Just When I Thought I Couldn’t Look More Unattractive Without a Shirt

When I was a younger man, I was given to doing something stupid, then saying “I don’t know why I do the things I do.” Now that I am older, I still do stupid things pretty routinely, but time, age and perspective have all afforded me insight. For the most part, I know exactly why I do the things I do, but I suppose that increase in knowledge doesn’t soothe the literal burn of being a moron.

My current best friend.

My current best friend.

I was cooking dinner yesterday afternoon. I was on a roll. I had seasoned and breaded some pork chops; they were ready for pan frying. I heated the oil and placed them into the pan. Because it is hot in my kitchen and living room in the afternoon, I was shirtless. This is not the first time I have fried something on the stove top without a shirt, but it will probably be the last.

Whenever I cook, Abby comes around and sits patiently near my feet. I suppose the smells of cooking meat are simply too much for her to ignore. Perhaps she believes that since I am a kind and benevolent master, I will give her a piece or two of whatever the humans are eating for dinner. Well, I had fried both pork chops on one side and began to turn them. I flipped the first one without incident. I went to do the same to the second and shifted my feet slightly. I felt a furry tail. I moved quickly so as not to step on Abby with my full weight (as such a thing could debilitate a small dog), but then the pork chop slipped out of the tong and went splashing down into the pan.

Hot oil flew onto my stomach. It burned. I tossed the tongs down and wiped the oil off my stomach with the waistband of my shorts. It was nothing. For about five minutes.

Maybe this is a little dramatic...

Maybe this is a little dramatic…

It started to hurt as I pulled the pork chops off the pan to cool. I looked down and numerous red spots were beginning to form. When Lynnette got home, I showed her. “You’re an idiot,” she said. I had no rebuttal. “It was probably laziness,” I said, applying some of that aforementioned insight. “It looks like stupidity to me,” she said. Again, I had no rebuttal. I am sure both Lincoln and Douglas would have been pretty disappointed in me. “Did you ice it?” she asked. “Yes, briefly,” I said.

After dinner, I was in the kitchen icing by bare belly with an ice cube. Madison wandered by for a cup of water. “Eww,” she said. “Would you like to take care of me?” I asked, holding out the ice cube. “Yes,” she said. She took the ice cube and carefully ran the cool cube over my burned areas. “They’re starting to bubble,” I said to Lynnette. “What does that mean?” Lynnette shot me a versatile look of irritation, frustration, disappointment, and superiority. “It means it’s a second-degree burn.” This of course, wasn’t as bad as the burn of having your wife call you stupid to your face when you are in pain. I feel like this has happened before.

...but this is right on.

…but this is right on.

Now, I am not one to post pictures of my bare torso on the internet. I do not understand the appeal of “bathroom selfies.” As the night progressed, the right side of my stomach looked worse and worse. It looks like I have chicken pox quarantined to the right side of my stomach. It looks like only the right side of my stomach ate something bad and broke out in hives. It looks like I was Harvey Dent sitting in that courtroom when the guy threw acid in his face, but missed low.

I applied generic Neosporin to the affected areas last night before bed. It felt nice. But any kind of heat – even the warm water of a shower – creates discomfort. It’s one of those things where there isn’t enough pain to constantly remind you of it, therefore, you aren’t consciously aware to compensate for it. This morning, for example, I had my hands full as I left my car. I tried to close my door with the right side of my hip and hit the door with my burns. I winced and whimpered in pain. The lone saving grace was that I get to work too early for anyone to be there to witness it. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the door didn’t close completely, so I had to finished the job with my ass.

I will try very hard to put a shirt on before I fry something on the stove. But man, when you’re flouring and eggwashing and breading and you get on a roll, it’s so hard, you know? You don’t mess with a streak.



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