I remember a biology class in high school when our teacher Mr Pendleton said in a tone of complete and utter boredom, “The human body is an amazing thing!” as he pointed at the skeleton model.
Everyone of us in that class – fifteen years old and hormones raging – thought the more amazing thing was that Mr Pendleton, an ancient, balding, slightly overweight man of 35, was actually married to Mrs Pendleton, our super hot maths teacher.
“Thirty-five?” Saffy said years later. “How is that ancient?”
“When you’re fifteen, that’s ancient!” I told her.
Saffy paused and gave the matter some thought. “Yes, I guess so. Children can be such ageists!”
We were sitting in the waiting room of Dr Tan, our beloved dermatologist.
“It’s such a pity he’s married,” Amanda said, dissatisfaction oozing from every pore. “All the good ones are.”
“You’re not!” Saffy said in her most loyal tone, though we left unremarked the ambiguity of her emphasis.
Earlier that day, Amanda had emerged from the bathroom slightly panicked. She dropped onto the couch and stuck out her left foot. “What the hell is this?” she demanded.
Saffy approached with great caution. She bent down and peered.
“What is that?” she asked eventually.
Amanda sighed. “Honestly, if I knew, would I be asking?”
Saffy bent closer to inspect the small raised lump. It had a dark centre surrounded by a circle of white. “Is it a splinter?”
“I doubt it. Aren’t splinters normally long and not circular?”
“Do you think it’s a planter’s wart? I just saw Dr Pimple Popper shave one off her kid’s foot!”
“Oh, I saw that one. That kid is such a whiner!” Amanda said. “And his mother had already given him local!”
“I was a bit disappointed that there was no pus, to be honest,” said Saffy.
I told the girls to focus.
“Oh, right,” Amanda sighed. “It hurts when I step on it. I think I should go see Dr Tan.”
Saffy’s fabulous bosom rose like a soufflé. “Ooh, I’m coming with you!” she cooed.
Which is how the three of us found ourselves sitting in our dermatologist’s waiting room looking at a wall pasted with family snapshots of Dr Tan and his wife in various holiday destinations.
“When do they find the time to go on holidays?” Amanda murmured. “Don’t they both work?”
“Imagine being married to a dermatologist!” Saffy said, her voice bouncing off the walls of the small waiting room.
Amanda turned pink. “Seriously, your voice!” she hissed.
Just then, the receptionist popped her head over the high counter. “You can go in now, Miss Amanda!”
“Thank God!” Amanda said getting up. She pushed Saffy back down.
“But…” Saffy began.
“No! Stay!” Amanda barked as she disappeared into Dr Tan’s room.
We heart muffled animated chatter.
“She’s so bossy!” Saffy grumbled. “I was hoping I could video the procedure and put it up on YouTube and get a million views like Dr Pimple Popper! Did you see that huge comedone she extracted on that woman’s back?”
And not for the first time, we wondered just how people can allow pimples and cysts to grow to such stupendous infected sizes before getting them looked at.
“I mean, look at Amanda,” Saffy said with approval. “One tiny bump and she’s scheduled an emergency session with the dermatologist. That’s how you should do it!”
Fifteen minutes later, Amanda emerged beaming. “OK, thank you, Dr Tan!” she trilled, waving and tossing her luxuriant hair in a shamelessly provocative way.
It turned out that the lump on the foot was a benign form of wart that Dr Tan said Amanda had probably picked up off the changing room floor of the gym.
Saffy squealed. “Oh my God!”
“I told him that’s not possible since I always wear flip-flops in the gym, even in the shower. So he said maybe I picked it up from the floor at home.”
Saffy stopped at the top of the escalator. “Shut! Up!” she said. “We have warts at home?”
I begged Saffy to lower her voice.
“We better get some heavy duty Dettol on the way home for Ah Chuan to mop the floors with,” Amanda sighed. “I’m not getting another one of these wart things!”
I asked what Dr Tan did to her foot.
“Oh, he took this small blade knife thing,” Amanda said with deplorable scientific imprecision, “and he just shaved off the skin in layers like Parmesan cheese till he got to the base of the lump and there was nothing left. He has such gentle hands!”
Saffy pulled a face. “Seriously, if that doesn’t put me off eating Italian for a while, I don’t know what will!”