Saturday, July 23, 2005

Alien Hickeys or Broken Vertebrae?

I felt nothing, I heard nothing, I sensed nothing. So I was surprised when my sister (having stumbled upon me shirtless in my room), saw my back and gasped. "What's that?" she said with a mixture of shock and curiosity.

"What's what?"

"That purple mark thing!"

I ran to the hall mirror and tried to see what she was talking about. It is, of course, incredibly difficult to see something that is exactly dead center on your back. One's head simply does not swivel in that direction. But after many seconds of contorting, and the help of a hand mirror, I saw it.

Two purple diamonds, directly in the center of my back. One was dark purple, about 2.5 inches wide and 1.5 inches high. The other one was directly below, and looked like an echo, slightly smaller and lighter. What on earth could that be? My sister tried to wipe it off, but it was indelible.

I ran to the computer and took a picture:

I sent it to various friends who were online.

"That's gotta be a bruise," most of them said.
"Can't be, it doesn't hurt," I replied.
"Maybe you laid on something?" a few said.
"Have you been drinking excessively lately?"

Ooh, a direct hit! It just so happens that last night I went out with some buddies and I did indeed drink, possibly even to excess. But still, I remember the evening. At no point did I or anyone else brand myself with a diamond shaped poker!

This left only one possibility: Alien Abduction. Strange marks have appeared on my body before, with me having no idea how or when they got there... but these were the strangest yet. Two diamonds? Directly on my spine? One above the other, the second a visual echo of the first? This was too freaky. This had to be... ALIENS.

[Editor's note: A split-second after I typed that last word, my computer speakers made a very odd low rumbling noise. No audio applications were playing. I am now officially scared.]

I told my friend about the aliens. He agreed there could be no other explanation.

Then another friend with whom I have discussed my fitness endeavors asked me something to the effect of, "Have you been lifting any weights and putting pressure on your back?"

"No, I.... OH!"

It turns out I have. A couple days ago I attempted dumbbell pullovers. And it just so happens that in order to do this exercise, I have to balance my back perpendicularly on the edge of a bench. This could conceivably cause the exact pattern of markings on my back.

"That's it," said my friend. "You did most of the pullovers and then you changed positions slightly and did a few more. That's why it's darker on top and then gets lighter."

This all seemed reasonable enough. Had she left it at that, I would not have been freaking out. But then she admonished me: "Those markings look like vertebrae. Be careful."

Vertebrae, huh? Those spinal column things? Hmm. A quick Google Image Search later, and a superimposition in Photoshop, and I was freaking out:

If that diagram was right, (and I got it from the INTERNET so it HAD to be right!), the marks corresponded PRECISELY with two of my thoracic vertebrae!

I showed her this picture. "Oh my," she said.
"What should I do???"
"Well, does it hurt?"
"Is it sensitive?"
I ran my fingers across it. The skin felt kind of rubbery there -- it definitely didn't feel like the rest of my back -- but it wasn't sensitive.
"Then it's probably just a bruise," she said. "Don't worry about it. But don't do that exercise again."
"But it can't be a bruise," I pressed on. "It doesn't hurt!"
"Then maybe it's almost a bruise. Enough to make a mark, but not enough to hurt."
I was about to dismiss such a notion as nothing more than foolish hobbledygobble, until my mind recalled that hickeys are kind of like that.
"Okay..." I said.

I was placated. But then a new thought entered my mind. One even more terrifying than the possibility of broken vertebrae...

What if the aliens gave me hickeys???

I choose not to think about this anymore. I am going to try to sleep. And yet I fear that when I wake up, I may have three diamonds, or four, or perhaps two really big diamonds that cover the entirety of my back. And when that happens, we will all know what happened. The aliens had a taste of my sweet back. And they couldn't stay away. Not even galactical distances would keep them from a second helping.

God help me!

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