The 7-Day "I Ain't Doing Shit" Challenge

I had this scratch on my face for about a year and it just wouldn't heal. I finally went to the doctor (after waiting a year, because that's how long it takes to go through all the stages from pretending it's nothing to, oh maybe this might be a problem because it hasn't healed in AN ENTIRE YEAR, to finally, oh no, I have a full blown case of cyberchondria). My wife finally took matters into her own hands. She called the dermatologist, set an appointment, packed me a sack lunch with my name and a smiley face on the front, and laid out my favorite pair of velcro no-tie shoes, because, you know, once around the tree and into the hole, twice into the hole, then around the tree...who knows?

To my utter amazement, I wasn't dying of stage-5 side of face cancer that had jumped the skull and leaked to my brain (take that, WebMD), but I did have a relatively mild case of basal cell carcinoma due to years of being out in the sun when I was a kid, and not wearing sunscreen. I don't blame my parents, because I grew up in the era of no seatbelts, no helmets, and no supervision. Making it to the beach alive and in one piece was such an accomplishment, especially after that quick stop at Razor Bladey Knife Shop. Sunscreen was an afterthought. I remember being on the lake with my dad and uncles in the 70s and they literally rubbed the oil from a can of pork and beans on themselves to get a better tan. Pork and beans. Seriously, how did we all make it through that decade?

I had Mohs surgery on Monday. It's a fun process comprised of scraping off layers of your face and testing them until you are cancer free. I was reassured that my particular case of carcinoma looked mild, but as I left for the surgery, my wonderful wife, who loves hospital dramas and ER reality shows (she actually follows pathologists on Instagram for a "how did they die" mystery of the day) told me about this one time there was a guy who went in to get the Mohs surgery and came out with half a face, then she showed me the picture, and I was sure it was either Two-Face from Batman, or the guy from the cover of The Evil Dead 2.

Fortunately, I still have all my skin and it only took one scrape to get rid of the cancer, but that didn't stop me from using the "cancer survivor" line for the rest of the day. I didn't have to do dishes, I got to watch True Detective by myself, and the kids didn't argue at dinner for about 5 minutes, but then someone rolled their eyes at someone else, and it was on. Some slights cannot be ignored. I tried calling the Make a Wish Foundation, but I guess they have something against a "hall pass" in Vegas wish.

Use your sunscreen, kids.

I was given strict orders of no running or surfing for a week. Actually, the orders weren't that strict. My doctor looked at me and smiled (and I detected the slightest eye roll...luckily, my kids weren't there to see my cowardice), and told me that I could run or surf, but I just had to be congruent, which I didn't really understand, but took to mean that if I wanted to be an idiot, I would have to be okay with the consequences. "If you come back in a week and have an infected face, and I have to go in and get rid of the infection and re-do the stitches, I'm perfectly fine with that," she said with a smile, and then gave me a list of infections from staph to E-coli that she has seen in her patients who try to resume their activities too soon after the surgery.

We had a couple friends over for dinner last night, and I told them that I was fine with the break from running, even looking forward to it, and what followed was more sarcasm, eye rolling, laughter, and stories about how I ran during phlegm-filled lung sickness, bad weather (even when it drops below 60 here in San Diego), and the wildfires a couple years back. I've changed, I told them, I'm actually enjoying the break. They laughed at me again and reminded me it was the first day, and by the seventh, I'd be Bubbles from The Wire. I took this as a challenge, something I could really get behind, dig deep, and push my limits, so it was born. The 7-Day "I Ain't Doing Shit" Challenge.

I see these challenges all the time, The 30-Day Squat Challenge, The 4-Week Raw Dinosaur Meat and Lettuce Challenge, the 14-Day Cold-Pressed $15/Bottle Juice Cleanse, so I figured I'd make my own. Want to join me?

Here are the details of The 7-Day "I Ain't Doing Shit" Challenge:

1. Don't Do Shit. No running, no surfing, no lifting weights, no bike trainer sessions in the office while catching up on old episodes of Archer.

2. Eat and drink well. My family says I get stressed and angry when I don't exercise, but I DON'T F*(@#ING AGREE. Good food and drink help.

3. Get on Facebook and Instagram and laugh at all the people posting pictures of their races and trail runs in the mountains. They are missing some good TV.

That's it. Day 2 is here, and it's already going well. I'm feeling awesome, and I'm ready to crack open some pork and beans for lunch, cover myself in the grease, slap on my Speedo, and get my tan on.



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