Saturday, January 30, 2010

Setting Your Face Afire

You too can set your face on fire.

Start with blod-thinning medication designed to prevent a stroke. Wait 45 minutes to an hour for the medication to take full effect. Scratch the bridge of your nose. Ignore, initially, the sensation of blood streaming from your nose, through your beard,down your neck, and onto your chest where it pools after soaking your black, long-sleeve, pocketed t-shirt, leaving a permanent, albeit invisible stain, the approximate size and shape of Illinois, or Indiana.

A handful of paper towels will wipe up the largest part of the bloody mess. Though it seems to run with the breadth and depth of the Mississippi River, you will discover that the bleeding can be staunched with a cotton ball, its blood-soaked fibers matting like a second skin. Three or four Wet Wipes will make you presentable.

Go back to work. Forget about the cotton ball sitting, just out of sight-- out of sight: out of mind-- on top of your nose.

At this point, a critical variable will drive the outcome. Are you a smoker? Well, here's another reason to quit. If you are taking a blood-thinner, you are old and infirm. If you are old and infirm, you are miserly. If you are miserly, you'll scrounge through the ashtray looking for a butt long enough to relight. With any misjudgment at all, as you bring your lighter close enough to ignite the half-sized cigarette, your cotton ball will explode into flame, like kerosene-soaked tinder, setting afire your eyelashes, eyebrows, mustache, and beard as you bat at it. The cotton ball still forgotten, your attention is focused on the only salient fact: your face is on fire.