Slick introductions: There would be no miracle makeover for these grizzled hands
A quick glance revealed a very shiny hand covered in what could have been Crisco.
Hands are often a reflection of one's life. They tell a story of how the day is spent and can be decorated with cracks, calluses and bit-off nails.
I was sitting in the second hour of a board of directors meeting for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, paying more attention to my hands than the topic of the moment.
Winter always seems to make them uglier than usual. The knuckles get deep, there are bleeding cracks, and the skin seems to get so dry it's probably a fire hazard.
I was looking at the skin on the top of my left hand and wondering if it was about to dry up and fall off when the veterinarian sitting to my left pulled out some lotion. She must have seen my hands and been reminded what truly ugly hands look like.
"Would you mind if I had a little of that?" I asked with the tone of a 12-year-old asking for some lemonade.
"You don't want any of this; it smells too feminine," she replied with an air of confidence that made me feel as if she was an expert dermatologist. "I've got a different kind in my purse that would work better on those hands."
After digging around for a bit, she pulled out a tube that had "Shea" written in bold letters. I was encouraged. I proceeded to squeeze a generous portion in one hand and began to rub it in.
This stuff was amazing, but it never seemed to absorb; it just kinda spread out. After 20 minutes of vigorous rubbing that very well could have been misconstrued as a nervous disorder, my hands were still so slick I could barely pick up my pen.
I tried to wipe some onto the tablecloth, but it didn't want to transfer. In fact, I think I made it angry enough to multiply. The only noticeable change was the blinding sheen that began to form. I could almost see my own reflection.
My next thought was to blow them dry. Like a baseball player in October, I began the procedure, but it was fruitless. I finally gave up.
I wasn't sure what this stuff was, but judging by its staying power, I was pretty sure it would last the rest of the winter.
As the meeting crept into the third hour, I decided to sneak back to the coffee urn for a warm-up when I heard someone whisper my name.
To my surprise, the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association was just a few feet away. I couldn't believe she knew my name. In fact, I was a bit flabbergasted that someone with her credentials and standing would know a small-town veterinarian from west Texas.
She smiled and extended her hand while I instinctively reached out to greet her. The tighter she gripped my hand, the harder it was to hold on to. It just sort of slid away.
She glanced down to see what she had just grabbed, revealing a polished hand covered in what could have been Crisco. Less than five seconds later with my cheeks piping hot, I retreated to the coffee table.
I took a little extra time fixing my drink wondering exactly what she must be thinking. I had some ideas, but I didn't like any of them.
I decided it might be better to just walk out the back door rather than face her again. As I headed to the washroom, I looked over in time to see her rubbing her hand on her tablecloth.
Neither soap nor water was any match for this stuff. Water beaded off my hands like a freshly waxed car. So I spent the rest of the day trying to avoid anyone I knew and dodging situations where I might be introduced to someone so I could contain the slickest substance known to man.
I was thinking that it would make good bearing grease, or maybe Olympic bobsleds could trim a few seconds off their time if they put it on their runners.
At least that AVMA president would never forget me. In fact, she might still don a very shiny, slippery right hand.
Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.