I would like to start this post by proclaiming I am not a sadist. Pain of any sort is not something that brings me pleasure. With that being said, there have been several circumstances that, when given a choice between pain and no pain, I chose pain. When considering the warped reasons behind these decisions, I have narrowed it down to two: 1. I have control issues 2. I am a sloppy conglomeration of a broke-ass, tight-ass, and dumb-ass.
Perhaps the earliest sign that when given the choice of the lesser of two evils, I was more prone to pick the one which usually ended with me thinking, “that’s going to hurt in the morning”, occurred when I was around 9 or 10 years old. My sister and I were brought up in the 70’s and 80’s and back then it was totally cool for parents to spank their offspring. It was expected. In my case, it was necessary. We would get the occasional swat from mom with the fly swatter or hairbrush for a variety of childhood mischiefs. She was harmless. The major infractions were dealt with by my dad and his belt and were avoided at all costs. The times Dad actually called his belt into duty were far and few between, but they were effective. Just seeing my dad’s hand graze his belt buckle made my knees weak and my brain would automatically initiate a quick conduct review. I don’t think I even comprehended that his belt had a functional purpose other than keeping me in check.
As I approached the preteen years, I became increasingly sassy (I know it is hard to believe), but I had never pushed things very far with Dad. One evening we had just finished dinner and my dad instructed my sister and me to clear the table and clean up the kitchen. The daylight was dwindling and I wanted to go back out and play and so I balked at helping. My balking could have been interpreted as whining, especially to a man who had just put in a full day as an overhead lineman. He reiterated the instructions, which should have been my cue to shut the hell up. Instead, I silently weighed my options. I could shut my mouth and clean the kitchen or I could show him how I really felt, get my ass beat and then clean the kitchen. I looked right at him, cocked my head to the side and stuck my tongue out at him. I got my ass beat. It hurt.
My teeth and pain have had a long tumultuous relationship. I managed to fall out of swimming pool when I was ten and broke off my two front teeth. A year or so later I was preparing to get what would be the first of my three sets of braces on my teeth and the orthodontist says I need to have two teeth extracted. After clarifying that ‘extracted’ was a fancy word for ‘pulled’, I asked him to show me the teeth that needed to go. That evening I helped myself to a few of my dad’s tools and locked myself in the upstairs bathroom. After a lengthy, grueling, and bloody tug-of-war, I emerged with the teeth I had mined out of my own head. My mother was appalled and I was relieved that I didn’t have to be subjected to the dentist pulling my teeth. I pulled my own teeth that weren’t even loose. It hurt.
It is logical to assume that after becoming a nurse and experiencing natural childbirth, as an adult I would fully embrace the wonders of anesthesia and as a rule, I do. In my mid-twenties I had to have my four wisdom teeth cut out (those dental folks can use all the fancy words they want, but you can’t dress up torture with fancy terminology). My dentist was giving me a referral to an oral surgeon and since we still had hospital bills from my son being born earlier that year, the amount not covered by my insurance looked MASSIVE. According to my calculations, having the procedure while awake and under a local anesthetic was going to save me five-hundred dollars. Having my dentist do the procedure in lieu of an oral surgeon was going to be another huge savings. I got exactly what I paid for. The sound of my teeth being cracked out of their little sockets was horrible, but when he got to my bottom right wisdom tooth, the experience went from horrible to completely horrific. Evidently, the nerves in my mouth are not wired evenly and I wasn’t completely numb. Reacting to the unexpected searing pain, I flew out of the chair, swearing (inaudibly because my mouth was still propped open with the mouth speculum thingy) and spewing blood and saliva like a rabid wild cat. I had my wisdom teeth cut out while I was awake. I saved a bunch of money. It hurt.
When I was old enough to know better, but young enough not to care, I got a tattoo. It was cool for about five minutes. Regret usually takes at least a little while to catch up with me, but the tattoo regret was almost instant. For several years I detested this mark of temporary madness and I started investigating removal options. I soon came to the realization that being a dumbass is expensive to the tune of about $1300.00-$2500.00. Evidently the cut-rate wisdom teeth adventure didn’t do enough damage to steer me away from seeking out cheaper alternatives for tattoo removal. During my research, I discovered that dermabrasion was a surgical method used to remove tattoos. Basically, sanding or scraping the skin, beyond the point of ‘road-rash’; Seemed simple enough. Armed with several different grits of sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, gauze, and a tiny welding cone I retreated into the bathroom and embarked on my DIY tattoo removal. I required several ‘timeouts’, nearly hyperventilated more than once, and I am certain God and Jesus had to hit the mute button due to the numerous times I yelled out to them during the sanding of my own flesh. I can imagine the scene from heaven:
Me: Oh, Holy God! Jesus, I can’t do this.
Me: God have mercy! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Me: For the love of GOD, Christ in Heaven, I am going to pass out.
God: What is she doing?
Jesus: It would appear she is trying to remove her tattoo with sandpaper.
God: Hit the mute button, Son. I can create a universe, but I can’t fix stupid.
I removed my own tattoo with sandpaper. I have no scars and no evidence it was ever there. It cost a little over $15.00. It hurt.