes?”

        “Okay, it’s just like that. So why don’t you let us give you a Valium and a Percodan? In fact, we can all have some.”

        Moments later his assistant showed up with two pills, which she dropped into my hand. Then she waited to make sure I swallowed both. This was already becoming as weird as I was expecting it to be, but what the hell?

        Before the pills could have any kind of effect, Morgan and I were led to a small dressing room where I was instructed to remove my shoes, watch, and shirt (“because we don’t want to get blood all over it,’ the nurse explained). I could leave my pants on for some reason, and was quickly shuttled across the hall into the operating room. It was all accomplished with much less ceremony and prep work than I’d ever encountered in a real hospital. I was told to stretch out on the operating table and a large man who spoke little English began inserting IVs and clamping things to me.

        Then the music kicked in. I’ve always been fascinated by the music chosen for operating rooms. In this case it was the Rolling Stones. I don’t know if that was supposed to be a comfort or not, especially when “Sympathy for the Devil” came on.

        The doctor entered a few minutes later. “Not so bad, is it? Got some drugs, got some rock’n’roll.” I tried hard not to think about the fact that this was the man who would be cutting my head up in the immediate future. And sure enough, he did. I remember thinking then that I was just glad he didn’t have the hiccups.

        “Now, you’re going to feel a little pinch,” he said before sticking a needle in my scalp. That’s another one of those things doctors always say and they’re never right. A needle puncturing your flesh is not “a little pressure” or a “little pinch.” It feels like a needle puncturing your flesh. But whatever it was, I felt no pain after that.

        While that in itself is a good thing, the problem was I could still hear things. The pills hadn’t kicked in enough to dull any of that. I was still perfectly wide awake. As he cut I could still feel him tugging at the small flap of skin, and I could feel the blood trickling through my hair. And all the while he, his assistant, and the large foreign man were discussing world politics. I chose to keep my mouth shut and concentrate on the matter at hand.

        “Now you’re going to feel another little pinch and you might hear some scratching,” he warned. Although I felt no pinch, I did hear the scratching, and it didn’t take long to realize that I was hearing the scalpel blade scraping against the bone.

        That in itself was unnerving, but then every few minutes he tugged something away and plopped it down on a tray next to my head. “There’s another piece,” he said. “All these Reese’s Pieces.”

        Meanwhile “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was playing for the second time.

        After he had cut away what he hoped was the entire core of the cyst (down to the bone), he mopped up the wound as best he could and began sewing me up. “Have these scissors been autoclaved?” he asked his assistant.

        “One of them has. I’m not sure which one.”

        “Yeah, I need to get a scissors sharpener one of these days. Do they make those?”

        The entire procedure from the moment we walked in the office took about an hour and a half. I don’t know how many stitches I have back there, but I don’t much care either. My Manitou is gone now, and I can stop thinking about that little fucker. The funny thing is, those drugs didn’t go to work until Morgan and I were on the way back to my place. Maybe that was part of the plan. Well, no matter—we had a few beers waiting for us, and Morgan wanted to mop up the dried blood that was matted in my hair, along with the thick fresh blood that was still oozing from between the sutures. I, meanwhile, was just a little disappointed that I hadn’t received a new Brazilian ass in the deal.

 

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