Tag, You’re It–Part Deux

February 20, 2006 at 12:31 AM | Posted in Personal | 3 Comments
Go check out my archives for the story of the first time; this is a continuation of that story.  But that one is from about 1989, and this from the mid-nineties and the present.

So, another time, a few years later—

And look, I don’t remember exactly when. I could strain my brain really hard and estimate it, and be within three years. Or I could just tell you I did that when actually I’m just guessing, and say it
was…twelve years ago. Yeah, I looked it up. I went to a dermatologist because I had a lot (I thought) of skin tags on my neck, and maybe some on my inner thigh, I don’t remember. He froze
them off and billed me. I may not have ever paid that bill. I remember him being impatient when I was hesitant about showing the ones between my legs, and thinking, you know, I took a shower and put on clean underwear for you. I just as easily could have done the opposite.
But I guess it’s enough that I didn’t pay the bill. I showed him.

And here we are today. This was actually in August and September of ’05.
I had lots and lots and lots of these things, these tiny little mutant attachments to my skin. I didn’t feel quite like the elephant man, but I was very self-conscious about it. I always wore a shirt, did not want to go to the beach or the pool, and didn’t really even want to wear a shirt
without a collar, because that helped to cover them up. Here now, with a new job, ans new insurance, I figured I would see what is covered.
Not much, it turns out.
This is all considered cosmetic.  But I figured I would go, get an estimate, come up with some money and get it done. Well, getting a hold of the doctor’s office to begin with turned out to be a game of cat-and-mouse. He had office hours Tuesday afternoon most days, never on Wednesday, first of the month somewhere else, and lunch from 11am to 1pm the next day. Closed Monday. Leave a message, but don’t count on a return call. Jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow, but NEVER jam today.
I finally got in to see him, in a satellite office, and realized that he travels around a lot from office to office. Is he the only friggin dermatologists in the metro area? Could be. I go in, sit on the table, and wait.  When he comes in, and as he is asking me questions, he grabs something off the wall connected to a cable, then begins to go after me.
It’s a soldering iron! A freakin soildering iron!
That is the essence of it, anyway. He said the way they used to do, freeze them off, didn’t work as well, and left marks.
The burning, that works. I had over a hundred tags on my neck. Imagine, just imagine, someone coming at you with a soldering iron, and touching you with it over 100 times. The prisoners in Abu Grebe experienced less pain.
I should explain, the tags themselves have no nerve endings, thank God, but are connected directly to the skin, and the best place to burn them is at the root, near the skin. So he is hitting that every time. I started to see stars. I thought I was going to pass out. I needed something to bite. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. Ever.
He apologized several times, explained that most doctors would want to do it a different way, and charge about 1500 dollars for it, and the insurance won’t cover it because it’s cosmetic. This was the only way. His words were lost in a swirl of pain. It hurt so much I started to laugh in disbelief at how much it hurt. And probably for about fifteen minutes this went on. He continued to apologize, and I understood, although I still wanted to punch him and stab him with the soldering iron. In the face.
When we were done, I showed him the ones under my arms, and he said, let’s do that next time, you’ve had enough pain already.
…So I didn’t have to kill him.
For now.

And then, it took about a week for them to fall off, like rotting fruit. Kind of disgusting. Luckily, I wear shirts with collars, so most of it went unnoticed. But finally they were gone. A few very small ones remained, that he missed, but honestly—he got over a hundred of them. That’s a lot.
I made another appointment for the ones under my arms. The doctor explained briefly that I should
get this certain medicine from the pharmacy, a cream to cover the area, like a topical analgesic to make it less painful.
But it was still scary, and without much provocation, I missed the next appointment, I was running late, and didn’t really try to hard to make it. But I called and made a new appointment several months after the first session. I had the cream, so I went to the bathroom to apply it to my underarms, and then put my shirt back on. Of course I didn’t realize this was defeating the purpose, and I had missed some important steps. He had actually told me to apply it and cover the area with plastic wrap so that it would stay on the skin, not soak in, and not be absorbed by my shirt.
He examined them and said these are too big to burn, I’m going to have to cut them off. No sweat.  Except I didn’t realize I could feel EVERYTHING. So the first time with the soldering iron was the most pain I had ever experienced in my life.
Until this day. Basically, he had a pair clippers that looked a little like wire cutters. I have no doubt that they were sharp. This technique for removal:  a) apply the clippers, b) squeeze to cut, and c) with a flick of the wrist, pull or jerk the cutters quickly.
I’m holding my arms up over my head for this, and biting a rolled up piece of paper towel. I am
making noise through it, too. It goes on and on and on. And on. Next arm. When he was done, I was I in shock. I had no idea what was going on–and no idea that I was bleeding profusely from dozens of places.
He applied gauze and bandages and pressure, and made me stay for about hour, until the bleeding stopped. That night, my wounds needing tending–wrappings changed and what-not.
My wife couldn’t do it. It was too gross for her. Luckily my son was there, a budding teenage psychopath, so he took care of it. Some of my open cuts were as big as quarters.
I look at it now and see very little scarring left, but it is very hard to convince myself to go back so he can do the same thing to the ones on my inner thigh. It’s the thing that keeps me from having an extramarital affair. Cause, you know, whoever I’m with–if I can convince them to venture down that way–may see these things, and…you know. This is not the most enticing site. So there is that, and yeah, my undying love for my wife and desire to be faithful, and our wedding vows, blah-blah-blah.
Men are pigs. Glad to be one.


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  1. before I even read anything you\’ve written:
    also, I knew if any man had the balls to comment on what I wrote the other day, it was going to be you. lol. Go Bryan! you are one of the few I\’m not currently pissed at!
    now I\’m gonna read whatever you wrote..
    hugs and tugs

  2. Ouch!!
    and not all men are pigs….

  3. Stopping in…haven\’t been to your space in a while.  I see you are still sticking up for the male species, you off my planet!  lol just kidding, sometimes it\’s nice to have a man around….

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