I once performed in a children’s musical about Christopher Columbus and the voyage to the New World. I have long forgotten whether I played the Nina, the Pinta, or the Santa Maria, but I was recently reminded of a rousing musical number from the show, a duet between another actor and me. He sang, “The world is flat.” I countered with, “Round!” As our characters’ frustration grew, the song turned to a fiery debate. Louder, higher, and faster we sang, “Round!” “Flat!” “Round!!” I had all but forgotten about the song, but last week, I went for my annual mammogram.
I’m a veteran at mammography, having experienced my first squishing at the ripe age of eighteen. That was when a similar “Round/Flat”duet was performed between a short, middle-aged woman in scrubs with little yellow smiley faces on them, and my left breast. I could tell she was getting frustrated with the stubborn boob as she cranked the vice harder and harder in a feeble attempt to make flat what God had made round. It wasn’t her fault. I was probably her first teenaged, premenstrual patient. My breasts were firm and dense (ah, sweet memory) and they flat-out refused to flatten out. But she was determined to smoosh them the way she smooshed the typical over-forty pair. I wished I had never told my mother about the golf ball I’d felt under my skin in the shower. The weeks since then had been one humiliation after another. Read more