Non-fiction, Published

On The Nose



Published January 9, 2016 in
Wraparound South
This is a personal essay about the day skin cancer was removed from my nose. It is quite funny, not preachy or morose. What was it George Bernard Shaw said? “If you tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ ll kill you.”

On The Nose

by DL Shirey

In high school health class they called it the Triangle of Death, part of the educational philosophy to increase learning retention by overdramatizing worst-case scenarios. Whether it was that memorable label or the photo in the textbook, the angst was enough to make my face break out. The book showed a pretty teenage girl with a red polygon superimposed on the center of her face. The bottom points aligned to the corners of her mouth, the top of the triangle at the bridge of the nose, smack between the eyebrows. It was red for a reason; no popping of pimples or pulling of nose hairs, we were told, should take place in this danger zone. It’s where blood vessels, nasal passages and tooth roots jumble their wires together, and three senses–taste, smell and sight–all have major ports of call. Here, physiologies collide, the continental plates of anatomy meeting at one’s own, personal San Andreas fault, just offshore the brain. One tiny infection or a little internal bleeding and BANG, instant coma.

So what’s worse, 30 years of triangulated anxiety or getting skin cancer there?

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