Allow Me To Illustrate The Point

, , , , , , | Healthy | February 1, 2018

I work as a medical illustrator, drawing injuries and surgeries for legal purposes — used as courtroom exhibits, mediation materials, etc. Most of the time, the cases that cross my desk are the same run-of-the-mill kinds over and over, but every once in a while, we get very interesting and challenging cases to illustrate.

My most memorable case involved a man with a tumor that had grown in almost the exact middle of his head, sort of at the very back of his throat, near the base of his skull. It had grown monstrously and required a surgery to remove it to improve quality of life. But the only way to get to it required some extreme measures, and I’ll never forget the surgeon’s notes in which he described the procedure. This is a bit gruesome, if you’re squeamish.

It required lifting away the bottom of the face from the skull and cutting the mandible — jaw bone — down the middle, then prying the jaw apart to either side. While the surgeon provided no sketches to help me visualize this, he made it clear enough when he mentioned it was commonly known as “the Predator cut.”

They also then removed half the jawbone. It was surprising to learn how they reconstruct the face afterwards; they simply carve up segments from your fibula — the small bone in your lower leg — and make a new L-shaped jaw out of it!

Has A Creepy Ring To It

, , , , , | Working | January 19, 2018

(I have been in contact with a local artist and jewelry maker to make a pair of custom wedding rings. We met in person a while ago to go over what I wanted, at which time she told me she would need to eventually take my engagement ring to make tracings, due to its unique shape. We then spend the next few weeks emailing back and forth to try to coordinate meeting up again, but due to the fact that she lives 45 minutes from where I work and over an hour from where I live, this is proving to be difficult. Finally, we get to this point…)

Artist: *in email* “Okay, why don’t you just mail me the ring? My address is [address].”

Me: *in email* “I don’t know that I’m comfortable mailing you my ring. I’m worried it might get lost or stolen. Can I just drive up after work on [date] and give it to you?

Artist: *in email* “Sure! Just leave it in my mailbox.”

(I decide this would be all right, so on the day I promised, I drive up to her house. When I get there, I see she is actually home and outside in her front yard, close to the street, so I approach her.)

Me: “Hi, [Artist]!”

Artist: *not recognizing me* “Hi… Can I help you?”

Me: “I’m here to drop off my ring. I wasn’t expecting you to be home.”

Artist: *suddenly clicking* “Oh! [My Name]! I didn’t recognize you. Sure, let me take that.”

(A few weeks go by, and she emails me again to say the rings are done and that she will be in [Town where I work] on a day that week. We arrange to meet in a café at a specific time. I walk to the café and get there a few minutes early. I quickly spot her, but she is sitting with who I assume is another client, talking. The tables are very small, so instead of trying to butt my way in to their meeting, since I am early, anyway, I grab a table right next to theirs and wait for her to be done. I make eye contact with her just as I’m sitting down, so I assume she has seen me and will be done soon. I order tea, and the time we were supposed to meet passes. Finally, I overhear this part of their conversation.)

Artist: “Yeah, she should be here any minute.”

(I freeze, realizing that she didn’t recognize me when we made eye contact, and hasn’t seen me despite me being at the table right next to them. I am about to get up and say something to her when she continues…)

Artist: “She’s so funny. We only met once in person, and then she just showed up out at my house, completely unannounced, expecting I would know who she was!”

Client: “Oh, that’s… kind of creepy.”

(I can’t believe what I am hearing! She is talking about me to a complete stranger and making me out to be a creep! I have no idea what I should do at this point… If this stranger already thinks that I’m a creep, what will she think if I stand up and reveal I have been sitting right behind them and eavesdropping this whole time? I keep sipping my tea and consider just leaving, until…)

Artist: “[My Name]?!”

(I looked up and they were both staring at me, so I immediately jumped up and came over to their table. I quickly got through trying on the rings, writing a check, paying for my tea, and leaving, all while trying to be as friendly and not-creepy as possible!)

How To Make Me Blue

, | NY, USA | Right | January 19, 2016

(I design and create jewelry for my own business. I often take custom requests.)

Customer: “I like that piece you made, but I’d really like it in blue.”

Me: “Okay, here are the blue beads you can choose from.”

Customer: “Well, I want a blue, but not too blue. Do you have anything like that?”

Me: “These are what I have available. If you would like me to place a special order for a different shade of blue, I’d be happy to.”

(Customer looks over the options and chooses the same darn shade I offered her. I finish the piece and send her photos.)

Customer: “Wow, that’s really… blue.”

Me: “Indeed. Those are the beads you selected.”

Customer: “Hmm. Can you make it in red?”

(Cut to me, crying and drinking in the corner.)

Armless Is Harmless

| FL, USA | Right | February 20, 2015

(I work as a freelance airbrush face painter. I’m at an event when two small children and their mother come up. The mother’s attention is elsewhere while I talk to her kids.)

Me: “Hey there! What design would you like?”

Girl: *pointing out which design* “…and can I have it on my arm?”

Me: “Sure!”

(I put the design on her arm, and her brother comes up next, wanting his design on his arm as well. I hear this exchange as they leave.)

Mother: “Both of you got designs on your arms instead of your faces? Man, I got some boring-a** kids.”

He Could Also Do With Less Hot Air

| MI, USA | Right | February 18, 2015

(I am working as a balloon artist and have a very long line. The balloons I ordered for this event weren’t in on time, so I have to buy some balloons of poor-quality at a craft store. Due to the heat of the day, the balloons are popping frequently, and I am getting super frustrated.)

Me: *to the next kid in line, who already has at least three balloons* “And what would you like?”

Kid: “A blue sword!”

Me: “All right!”

(Being one of my quicker patterns, I quickly pump it up and make it. When I give it the final twist, it pops.)

Me: “Oh, shoot, sorry about that!”

(I pump up another balloon, which again pops. At this point the kid’s dad has come over.)

Kid’s Dad: “You’re putting too much air in the balloon.”

Me: *trying to smile* “Oh, it’s not that. I’ve recently switched balloon brands, and these don’t like the sun as much.”

(The third balloon again pops, which rarely happens.)

Me: “Shoot, sorry about that! Third time’s the charm, right?”

Kid’s Dad: “No, seriously. You’ve got to put less air in it, otherwise it will pop.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

(Having done balloons since I was 10, and having made hundreds of swords, I of course already know this. I make the balloon, with just as much air as usual, and it doesn’t pop.)

Me: “There you are!”

(The kid grabs it without saying thanks.)

Kid’s Dad: “See? I told you.”

(The dad walked away, also without saying thanks.)

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