I realize there is a pandemic sweeping across the world right now, so this may seem like a “first-world problem,” but I’m so sick of COVID this and COVID that.
Let’s discuss another annoying virus that has made a recent appearance in my life, more accurately, my face: herpes simplex virus. Or as I refer to it, Derek.
Why Derek? Well, he came out of nowhere and he’s a bit of a hanger-on. He has lingered for weeks now. Of course, the name choice is totally random, not linked to any person living or dead or who may or may not have attended my college from 1989 to 1991, so there.
He’s that guy who just won’t go home when all the party guests have left, ya know? Such a Derek (this is for all the Karens out there who are really tired of the Karen jokes).
I woke one morning to find a little bump on my lower lip. By lunch time, Mick Jagger would have been jealous of my bulbous bottom lip. I had the kind of pout some women pay a lot of money for. I was not impressed. Over-the-counter medicine didn’t stand a chance.
By the next day, Derek was massive. A beacon of grossness. I was convinced everyone was looking at Derek. He was hard to miss. A total cold sore narcissist. Look at me, he said. Everyone look at me. Derek was so needy. And painful.
Twice a day for weeks, I lathered Derek in icky medicine that only added to the attention Derek was craving. Finally, he reduced himself to a massive scab. A big Derek scab. Crusty and brown. Sexy. I have never been happier to wear a mask. Yay for masks!
After a few weeks, I’d had enough. I called my doctor. I apologized profusely for bothering him about a measly cold sore, recognizing we are in a global pandemic and no lives will be lost with my herpes, but I believed Derek needed to die (note: I didn’t refer to Derek by name, because I wasn’t sure my doctor would know how to process my humour).
Doctor appointments by telephone are convenient. The doctor asked a few obvious questions. We discussed my treatments, side-effects, etc. Then it got weird. The doctor asked me to email a photo of my cold sore. Awkward. Derek was such a spotlight-seeker. That puss bag knew no bounds, clearly.
Thus, I snapped the most horrific selfie of my life and emailed it to him. I imagined the medical staff of my family health team gathered around the computer to see the horrific attachment, basically a close-up of Derek and a lovely reminder that my COVID mustache could really use a wax. Sexy.
I imagined them howling in laughter. Pointing. Knee-slapping. Giggling. Oh, the shame. Derek was loving his status.
Derek has kindly left his mark on my lip, a subtle reminder that he’ll be back. Such a Derek thing to do. Jerk.
But here’s my takeaway: it’s a crazy time in our world, so keep your sense of humour, especially when your dignity is hampered by vanity. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Even the ugly parts of you need love to heal.
Also, book that lip wax. Seriously. Who do you think you are, Burt Reynolds? Have some pride.