(Relatively) Unashamed

We won’t be watching any more presidential debates. Not as long as Trump’s part of them, anyway. We will, though, watch the vice presidential debate tonight. We want to hear what Kamala Harris has to say and see how she performs under what we anticipate to be a barrage of attacks and insinuations about every socialistic or liberal thing she’s ever said and done. Besides, everything tells me that of the two, Biden and Harris, she’s the one to watch.

In my last post I mentioned joining, then immediately quitting, a Facebook group. Today I unfollowed a guy, not on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, but (of all things) on Goodreads. When members I follow review books, Goodreads emails them to me. For the past two months, I’ve been getting daily reviews from one particular person. Reviews of big, 500-plus pagers that run the gamut: fiction, nonfiction, biographies, even textbooks. No one can possibly read, absorb, and review a book a day. I suspect he’s plagiarizing others’ reviews. I also think he wants to be an “influencer,” his target audience the amateur book review community. Go get your fifteen minutes of fame somewhere else, buddy.

Our granddaughter Taylor and her boyfriend Jordan are driving down from Phoenix to visit us this Saturday. They’re staying for dinner, then driving back that evening. I’m going to put ribs on the smoker and Donna will make potato salad. Taylor and Jordan both work in the gym industry, so we’re a little nervous and will take precautions. It still jars to have to think about, plan around, and reassure friends and readers we’re taking measures to stay safe during this goddamn pandemic. I don’t want it to be the new normal. There’s nothing normal about it.

One of my favorite bloggers, Nancy Nall, described something that happened when she went in for her annual mammogram:

“The clinic was running late, though, and I didn’t get in until 25 minutes past my appointment. I was feeling a little testy about this, probably displaced testiness from current events, transplanted into an area where I’m normally very chill. The tech apologized for the lateness: ‘The earlier patient got some bad news, and needed some extra time to get herself together.’

“That was a shaming moment, right there.”

Been there, done that. My most recent shaming moment was at the dermatology clinic. As the doctor was getting ready to examine me, she said something to her PA about melanoma, and I said “that’s a word you shouldn’t say in front of a patient.” She took it the way I meant it, jokingly, but a minute later shared a confidence: she has to tell a patient he or she has a melanoma almost daily, and dreads it. Counting my blessings, me.

Our daughter Polly’s been worried about a sore spot on her nose, and now that she has medical insurance asked me to see if our dermatologist could work her in as a new patient. I checked at the front desk and they said no way. Then, during my exam, I asked the dermatologist directly, mentioning that Polly’s only four or five years younger than I was when I had my first basal cell carcinoma, also on the nose. And guess what? She said yes, and Polly has already been to see her. They’re doing a biopsy and we’re waiting for the result, although in our experience when they take a sample for biopsy they already know what it is. And so begins Polly’s dermatology journey, following in her father’s, mother’s, and older brother’s footsteps.


I’m competing with the loud ladies of Donna’s sewing guild zoom meeting the next desk over, so will sign off for now, but not before inflicting on you my latest shameless selfie, sporting my new haircut, freshly-trimmed beard, and skin cancer-free face.

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