Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  My Wife and Times
Daniel Will Harris

The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. —Ed].


So Sew—Keep em in Stitches

By Daniel Will Harris

I was feeling fine until the phone rang. It was a doctor's office, and it's never a good sign when they call you. The nurse told me I had a little skin cancer patch on my forehead—a squamous cell carcinoma (which sounds suspiciously like Sasquatch)--and it needed to be cut out.

What? Cut? But...

She said they'd give me stitches, as if this was some kind of added bonus, at which I immediately imagined them crisscrossing my forehead, giving me that always chic Frankensteinian look.

I've never had surgery or stitches or a scar and I didn't particularly want to start now, especially on my face. Not to mention that anything with the word "carcinoma" is scary, But the nurse said it was a simple thing that'd take 10 minutes then be fine. Usually.

I scheduled an appointment for the next day, even though I'd lived with the spot for I don't know how long. I'd never worried about it before but now I could feel it whispering like a ghost, saying, "I've overstayed my welcome, exorcise me!"

I only hoped I hadn't waited too long. I immediately went online to read all about it, which was comforting, except in those instances when it was horrifying.

From there my imagination whisked me a few months down the road to where I'd have one of those distinguished scars I could say I got from a great white shark. Or a crack head.

The shark excuse seemed more plausible, given there are actually more great white shark attacks where I live than anywhere else in the world, so it could have happened. I could have been kayaking, as sharks tend to think kayaks are seals and try to bite them, and the rest is etched on my forehead.

My head is only still attached to my body because I used the oar to bop the shark on the nose. And perhaps to make it believable, given my dubious outdoor skills, the shark could have been an infant, just teething on me. Something manly and dramatic like that.

You did want the details of the procedure, didn't you? I'll take your stunned silence as a "yes."

Before I knew it I found myself at the dermatologist's office, sitting on a chair that could become at a table, at least if the doctor knew how to use the controls. He tried one foot pedal that almost sent me catapulting off the chair, then another that nearly gave me whiplash. "It's a new chair," he said. I hoped he wasn't using a new knife.

The numbing part hurt, the rest didn't. The doctor said he'd put the scar in one of my "wrinkles" which I thought was a bit harsh (no euphemistic "laugh line" or anything), and said he had to be careful lest it change the shape of my eye or make my eyebrow raised like I was in a permanent state of disbelief. Oh, great! Now as well as my other failings I could end up asymmetrical!

Before I had a chance to hop in the car and find the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who's done so much for Michael Douglas, the doc started cutting—then he stopped, surprised at how much I bled. Perhaps his other patients aren't human, but if you cut me, do I not bleed? You're darn right I do! He hissed for the nurse to get a clamp and then continued. I felt nothing except terror and a pervasive thought that I'd have to spend the right of my life wearing a scarf around my forehead. I was comforted by the fact that it looked so good on Johnny Depp, then discomfited by the fact that I'm not Johnny Depp.

Then I heard more hissing and felt what seemed like cold air, only to learn it was really something akin to a red hot soldering iron cauterizing me so I wouldn't bleed. And then it was done.

The nurse bandaged me up, covering half my forehead in what looked like taupe electrical tape so it seemed like I'd had a run-in with an insane interior decorator. If it wasn't a good look, at least it was temporary. I had what felt like a headache, then itching, then an unhealthy curiosity to see what it looked like.

Twenty-four hours later I did. I have to say it was a very manly scar that looked especially hip with the stitches. I've never had a scar, other than the emotional ones. But I figured it could be quite stylish now that pirates are in vogue ( ). Today a scar, next year a decorative eye patch!

Or, I could just own the Frankenstein thing and accessorize the ensemble with a jaunty neck bolt!

Who knows, I could start a trend—this year's "statement" that makes the tattoo passé! You just watch, next year everybody will have them! Poor Britney, just as she chose misspelled tattoos, she could follow this trend and think they'd look good on her wrists.

A week later I went back to have the stitches removed, after toying with the idea of simply pulling them out myself. I mean, how often do you get to do that? Like never. But, just in case something unexpected happened, I went back to the doctor's office, where the nurse pulled them out with a minimum of what they like to call "discomfort."

I looked in the mirror and could hardly see the scar, which was good, but I kind of missed the macho black stitches. Memo to self: a fine-tip pen could make realistic stitch marks. 

Then, with a maximum of what I like to call "searing pain," she took a can of liquid nitrogen to my face, burning off other spots here and there until I looked like I'd contracted a tropical disease. The scar was cool, the spots were not.

But as long as she was going I kept pointing out places—I figured if she was going to make me look like I had been in combat with a cougar I might as well look like I put up a good fight.

Then I asked her why parts of the scar hurt and others were numb and she said that was normal because of the nerves that were cut. Then she dropped the big one, explaining that if the doctor had cut the wrong nerve, my eye would have drooped like I'd had a stroke. It's good no one told me this, because before the doctor could have made an incision I really would have jumped off the chair, numb forehead and all, to find Charo's plastic surgeon.

But I made it through relatively unscathed, with a visible scar not nearly as large as my invisible ones.

Next stop, sunscreen. Stupid ozone layer! Where's Al Gore when you need him? (Hopefully running for President)

My Wife and Times Cover


If you would like to read more fabulous stories, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at on

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