I once had a roommate who requested my help in performing a bleach intervention. This otherwise incredibly elegant, poised woman was incapable of doing the laundry without ruining some dark-coloured item of clothing by splattering chlorine bleach on it. She said, “TAKE THE BLEACH AWAY!” So I did.

I am now wondering for the very first time if there is any connection to this and the fact that one of the VERY few Spanish phrases I know means “non-chlorinated bleach” (blanqueo sin cloro – and evidently I couldn’t even get this one correct – I was double-checking myself and I was adding a couple of festive rhyming syllables – blanqueadoro sin cloro – which, evidently, means “blanqueadoro without chlorine”). Hmmm. Food for thought.

But, SURPISE, that’s not the point. It’s just that I got to thinking that perhaps – just PERHAPS – it was time that I asked for similar assistance. Unfortunately, there is a whole list of items in my life that require intervention. In other words, if you see me with any of these implements, wielding them in a [self-] threatening manner as though I may ACTUALLY USE THEM, please have pity on me and wrest them from my grip (gently – I WILL hurt myself and upon occasion the random unsuspecting bystander). These objects include, but are not limited to:

  • The “freeze-away” type of wart remover. Though I have, in the past, successfully used this item “as directed,” I got a little over-zealous recently and made, well, holes in several of my extremities. I suppose they mean it when they warn against “serious burns and permanent scarring.”
  • The so-called “foot cutter” or “callous shaver.” I told the story of this particular debacle here. Perhaps I should enlarge the scope of this point and simply include any tool that has a “sharp long lasting blade made in Germany.” I still have this implement – MWAH HA HA HA HA HA (and other maniacal laughter). Don’t make my feet mad. (?)
  • Ah, yes, more “personal hygiene” items. If ever people have wondered why I have, for the most part, embraced a very “natural” look, read what I can do with “beautification” devices and wonder no longer. Someone should DEFINITELY take the “eyebrow waxing” stickers away from me. Again, I have successfully utilized them in the past, but get me in a determined mood and I will harm myself. Several months ago an enthusiastic session with these handy little doo-dads left me with two large scabs where my eyelids once were. True, you won’t BURN yourself with wax that’s too hot, but you can LITERALLY rip the skin right off your face. I tell you, I should have left my eyebrows the HELL ALONE. I addressed other eyebrow issues here and here.
  • And in case you were wondering, ignorance IS bliss (or at least protection of sorts). There’s yet another cosmetic device that I recently had the misfortune of identifying. No, I had not known what that thing was (therefore had not deigned to injure myself with it), that little thing in the manicure/pedicure kits that looks like a cross between a shrimp de-veiner, a teeny-tiny grapefruit spoon and some sort of zester. Sadly, I came across something that classified it as a “cuticle remover.” My feet would have no doubt shrieked in terror and run away from me (that sounds really odd – I guess I could have USED my feet to run away from the very sharp little thing but my BRAIN didn’t know any better) if only they had wee mouths. Or big ones. (?) With the first toe, I was very impressed at how swiftly it just sliced away the ugly cuticle. Alas, as you can imagine, with anything sharp that incises (and me), bleeding is the end result.
  • Okay, SCREW beauty (it’s safer) and lets talk “home improvement.” I should certainly be restricted in my use of the Mr. Clean™ Magic Eraser™ to situations involving soap scum or tire rub. Same ol’ story, really; a little zeal goes a LONG way. Read about my abuse of this truly fine gizmo here and here. Heaven shield us if I ever get my hands on the Mr. Clean™ Magic Eraser™ Extra Power. It’s very tempting…
  • Here’s one in which I did have the good-willed intervention of co-workers. When I worked in Genetic Research I really liked drinking my coffee out of the Smurf mug. Alas, I must interrupt this program to say to you, as I repeated ad nauseum to many “inquiring minds” at the time, NO, they cannot CLONE YOU or, for that matter, your HORSE, nor can they put the horse’s DNA on a “CARD” and read it in a few seconds – However, if you suffer from a number of ailments which they are, at the moment, studying, a study coordinator, who may or may not be a very poor phlebotomist, can take your blood and ask you lots and lots of endless questions about the disorder. And they might LOOK AT YOUR BONES or have you BREATHE INTO A MACHINE.

    As for the Smurf mug, I don’t know where it came from (we had quite the collection of random, abandoned mugs, BUT YOU WERE NOT TO TOUCH THE FROG MUG BECAUSE IT BELONGED TO MANAGEMENT). I just thought it was festive – you know – I smurfed my coffee every smurfing day with a smurf and a SMURF and, unfortunately, upon many occasions I spilled and/or hurled the smurfing coffee upon myself and/or important study documents. Smurf. I received, as a thoughtful (and protective) gift, a lovely TWIN set of coffee mugs with safety tops from my co-workers. I kept forgetting to bring these containers to my last job. That was BAD. Anyhoo, if you see my drinking a beverage (especially a hot one) out of a vessel that is not hermetically sealed, I (and possibly anyone nearby) am in imminent danger.

  • For your OWN protection, I’ll add the following warnings:
    1. If, perchance, you are ever with me at the movies and we decide to have communal popcorn, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let me put the salt on it. Let’s just say I like a lot of salt on my movie popcorn. A LOT. I’d probably toss the contents of the bucket with salt licks if it were feasible. Sometimes I actually remember to bring my own little Tupperware salt shaker, but I usually forget…
    2. DO NOT start a conversation (especially a phone conversation) with me if I seem tired. If you think I am the Queen of nonsequiturs and tacit segues HERE… HAH! You must HANG UP IMMEDIATELY (or tell me GO AWAY, PLEASE GO AWAY). I’m tired quite a bit, unfortunately, so there are days it’s just best if I SHUT UP.
    3. When the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling of the airplane always put the mask on YOURSELF before you assist your children (they are smaller and breathe less air, evidently) or prior to assisting the aged and/or infirm (they’re probably sucking down on oxygen anyway). And if if they do not have those tiny little life jackets that look like water wings you are welcome to comfort yourself with the idea that the seat cushion can act as a flotation device (don’t you know they make ALL the finest ocean liners out of the same sub-standard upholstery material because it’s so BUOYANT).

    Oh. And DO NOT run with scissors, as you may be mistaken for a beautician and asked to cut people’s hair WHENEVER.

    I, personally, have NEVER attempted to cut ANYONE’S hair. I have no doubt this is a wise choice. When I was very, VERY young I did cut Shirleen’s eyelashes off with cuticle scissors (DAMN those cosmetic implements!). Oh, CHILL – it was just ONE eye and she let me. The result was disturbing, apparently, though subtle. My Mother just stared at her trying to figure out what was wrong. See? Good thing I was not RUNNING with those little scissors…