Notes on Ageing – Vol. 27

One of my teaching colleagues loved telling the story about where tapioca came from. According to him, “It was the stuff dermatologists scraped off the inside of old people’s legs.”

Yeah, I know that’s gross but once you’ve swallowed your vomit it is very funny.

skI’m telling this because today I went to the dermatologists to have some stuffed removed. As I’ve traveled along life’s highway I began getting these little bump like thingies on my back and around my hair-line. They are called seborrheic keratoses and they come with age. Totally benign they are one of the most common tumors found on old people’s bodies.

The dermatologist got out her jug of liquid nitrogen and quick froze several dozen. For a week or so I’m going to have a bunch of red spots on my face and back and then what’s left will flake off and be mailed to the people who make fish food.

I always just called these things “these things” and wasn’t aware that they had another name. My dermatologist referred to them as “maturity marks” and I thought that was kind of cute. Maybe too cute given my personality.

After I returned home I Googled seborrheic keratoses and learned they have a number of common names: wisdom spots, maturity spots, age spots, senile warts, and sometimes, humorously, barnacles. Or even more humorously, tapioca!

Getting out of the car today on the way to get some “senile warts” removed I pinched the back of my hand in the door handle. Within seconds I had a nice purple bruise to mark the occasion. Just one more of life’s maturity marks.

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