Yesterday, I was in the bathroom putting on my make-up* when Miguel came into the bathroom, dropped trou and sat on the toilet. I shot him a quick glance and noticed a black spot on his hip. Obviously, my first thought was "Oh my god! Leprosy!" but I quickly realized that it was just a tick and I said, "Hey you! You’ve got a tick on your hip!” in a voice that suggested that he was the Luckiest Boy in the World. Of course, he chose to focus on the fact that ticks burrow into your skin and suck out your blood. So dramatic. Well, I calmly picked up the tweezers and gripped the tick by it’s little blood sucking head and pulled it out - just like that. Miguel thanked me and went on his way and, as I silently extolled my own maternal virtues, I thought about my mom. When I was young, my mother was a master at removing ticks and I hated ticks. They didn't scare me but they creeped me the hell out so, whenever I found one, I would run to my mother all atwitter** and she would get close, her cigarette dangling precariously from her clenched teeth, and pull them right out. She could do it with tweezers or with her perfectly manicured nails. Yesterday morning, as I stood there in my bathroom holding that tick, I was certain that my mother would have been proud of me because she took pride in weird practical skills. She would have nodded her approval and given me a smile that said, "Damn right, girl!" I carried that thought with me all day because it was also her birthday - she would have been 74. That tick brought me the gift of a small memory and those are sometimes the best.