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A damn lot of skin out there...


It's been more than seven weeks since I had my LASIK surgery and there are things that continue to surprise me about the world of 20/20 vision.

Like water parks. Yesterday, I went to Schlitterbahn.

Schlitterbahn, if you don't know, is not so much a water park as it is the place where other big, bullying water parks from around the world go to get water splashed in their face, get big devastating wedgies and then go home crying.

It's Valhalla for tube rides, a glorious sun-drenched place where you could spend weeks getting your water ride on.

I think you can see it from space.

I'm working this weekend so I decided to take a much deserved week day off to head down to New Braunels and do some Schlitterbahning.

This is significant because it's the first time I've gone to a water park or beach since I had the eye surgery.

Now this may sound completely petty and juvenile (although it will surprise absolutely no one who knows me), but one of the primary reasons I went through the cost and the discomfort of having my eyes blasted with lasers was so that I could go to Schlitterbahn and walk around like a normal person, not having to have someone pull me along by the hand as I passed blurred-out park signs or got lost trying to find ride entrances.

The "Master Blaster." Whee!

I honestly believe eye doctors would sell a Hell of a lot more LASIK procedures in Central Texas if they included a Schlitterbahn coupon book with every surgery.

Now, once I get to the park, it's an entirely new world. I can see the water. I can see people walking by.

Now, ladies. What's up with all the breasts?

I don't remember there being this many breasts around, but suddenly they're everywhere, either flopping around or staying completely still in bikinis and one-pieces, depending on their girth.

Nothing wrong. Not at all. But they're like all over the place! And in such tiny bits of fabric! Aren't you worried they'll fly out, projectile-style and blind a child? Or that they'll scurry under your top and give your feet the evil eye?

I'm just asking. I've never seen so many of them exposed before. No wait, I take that back: I used to subscribe to Cinemax.

The other thing I noticed was the other kind of flesh, the kind I like to call "Anti-flesh." Much like anti-matter, this is a kind of flesh that takes on the properties opposite of flesh. Whereas lots of naked flesh is generally a good thing in large quantities, Anti-flesh is the kind that makes most people avert their eyes and children stand and point.

And I'm not talking about fat here, necessarily. I know it's not cool to make fun of people because of their weight. I read Poundy. I'm down.

I"m talking about all other kinds of things like nasty sunburn patches, great gobs of backne, hair coming out of tongues, that sort of thing. Anti-flesh.

Well, there was a damn lot of Anti-flesh at Schlitterbahn. And for the first time in my life, I could actually see it, right there, close up and 20/20. Anorexic children and sunspotted elbows, interesting wet hairstyles, sagging flesh in skintight soaking fabric, paunches, hangnails, folds, creases, nodules of flesh I don't even have a noun to put with, sunburned skin and good God, the nose hair.

I mean, I'm sure I'm not all that pleasant to look at in my little trunks either, but damn! It's a whole new world for me here. I'm not used to all this.

People are beautiful, really, but at a water park, you take it all off, let your gut hang out in the bright sunlight, show the world every line, wrinkle and protrusion. And then there was... I can't even say it... there was...

This lady had a third nipple.

I walked right past her, an older woman, and as I came near it, I really thought (hoped) it was a pimple, but as I neared, walking along with my tube going from one ride to the next, I could see that it was too big, too robust to be a pimple. This was something else entirely.

A nipple, just south of the woman's right shoulder.

Thank you, LASIK.

The conversation that followed, a few hundred feet later.

"That lady had a third nipple. On her back."

"Are you sure it was a nipple?"

"I think I know what a nipple looks like."

"Maybe it was a pimple."

"It was too big to be a pimple. It was kind of pinkish."

"What lady?"

"Behind us. Black woman. Older. Holding the tube."

"Black women don't have pink nipples."

"Okay, I lied. But it was definitely a nipple."

"Do you even know what a black woman's nipple looks like?"

"Yes. Do you?"

"My last girlfriend was black. I think I know what her nipples looked like."

"It had the shape of a nipple. It was practically lactating."

"Maybe it was a mole. Moles sometimes look like that."

"It was a nipple. Seriously. On her back. Shouldn't she have to cover that up? Like with an eyepatch or something? Isn't that considered public nudity?"

The point is this: A whole new world of flesh has opened up, a place where all is laid out in clear view and I don't have the luxury of Blurro-Vision to cover up the imperfections and mass skin eruptions of the world.

I can see clearly now. The acne is here.

I can't wait to hit the Wal-Mart parking lot.


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