Fright Night at the MallYou could call it a premonition. Whatever it was, I had always known that to get my ears pierced would be courting disaster. Maybe that’s why I kept putting it off all those years. Now I was almost 50, and hovering on the brink of a decision. It seemed everyone was always commenting on my ‘petite’ ears, and how pleased I would be with them if I got them pierced.
In the beginning, it was the fear of pain that held me back. I’d seen those poor little screaming kids at the mall, caught in a stranglehold by their mothers and a white-jacketed ‘surgeon.’
But now it was my pride, too. The fear of someone seeing me getting it done – at my age.
“What! You’re 50, and having your ears pierced for the first time? Where have you been – on another planet or something?”
No, it had to be done secretly, or not at all.
So, the decision was made. I carefully planned my strategy. What nights were the malls the most deserted? I scouted them all, during the day, evenings, weekends, and public holidays, and came up with the perfect time. Between 7:30pm and 9:30pm on October 31st – Halloween! All the kids would be out trick or treating, and the parents would either be with them, or at home shelling out the goodies.
So, next Halloween night, before the first little ghosties and ghoulies hit the streets, I skulked out of my darkened front door, feeling not too guilty about the sign tacked on it: Sorry, all shelled-out. It was for a good cause. I’d be sure to shell-out double next year.
As I suspected, the mall was deserted. The store clerks, dressed in costumes for the occasion, stood wearily at their posts, filing nails, chatting or reading a book, just counting the minutes until closing time.
I’d chosen my ‘operating room’ carefully; a little boutique set back from the mall’s main thoroughfare, sporting the sign, Ear-piercing. Only $12.00. Hygienic, safe and speedy! I guess it was too much to expect pain-free as well. Boldly I entered and approached the pseudo Godzilla behind the counter.
“You?” said Godzilla, rising on its haunches to glance through glassy eyes at my now reddened ears. “You’ve never had it done before?”
I rather testily explained that, yes, it was my first time – and could we please get on with it?
Lumbering off towards the back of the store, Godzilla eventually returned with the one who was to perform the operation. For a split second I panicked and almost ran, but I forced myself to stand my ground. It was now or never.
A black-caped Dracula, with very effective dental work and shiny red blood streaming down her chin, rested her coal-blackened eyes on my ears, and then leered in my face.
“Honest?” You’ve never had them done before? Where’ve you been, anyways?”
I chose to ignore the question and insisted on being seated, please, at the ear-piercing counter.
The tools of the trade were duly sterilized and readied for the task, albeit precariously, by hands sporting curled, glossy, three-inch long, scarlet nails – which did nothing to instill confidence in me. The dastardly deed was about to be completed.
As Dracula leaned over my right ear with the ‘gun,’ a high pitched yell shattered my eardrum.
“Oh, my gawd,” she cried, “You don’t have any earlobes. How’m I supposed to get holes in those ears? Hey, Nancy, she yelled to Godzilla, “Come and see this. You won’t believe it!”
Now ape and monster were on either side of me, gaping at and fingering my petite but lobe-less ears.
Says Godzilla, “I never saw anything like this! Hey, Jackie, come and see!”
From the shoe store across the way came a witch, with black robe flying, holding on to her conical hat, to peer wickedly at the malformed projection on the side of my head.
In a matter of moments, an entourage of masked bandits, robots, demons and elves, now alert and dancing around me, were fighting for their turn to inspect my ears, each making appropriate clucking noises or excitable comments about my weirdness.
So much for anonymity.
I should have just invited my whole neighbourhood, for heaven’s sake.
When the excitement died away, Dracula was adamant.
“No way, lady, am I going to do those ears. You think I want a lawsuit against me if the gun slips? Forget it!”
I can’t say I was sorry to forget it. The only redeeming factor was the suggestion that I should send a photo of my ears to the Guinness Book of World Records.
And next time I have a premonition, I’m going to listen to it.