Like the beard? Thank that guy on my left.
Don’t like the beard? Blame that guy on my left.
That would be Dr. Christoper Schmidt, the Ocala surgeon who removed a benign lump from my neck on Oct. 19 and did a fantastic job.
(We’ll get to the beard in a minute.)
Dr. Schmidt was not my first choice though, to be clear, I wasn’t surgeon shopping. Insurance directs this path, as we all know.
Our insurance directed me to Tampa General Hospital and a surgeon associated with the University of South Florida. Deb and I took the drive, waited two hours, and met with the doc for all of 30 seconds. I'm not remotely kidding.
We left with a surgery date but not feeling all that assured.
In the following weeks, we discovered a glitch. Insurance covered the doctor but not the hospital, or vice versa.
Instead, the nice insurance person sent us to Ocala Ear, Nose and Throat and Dr. Schmidt.
We liked him right off the bat. He has that cocky arrogance typical with surgeons but in a playful, self-deprecating way.
Dr. Schmidt told me exactly what he was going to do during the surgery and what the recovery would be like. And wouldn’t you know — he aced every count.
He removed the last of the stitches this week, and the scar is barely noticeable, if at all. Still some minor paralysis on the left side of my mouth, and much of my left ear is weirdly numb.
The stitches — that’s why I couldn’t shave. I didn’t think anything of it. Being confined to home while healing, I’d shave once I was ready to venture back out into the world.
Then something funny happened. Deb said she liked it.
I've been clean-shaven during our entire14 years together. It never dawned on me to grow a beard because it would require three weeks of isolation before I'm presentable.
Well, that’s exactly what Dr. Schmidt’s surgery afforded me — three weeks to grow a beard.
I’m not a beard newbie, but it’s been at least 15 years. I had my driver’s license photo taken just a few months before getting sober, and I looked like the Unabomber’s younger brother. In sobriety, I kept the beard for a brief time but eventually ditched it.
I took the new beard out for a test drive this week, and it’s getting great reviews. Women, in particular, say they like it. Since 74% of Just Wright Citrus readers are women (true!), think I’ll keep the beard. (So long as it’s OK with my friend Steph the Barber. I don’t make a hair move without her blessing.)
I’m sure there’s more I can say, but I won’t. I mean…it’s a beard.
— We’re going to try something next week that should be fairly simple. I’d like to focus on thanks and gratitude rather than deep political dives.
I say it should be fairly simple because it’s, after all, Thanksgiving week. Normally the political chatter goes silent, or at least slows down considerably, during Thanksgiving week.
Normally. Without giving away the store, political blog topics are stacking up the last few days. I usually wouldn’t delay writing about these timely subjects, but they’re not exactly joyous holiday topics, so I’d prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving.
And that, of course, reminds me of a story.
The day before one Thanksgiving, I took a call at the Chronicle from a man who said a certain commissioner wanted to fire the county administrator at the board’s meeting four days later. We were able to reach four of five commissioners. Two said they wanted the guy gone; two said they wanted to keep him.
We led the Thanksgiving Day paper with a big headline that commissioners wanted to fire the administrator. Great headline, bad timing. The administrator, who resigned when it appeared he would be fired, never forgave us for announcing his pending departure on Thanksgiving Day.
That was a long time ago, but I remember the lesson. There’s a time and place for everything.
Right now, it’s beard time. Have a great weekend, friends.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.