The urge was overwhelming.
Should I keep my mouth shut? Should I tell her? I didn’t know this woman, had never seen her before in my life. Yet there she was, walking across the parking lot a mere three steps in front of me. There was nothing unordinary about her except for one little thing ... the Lifesaver stuck on the back of her otherwise bare arm. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
And I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Excuse me, but I didn’t know if you were aware that there is a Lifesaver stuck to the back of your left arm?” I wanted more than anything to reach out and pluck it off for her, but thought better of it. Then I said something that was totally unnecessary. “It’s orange,” I said, like that made a difference.
She stopped, looked over her shoulder at the back of her arm and looked back at me.
“Yes ... I know,” she said defiantly and kept right on walking. I was dumbstruck, and had I not been standing in the middle of the parking lot right next to a Suburban that was about to run over me, I would have stood there for a few minutes more pondering what had just happened. Why on God’s green earth would anyone purposefully walk around with a Lifesaver stuck to the back of their arm? Was she just too proud to admit it was there? Was it covering a mole? Was she saving it to eat later?
“I went all day at a conference out of town with a Milk Dud on the side of my neck and no one said a word to me,” a friend revealed when I told her of the Lifesaver incident. “I guess they thought it was a mole.” The only explanation, she thought, was that the dud had been in the bottom of her purse and stuck to her brush when she took it out to do her hair that morning. I laughed uncontrollably. But as they say, she who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones ... or something like that.
I once crawled around on the kitchen floor looking for a grape that I dropped, only to have it fall out of my bra two hours later while I sat at work. I have had a dryer sheet creep out of my pants leg and onto my shoe as I carried on a conversation with a co-worker, and once had a sweet little older lady pull me to the side at a meeting to let me know I had a name tag stuck to my rear end.
Had I been like the lady with the Lifesaver on her arm, I probably would have said, “I know … my rear end has its own identity.” But, no … I turned a deep shade of crimson, turned around and around like a dog chasing its tail for a second until I could see it, then ripped it off my pants to read, “Hello, my name is Lamar.”
Apparently, my butt’s name is Lamar.
“Thank you,” I told her. “Thank you so much.”
I, for one, am grateful to those friends and even strangers who take the time and have the compassion to let us know when we have weird and unusual things in places they don’t belong. The occasional Band Aid in the hair ... broccoli in the teeth ... static-cling underwear plastered to the back of a shirt. It happens to the best of us.
So, if you see me walking around with anything stuck on me that shouldn’t be there ... please don’t hesitate to let me know. Lamar and I will thank you.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.