Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pardon me Miss, but...

I'm sure this is Copyright Disney...don't sue me.
I’ve never been one to go out and make conversation…at least not when I thought I might seem out of place.  I’ve always been quite shy when it comes to speaking for fear that I’d say something stupid or perhaps appear as a fool.  I guess that comes with a lack of confidence.  I’ve always been an expert wallflower.

I used to be a pretty good wing man.  I guess when it’s not my own neck on the line I could speak up pretty well.  Most likely it was my confidence that I could make my buddy look more like an idiot than me that drove me.  But when it came time for me to speak for myself, I would freeze.  When I’d see a beautiful girl from class during lunch, rather than comment on how her eyes have enchanted me all semester or how seeing her smile simply makes my whole day better, I’d say something more on the line of, “Hey, did you know that cows have four stomachs?”  Yeah…that’s me…Mr. Improv.

I’ve mentioned before the conversation I had with my tanningco-worker.  That was a little difficult for me at first, but since I already had a decent business relationship with her, I found it easy to speak and voice my suggestions for her to see a dermatologist.  (I still doubt she’s had her skin checked…) When it comes to speaking with people I don’t know, I find myself quoting bovine facts again.

Writing this blog has given me some confidence.  I’ve been able to be a voice and share information I’ve read.  When teamed up with Carol, Anne and Timna at the NC State Legislature Building last month, I had a slow start but discovered that talking to strangers wasn’t so bad.  I’ve discovered that I’ve become a decent wingman to melanoma awareness.  However, this last weekend I blew it.

My family and I were out shopping for school supplies (my kids are on a year-round schedule).  At one store, I noticed a lady in her 30’s or 40’s wearing shorts (as we all were on this 100+ degree day), and I focused in on a rather large mole on her back calf.  It wasn’t a big ol’ hairy mole ala the Austin Powers movie, but a noticeably larger spot nevertheless.  I wanted to say something to her, but figured she was already aware of her mole.  Plus, I felt a little uncomfortable stating, “Hi lady, I was checking out your legs…” in front of my kids.  So, I watched her purchase her supplies and leave…and I felt awful.  I felt myself fade against a billboard of…wallflowers.

I’ve since known what I should have said…so here it is…

Pardon me Miss, but I’d like to ask you a question.  I apologize if I seem nosy or insensitive, but I noticed that you have a mole on the back of your leg.  It could be nothing at all, but I have some friends who thought the same of similar moles only to find out later that it was skin cancer or melanoma.  So if you don’t mind me asking…have you been to a dermatologist?

If she would have reply nicely, I would have given her one of my cards (yes, I carry BITNP cards) and pleaded with her to please see a dermatologist and to email me and let me know how things turn out.  If she would have looked at me as if I were crazy, I would simply have apologized for intruding and wished her a good day.

Next time, I’ll be the wingman and not the wall flower.

Postscript:  I typed the majority of the above on June 9, but didn’t finish until June 10.  I JUST noticed that there was a very similar conversation on Facebook right now.  Here’s a few of the comments (it seems we all have this same dilemma):

When I was in high school a lady actually came up to me in a fast food restaurant and told me to get a mole checked. I wish I had listened.

I notice tans and sunburns more than moles, but I don't say anything or else my sister calls me a "melanoma nazi".

I struggle with this ALL THE TIME! I don't say anything because I can't think of a tactful way to say that to a stranger

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