Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Scalpel Ball-Change!

Those of you who keep track of such things in your endless scrapbooks and shrines and erotic fan fiction no doubt remember my adventures last year having two lumps removed from my head. They were benign glops of flesh-like keratin commonly called pilar cysts—which would be a great name for a despotic South American boy band—and their removal entailed tolerable amounts of pain, gooey gobs of Polysprin® in my hair and a week of bloody spots on the towels I used to protect my pillows.

And while one of the lumps got the hint and quietly disappeared into that great biohazard incinerator in the parking lot, the other one got all creepy-ex-boyfriend on me and grew back even bigger and more painful than before.

So I had it hacked out again on Monday afternoon. And this time my dermatologist took a sizeable chunk of flesh with it (with bits of hair attached! and I got to see it!) to ensure it wouldn’t reroot for a third appearance. Because you just know Pilar Cyst III would be one of those embarrassing straight-to-DVD affairs, and my life is really better suited to grand openings, red carpets and legions of smiling tap-dancers.

Speaking of, four hours after my cystectomy I found myself flailing about in a tap studio for my first tap class in over three years. I’ve been trying to take tap classes all over Chicago since I moved here in 2000. But every class I’ve found has been prohibitively difficult to get to … and even harder to get home from late on a weeknight. So last week when I discovered that the brand-spanking-new Joffrey Academy of Dance offers common-people tap classes at reasonable evening times a mere four blocks from my office, I dusted off my tap shoes (literally—it’s disgusting how much filth can accumulate on a pair of shoes when they sit on a shelf for three years), cleared my Monday and Thursday evenings for the foreseeable future, and worked myself into a giggly lather of epic excitement. I was back on the tap scene! And I wasn’t going to let something stupid like head surgery keep me from an hour of rhythmic shuffle ball-changing!

The Monday class was a beginner class, and while it’s always good to brush up on your technique, the class was very beginner. Like Mel-Gibson-and-the-marriage-vows-dating-scene beginner. Like James-Dobson-and-the-truth beginner. Like Carrie-Prejean-and-the-alphabet beginner. And half an hour into class, the anesthetic in my scalp wore off. So while I was glad we weren’t doing any exertive tap combinations that would obligate me to flail my throbbing head to and fro, the endless droning of fa-lap fa-lap fa-lap fa-lap fa-lap fa-lap fa-lap ball-change did nothing to distract me from my sudden awareness that holy shit there’s an oozing stab wound in the back of my head.

But! I made it through class and got home without oozing Polysporin®-coated brain matter all over the (convenient! to me at least!) express bus (right outside the studio!). And now I’m giddily counting down the minutes until Thursday’s advanced class. And this time I’ll have cleaner shoes, dryer wounds, a smoother scalp and a pre-emptive dose of Ibuprofen coursing through my veins. Along with the faint hope that one hour of foggy-headed brush-up will be all I need to hold my own in my first serious tap class since February 2006.

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