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A bare compliment

Have you ever been told you look young while lying nude on a backboard, wearing a neck brace and stretched out on a gurney?

No?

Well, I have.

Neener. Neener. Neener.

When you first arrive in the emergency department, they ask you the usual questions.

“Ma’am, what happened to your clothes?”

Haha! No, they knew my apparel had been cut off in the ambulance, or they guessed I was headed to the grocery store naked that Friday morning. Either way, it was irrelevant.

So first they asked, “What’s you name?”

“Hillary….”

“How old are you, Hillary?”

“33. No, 32. I have a birthday…coming up…this week…”

And that’s when I heard it, as from an angelic male voice drawing me toward a bright light down a rose-scented tunnel.

“Wow, she looks young!”

Right then and there I wanted to spring off that backboard with a cry of, “I’m cured! Peace, ya’ll!”, and take myself off for a victory jog around the hospital corridors, but

a. I had multiple rib fractures, which wouldn’t allow me to roll off the table, much less spring from it

b. I figured once that doctor or nurse got a flash of my full, jiggling thighs and cellulite, he might not think I looked so young anymore, and

c. I was pretty sure I could be arrested for indecent exposure, even while in the hospital. Of course, my defense would have been perfect: temporary insanity brought on by a crazy good compliment after a traumatic injury.

But failing this I lay there with an asinine smile on my face, waiting for someone to tell me I also had a brilliant mind and a winning personality.

Instead they took me for a CAT scan.

Later my euphoria was dampened by a nurse saying she thought I was older and then gloating over her own youthful appearance, overhearing a couple of nurses comment to each other that I smelled worse than expected (I couldn’t shower for six days, people!), and by my doctor asking me how much I weighed and then hazarding a guess — 70kg.

“I don’t know how much that is,” I told him. (There goes the brilliant mind theory.)

I’m surprised he didn’t cry, “Damn!”, claim he forgot something in another room and shuttle out of there never to be seen again. Instead, he bravely said, “140.”

“Last time I checked, I was 134,” I responded. I magnanimously added, “But you could be right; I haven’t weighed myself in a long time.”

After all, 140 isn’t bad at all, and I hadn’t weighed myself in a while.

And, obviously, I’m not one for being vain.

— Hillary Ibarra

Hillary Ibarra is a mother of four and a writer at No Pens, Pencils, Knives or Scissors. She has been published multiple times at the humor site Aiming Low. She lives in Arizona where she takes every chance to explore Native American ruins and natural wonders.

Reflections of Erma