Go Ask Daddy About Tonsil Tumors, Awesome Authors and Magnificent Marchers

photo credit: pennstatenews via photopin cc
photo credit: pennstatenews via photopin cc

Turns out, I’m sort of a lousy sports fan.

I don’t go nuts over ESPN SportsCenter. I’ve never cat-called a cheerleader. Twice I hate my teams’ rivals, but I’ve never slugged someone because he roots for the wrong team.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to fill out a NCAA bracket.

Trust me, the sports world isn’t missing a thing. My school, UNC Charlotte, is now a football school. We beat Michigan in basketball – but lost to Marshall. At home. Even the NIT snubbed us. And my bracket? Not exactly the stuff of Nostradamus.

Know who I picked for last season’s Final Four?

I picked Temple over Harvard for the national championship.

So – the kids asked me something kind of serious this time. And I swore I’d never talk about it on my blog. How serious was it? It depends on what terms you’d want to use to describe what doctors took out of my throat.

1. What are those things that they have to take out of your throat?

photo credit: Red Rose Exile via photopin cc
photo credit: Red Rose Exile via photopin cc

When I was 5 – they were tonsils. And for days afterward, I milked it all I could to load up on Jell-O and ice cream.

When I was 36, doctors took out a growth that sprouted up where that left tonsil had been. My dental hygienist took one look at it and sent me to the ear, nose and throat specialist. He poked it with his finger and said it needs to come out, pronto. In case it was melanoma.

They found another growth on the other side of my throat, and they were in there pretty deep. I had two holes in my throat that made food look like broken glass to me. I thought I’d never eat again. But it didn’t last long. And I had to wait only three days to find out they were benign.

I don’t like to talk about it, because it seems so minor in the grand scheme of cancer scares. I don’t even call it a cancer scare. I call it lumps in my throat they thought they should check for cancer.

2. On Cash and Cari, do they take stuff out of the bathroom so no one will steal it?

photo credit: HimmelrichPR via photopin cc
photo credit: HimmelrichPR via photopin cc

The only steals on Cari Cucksey’s show ought to be on china, during the final hours of her awesome estate sales.

Cash and Cari, dad’s favorite HGTV show, features estate sale expert Cari Cucksey. She inventories items in the house, prices them to move, and takes a percentage of profits. Her assistants remove items from the bathroom, but I could find nothing online to explain why.

I mean, who steals stuff out of the bathroom?

3. Is Charles Dickens a real person?

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc
photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Dickens (Feb. 7, 1812-June 9, 1870) had more hits than Cari Cucksey has cute hats.

He wrote Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. He always had to sleep with his head facing north, and would rearrange his room to arrange it. He had his pet raven, named Grip, stuffed when he died in 1841.

Grip had a better NCAA bracket record than me, too.

4. Have you ever been in a marching band?

photo credit: peasap via photopin cc
photo credit: peasap via photopin cc

Have I ever. I carried a 15-pound baritone sax back in the day.

I was the kid who couldn’t make it 5 minutes into a karate lesson. But somehow, I managed to swing that axe in July 4 heat and Christmastime chill in Estes Park. Without as much as a slight misstep. You know you’re a cool school when your marching band brings home trophies and your football team does not.

In eighth grade, I was such a cool marching band sax player that I got a cheerleader girlfriend for about a minute until I messed it up. Fodder for another blog, for sure.

I’m certain when Charles Dickens penned “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he had that fateful day in mind.

5. Could you get bumps from putting too much lotion on your face?

photo credit: Orin Zebest via photopin cc
photo credit: Orin Zebest via photopin cc

Some do. And I’d have sworn membership in a marching band played a role, too.

Certain ingredients in lotion can agitate your skin, and cause acne. Some lotion is non-comedognic, which means it won’t clog your pores. You shouldn’t even touch your face. Or drink milk or sugary drinks. And if you get a pimple, you’re not supposed to pop it.

Stress relief will help.

That’s the real reason I didn’t fill out a bracket. Who needs the stress? Just reading up on acne prevention is stressful enough.

It’ll scare the Dickens out of you.


  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    Oh dear, scare the Dickens out of you. Eli, I thought I did the jokes? Anything odd hanging out of or around your body is a cause for concern, especially when it’s down the back of your throat. Does marching along behind a marching band count?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think marching along behind the marching band should count for double, mate. I wasn’t sure about the whole Dickens reference in the post, because it’s really not my style, but what the heck.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Scaring the Dicken out of someone is an old English saying, probably to do with scaring the devil out. People have thought over time it’s to do with old Charley Dickens. I reckon some of his stories about life in his days would make you think twice. You have to throw something in Mate and make a statement.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I was afraid the Millennials among us would miss the reference. My generation X must look like baby boomers to them sometimes.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Don’t worry about it Eli, you’re doing okay, Generation X or not.

  2. You know at almost 37 years old, I still get acne sometimes. seriously, I thought I would be over it by now! But in all honestly, my grandfather had to have a lump of sorts removed from his throat when he was much younger (my mom was a kid) and ended up being nothing either, but I always remember them saying it was truly a scare, but then he went on to have 9 lives just like a cat. I swear the man had so many different scares and things wrong with him and would bounce back quicker then you could say quick. Not sure, but you totally made me think of this while reading your post this morning. Go figure!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I had it bad as a teenager, so when I get a pimple now, it’s like, nostalgic. Remember when they said chocolate caused acne?

      It was tense to wait for results, but by far the worst was the recovery. Imagine a foodie who was afraid to eat anything because of the pain. Tragic, I tell you.

      I hope I’ve got a bit of your grandfather’s bounce-back genes in me, just in case. I’m not getting any younger!

    2. Our fabulous 30s. The decade where we have pimples and wrinkles. Freakin’ fabulous.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I remember those days. Lucky for me, in the 40s, I probably still have those problems – but with failing eyesight, I don’t even notice.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I was indeed in a marching band. The clarinet. Just oozed coolness, I did.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Only the coolest kids were in marching band, Carrie. Just look at us now! Sharon Kam’s pretty cool, too.

  4. I was only in concert band for one year and quickly gave it up because 1) I sucked. 2) When the band director told me she’d fail me if I missed a PTA concert for a swim meet, I decided music wasn’t for me. I was devastated to miss that meet, but there was no way I was going to accept a failing grade. The next year I quit band and devoted myself to competitive swimming. I’m pretty sure the musical world celebrated with wild abandon.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Nothing like coercing a kid into a love for music! I was once so passionate about playing in jazz band that I didn’t think i had to really be good at anything else.

      What instrument did you play? We need to figure out if it’s not too late to get you back in the band.

  5. tamaralikecamera says:

    Des has bumps on his face today from having a cold and rubbing snot all over his cheeks! (nice, right?) So lotion is helping that. Then he also took a marker to his right cheek today. And some red marker to under his nostrils so we thought it was blood.

    This was all a long-winded way of saying that I’m glad they were benign.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Now the girls won’t have to ask if snot has the same effect! I think you should post a picture of lil’ Picasso’s face job.

      Hey, thanks … I like the long-winded version.

  6. Kim says:

    I did not know that about Dickens and his head needing to face North – weird. Of course, I said that to my boys and they proceeded to tell me the things they do EVERY night – CREEPY and I wish I didn’t know!!
    Your high school band sounds like the one here – they are 10x better than the football team but I don’t think the football players have figured that out yet!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have to have the radio or thermostat set to multiples of three, but that’s not weird, is it? I think your boys’ nighttime confessions ought to make a decent post, don’t you Kim?

      I figured the show was the marching band, and the football team was there for pre-performance and post-performance exhibition.

  7. ksbeth says:

    i love that you have survived all of these things, eli. and by the way, i picked az to go all the way in my brackets )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Dang! I wanted weber state to win it all.

      survive is a strong word, beth. people deal with far more taxing waits and ordeals than i did. i’m thankful.

  8. Sandy Ramsey says:

    What’s a bracket?

    Just kidding! I’m not a basketball fan and don’t really follow March Madness which will probably get me kicked out of the States but there you have it. I’m very glad to hear that the tumors were benign…that had to cause a little stress. Once again, your little lovelies have managed to help me learn a new thing or two!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Ha! Good one Sandy.

      This is the one time of year I’ll actually watch college basketball, and root for all the underdogs. I remember that weekend trying to imagine the next steps if they were malignant.

      These last two weeks, my lovelies have really pushed me on these. I’m ready for a couple of “how tall is an elephant?” questions, but judging by the stuff they just asked (“Jennifer Lawrence or Kesha, dad?”) there’s no relief in site.

  9. Liked your intro… I did some brackets… but I am like you… I dont break out if I dont watch sports center… By the way.. .Im a Marshall Grad… thanks for one of our few wins this year… it was a bad one!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks! I found that bracket-free watching was so liberating the past two days. I could freely root for the underdogs without guarding my false sense of hardwood wizardry.

      Thundering Herd, huh? Dangit. You know it’s a bad year for your school when you check the team’s website with faint hopes of the NIT, only to discover crickets – and that Florida International spent the weekend beating up your baseball and softball teams.

      Go … Mercer?

      1. I think football is our strength 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Ours too, which is sad, because we’ve played it only one year! At least you had Chad Pennington.

        (And I fixed your school’s mascot reference. It felt cheap to take a shot at a new conference rival like that. We haven’t had time to hate yet.)

      3. It’s all good! I’ve heard that a lot! Look forward to the day we meet on the field… Great blog! Keep it up!

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks – I look forward to checking yours out too. Liked and followed.

  10. Great post as always Eli. Sorry I haven’t been reading and responding very much. I’m still working through some side effects and a nearly crippling case of cancer related fatigue. Hopefully these too shall soon pass. Keep up the good work and I’m really glad your lumps weren’t cancerous.


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Nelson. It’s great to hear from you – I’d wondered how you’ve been. Hope you’re feeling better, friend.

  11. Rosey says:

    Our 12 yr. old nephew filled out a bracket for fun a couple of years back and won the whole kit and kaboodle. lol Good stuff, that. 🙂

    Glad your lumps were benign. I think that kind of stuff is still scary until you know.

    I have never seen The Flamingo Kid…hhahahahahaha though, Matt Dillon ate a bath bead!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Kids are the best at this sort of thing!

      It was a huge sigh of relief. And as difficult as it was after surgery, I never lost sight of the fact I could have dealt with more surgery or chemo next.

      There’s another scene in Flamingo Kid worth watching it … when he eats dinner with the girlfriend’s family.

  12. Rorybore says:

    Our version of March Madness is that a snow blizzard arrived on the first day of Spring. And on the day my daughters were having their Welcome Spring Tea Party. Who knew shoveling the driveway was part of welcoming Spring guests.
    Thank goodness all was well in your mouth! My mom just had what we thought would be a “c” word scare – but thankfully it was something completely different. But yeah….the Dickens. Right Outta Ya.
    I still cannot get through Bleak House. Maybe if Matt Dillion did the movie?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Is that Madness, or maddening? Maybe the girls ought to have served iced tea for the occasion. It’s rainy and no more than 50 F here for early spring, so you can see we’re having a tough time of it too, right Rore?

      It escalated quickly from “ew, what’s that in your mouth?” to scheduling surgery. I happen to love when it turns out to be something different, don’t you?

      Matt Dillon in Bleak House would be stellar!

  13. Count me among those glad your non c-word t.t.’s were benign. I thought the marching band was cool. Guess that’s why I was never in the in crowd. Still, I managed to snag the tuba player for 34 yrs, so all is good.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you Carol! Marching band was the coolest if you ask me – and I never had the nerve to ask out one of those rebellious flag-line girls.

      Tuba players seem to be the one-woman type. I think the french horn players were the heart-breakers.

  14. Caroline says:

    No bracket? That hurts my heart! Guess it doesn’t matter much anyway… everyone’s is busted!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I usually don’t do a bracket … but if I did, it would include Dayton and Stanford.

  15. Dana says:

    My father-in-law, husband, and kids are all in a March Madness pool with a bunch of other people. Going into this weekend, my FIL is in first and my daughter is in last (which wins something too). Our family is going for the sweep!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Nice. Who do they have in the final? I couldn’t have been worse with my bracket last year if I’d thrown cucumber slices at the bracket to pick a winner.

      What does the last-place player win? If more things in life rewarded us for finishing last, I’d have a wing dedicated to my winnings.

      1. Dana says:

        I have no clue, Eli. I don’t pay attention to these things. Last place gets their money back. But the rule is if my kids win, they have to pay Dad their entry back first. So my daughter would get nada!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        She’s probably hoping dad will ‘forget’ …

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