You should have seen the other guy … err, bear. You should have seen the other bear.
Because after I absorbed the beast’s sucker punch, I dispatched it with a furious barrage of fist that left its big, furry face a sorry sight. It scampered into the woods, leaving its youngest cub as a token of its defeat.
And that’s how I got a black eye.
But since people find that so hard to believe, I’ve just been saying I got into a nasty collision at an ultimate Frisbee tournament.
Growing up, my first reaction after a facial trauma was to gauge whether I would shine up. A black eye is the ultimate symbol of toughness and masculinity: You can walk around and people know what’s up, like that Mayhem guy in the insurance commercials brazenly getting into mischief and brazenly not getting messed with. I’d never gotten a shiner, but had always hoped.
But once it actually happened, my thoughts went elsewhere: work. What reputable newspaper or restaurant would want to be seen by the public as an employer of bar-tusslers or bear-fighters? My bosses were going to make me cover it up. I knew it.
So, armed with a few female friends’ advice that I didn’t pay attention to because I planned to just let the lady at the cosmetics desk tell me what to buy, I walked into Walgreens to buy some makeup.
But there was no lady at the cosmetics desk.
That’s cool, I thought, I can just figure it out myself. That thought lasted about 17 seconds.
Intimidation set in as I scanned the vast wall of skin tones and mystery. A Revlon ad featuring Emma Stone of “The Help” and “cute button nose” fame suddenly featured Emma Stone of “judgment eyes” and “I can see you have no idea what you’re doing” fame. I could have stood for an hour and only identified what wasn’t nail polish.
I panicked. I made a phone call stocked with fodder my little sister could have only dreamed of 10 years ago.
“Hey Cassie … um ... how do you buy makeup?”
To her credit, she stifled the giggles long enough to talk to me maturely as she put me on speakerphone for my cousin to hear, and the two of them gave me some sound advice that I promptly ignored because Hey! The lady at the cosmetics desk is back!
Whatever sabbatical Ms. Cosmetics took in the shampoo aisle couldn’t have ended at a better time. I promptly thanked and hung up with my sister, noting to remember my side of the story for every Thanksgiving dinner conversation ever.
Upon request, the kind lady and her apprentice sprang into action. They held up canisters and compacts to my burgundy eye, saying words at me that I didn’t particularly understand. Emma kept staring. When the cosmetics clerk reached her decision, I held out my hands, and she placed into them what could well have been a small vial of dyed powdered sugar. She offered application advice, emphasizing what was either a blending technique or sorcery.
I thanked her for her wisdom and paid for the exorbitantly priced dust. Then I got to my jobs and none of my managers or bosses cared about my black eye at all, rendering the whole episode moot.
Now I have makeup to return and a conversation I can’t. All thanks to that bear.