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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mary Gets Bit, or Workman's Comp! Workman's Comp!



In a perverse move understood all too well by those living in the temperate climes, Mother Nature has done an abrupt about-face.  Gone is the smiling sun.  Here is a pummeling mixture of rain and snow.

The pines several houses down, the tops of which loom fully five stories above their herbaceous neighbors, sway in gusts reaching up to 40 miles per hour.

I had reflected on this when I had dialed in, sick, to work.

Three hours later, I am discussing it with Mary. 

“Ahh,” Mary says wisely.  “Eye problems, again?”

I move the phone from one ear to the other.  “What’s that?”  It’s 9:00, and my lipstick’s not on yet.  Makes me slow-witted.

“An eye problem,” she repeats, grinning.  “Couldn’t see going in, could you?”

Now I am grinning.  Lipstick applied or not, wit is the way to start a day.

“I, well, I kind of – “ I sniffle, cough pitifully into the phone.

“Pffff,” Mary hisses.  “I’ll see your head cold – if that’s how you want to describe it – and raise you a facial spider bite.”

“On the face?”

“On the face.  Left side, disturbingly close to the mouth.” Mary Beth, a woman with the exquisitely white skin of the certifiably Irish, reacts badly to sun, mosquitoes, dust, wind, pollen, heavy starches, and spiders.

Her pet peeves are judgmental people and believes that life happens while you are making other plans.



Mary laughs, a sound reminiscent of late-night bonfires and hugging, swaying singers.  “Surprisingly, I’m not a fan of home surgery.”

“Except for a bit of light trepanning,” I say.

“One must find ways to enjoy one's self,” she demurs.

There is silence.

“OK,” I say.  “Tell me about the spider bite.”

“Remember that house I cleaned last week?”

“I do.”

“Voila,” she says.  “Spider bite city.”

We distract ourselves, momentarily, with several bars of Bowie’s Suffragette City.

“Seriously,” I say. 

“Seriously,” she says, “Jon’s giving me crap about it, but I’m going to the doctor later this morning.  It’s looking a bit volcanic, if you get my meaning, and I’m going to Milwaukee this weekend for a wedding.”

She sighs heavily.  I hear T-Bone’s dog tags, know that she has bent over and is scratching him behind the ears in a sophisticated and complex series of movements she refers to as “giving him the business”.

I sniff mightily.  My head hurts, but I smile, picturing Mary, T-Bone’s beaming Labrador-ness as his favorite person hits just the right spots.

“Who’s a sensitive person with sensitive skin, T-Bone?  Who’s a sensitive person?”

34 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

Seems Mary, being quite contrary, got tangled in Miss Muffet's poem.

bill lisleman said...

A bit of wit for breakfast gets the gears turning. The skull hole procedure - I saw a few old skulls of "patients" in Peru that were drilled. I can't imagine much relief from that.

Pearl said...

Simply, there should be an award for that. :-D Nicely done, sir.

Bill, I've always pictured trepanning done at parties you're dying to read about but would be terrified to attend...

R. Jacob said...

“An eye problem,” she repeats, grinning. “Couldn’t see going in, could you?”

Oh my, I might get a tattoo with that saying, where I would put it is still to be determined!
I am open to suggestions, please be kind!

Pearl said...

R., put it on your resume. :-)

esbboston said...

When I saw your title with the repeating words, "Workman's Comp!", for some reason it reminded me of the scene from an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Barney gives (I think it was Gomer) Gomer a traffic ticket for something, and then moments later Barney makes an illegal u-turn, and then Gomer is yelling out "Citizen's arrest!, citizen's arrest!"

Shelly said...

Well, we all have our kryptonite. Although she tames and bounces bears, Mary's just happens to be kryptonite. She still deserves a cape for her bear work.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for calling in sick..Mondays and Fridays look suspicious.

esbboston said...

.... Yes!, it was season 4, episode 11, and it was Gomer.

Pearl said...

esb, I can totally see that! :-)

Shelly, Mary's skin is like a baby's. A baby made out of China.

Delores, just one of the many things one learns over the years. :-) I should write about that, shouldn't I?!

Bodacious Boomer said...

Sorry you're in the less than wonderful weather kiddo. You're welcome down here anytime. It'll be 83 here today, which I know probably sounds great; but remember in two months it'll probably be 100+.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Poor Mary! Tell her I said to take care of herself, for sure!

I have a little song I sing/chant I do whilst scratching Deakie boy's hinderparts, as he waddles back and forth, savoring my efforts, and I say it in HIS voice, which sounds a lot like Jimmy Stewart's, intoning the words very rhythmically, and it goes like this:

"Step to the left,
Wag YOUR tail,
Step to the right,
Do-it-again,
Now you're doin' the Deak. E. Dance,
Oh, yeah,
Doin' the Deak. E. Dance,
Oh, yeah,
It makes me want to prance,
Oh, yeah,
Doin' the Deak. E. Dance."

Pearl said...

Bodacious, today's high will be in the mid-60s. :-) Minnesota is fun!

Susan, I could hear that in my head. :-) Good ol' Deak! (and good ol' Susan!!) Mary will love it.

CarrieBoo said...

I hope they don't have to amputate yer mate's head...

jenny_o said...

My knees are weak now, and it's a toss-up whether it's from picturing the spider bite, thinking about trepanning, or laughing :)

Pearl said...

CarrieBoo, there's already been talk of a tourniquet...

Jenny-O, It's all I ask: to make you weak in the knees. :-)

vanilla said...

Mary is something, keeping her sense of humor under such circumstances, especially given a wedding in Milwaukee on Saturday.

Buttons said...

You make me laugh even if you are not 100% Mary sounds very interesting:)

Mamma has spoken said...

My son had a spider bite once. He was on antibiotics for the infection. The doctor recommended that we put a hot compress on the spot several times a day to help with the swelling. Well one day, while removing the hot rag from the spot, the spot exploded. Yes, it was like having a volcano on his leg, spewing copious amounts of puss into the air and landing in places one would never had thought it could land...

Suldog said...

Funny stuff, but (puts on serious face) spider bites are nothing to laugh at. MY WIFE had one once, right near her eye, and it swelled violently. She still has a bit of a droopy eyelid from it.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

If little Miss Muffet gets bit on the tuffet by a Brown Recluse spider (a 'fiddleback' spider named for the violin-shaped mark on it's back) Miss Muffet would be in rough shape indeed.
GREAT post, and a good spot to put out a reminder to people about this dangerous spider-it is in the Northern areas now. Take care! ":)

L-Kat said...

I hate the Minnesotans that have lived there their whole life that are still act surprised by snow in April. Either they are pathetically optimistic or have a really terrible memory. Ten inches up by my hometown!

I think spider bite trumps your "eye problem" :) Love it.

Eva Gallant said...

Love that eye problem excuse. But I would pass on the spider bite!

Glen said...

hope your cold shifts fast :-)

Pat said...

I strongly reccommend that Mary does not go to Australia.

Daisy said...

Having lived and loved a Labrador, I'm glad Mary is getting the comfort of "labrador-ness" in her time of need! I hope Ms Dolly and Ms Lisa are providing some for you too!

Linda O'Connell said...

Ahh, poor Mary and poor you. Get well girls.

The Elephant's Child said...

Them spiders is vicious. One attacked me in the shower a while back. Fortunately (given the acres of available flesh) it bit me on the thumb. And died. I swear I didn't do anything other than shake it off. I am obviously toxic to spiders.

A get well soon wish for both you and Mary.

Tempo said...

It's funny but living in Australia you kinda get used to being bitten by things and spiders are one of the better things that can getcha. Except the Red Back (Black Widow)and the dreaded Scottish Bagpipe Spider. (you play the bagpipes until you drop dead..a terrible way to go)

River said...

I've never yet been bitten by a spider, usually I see them first and give them a good whack with my flip flop. I hope Mary's face calms down quickly. I think T-Bone is a perfect name for a dog!

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Exploding spider bites are in the same league as that Twilight Zone episode where the ear wig travels thru this guy's head and comes out his opposite ear. The tension is extreme and seems to resolve into a happy ending, until the doctor tells the guy the bug had laid eggs in his brain!

Head transplants for both you and Mary.
Rosemary

NellieVaughn said...

Poor Mary. A few years ago, a black widow attacked my hand. It itched for a couple of days, and then, things got much worse. Disgustingly worse.

hoodyhoo said...

Thank you so much for saying "Workman's Comp" instead of "Workers' Comp." I still say "Workman's," too, and every time I do Chuckweasel calls me Grampa.

Jenn Jilks said...

I love this piece!
There is something to be said for 'phoning in well!'