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    Poor Hester Prynne had to wear a scarlet letter “A” for the rest of her life. Her only mistake was that she lived in the wrong place. Had she lived in Tucson, the home of the University of Arizona, she would have been admired as a faithful Arizona Wildcat Basketball Fan, and her fellow citizens wouldn’t have scorned her one bit. They wouldn’t even have asked her, “Why are you wearing a scarlet letter “A”? They would have cheered her, as well as the school color.

    So, Hester wore an “A,” and I, after successful Mohs surgery, look as if I have been kicked in the face by an ass—not the surgeon—but by a petulant mule, who kicked me under my eye and left the 1/2 moon imprint of his hoof. Now, strangers peer at me, and say, “What happened to you?” Of course it’s the big, white bandage on my face that attracts them.

    Covering a boo-boo on your leg or arm isn’t so noticeable, but on your face, unless I’d wear a long black veil, or put a bucket over my head, there’s no place to hide. I know that the scar under my eye will fade, but in the meantime, I had to come up with some snappy rejoinders other than the trite, “You should have seen the other guy.”

    One stranger asked me, “Were you in an accident?” I said, “No, I did this on purpose.”

    My next rejoinder to the curious was, “Oh, Nuts!” Isn’t this October? I thought it was Halloween.”

    Then, “I am a member of the famous Schmeckel Dueling Society.”  That one really worked. The stranger quickly scurried  away.  

    My favorite come-back was, “ I wanted a unique picture for my Holiday Greeting Cards. It will be either this one, or the picture of my colonoscopy.”

    I did find out that it is a huge mistake to tell  people the truth about my surgery, because it gave them the opportunity to tell me how much worse their surgery had been than mine. One woman regaled me with the tale of how she ended up cockeyed.  Not a pleasant story, but the telling made her feel Oh, so much better.

    I tried saying, “The scissor slipped when I was trimming my bangs,” but it left one woman so horrified that I never said that again.

    A person can always answer a question with a question, so I said, “Have you ever slipped while branding a cow?’

    Pretty soon the bandage will be put aside, the scar will fade and the onlookers will lose interest. In the meantime, I have discovered that the best answer for inquisitive people is,
    “Why do you want to know?”

    Esther Blumenfeld (All better and sassy as ever)

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