I just spent two hours in a dentist’s chair having a crown replaced. It wasn’t all the fun it’s cracked up to be.
It seems all the fillings and bridge work done to my teeth only have a shelf life of 30 to 40 years, and now all of it is starting to come loose or deteriorate in some unlovely way and must be replaced. Every time I walk into Dr. Smile’s office, the bill is $1,200 -- and that’s if he doesn’t have to send me to a specialist, where the fee is easily double that.
“I think we’re talking implants here,” is Dr. Smile’s new favorite phrase. Not that he doesn’t deserve the money. He is pain-free dentistry at its finest, and I would look like an extra from “Deliverance” if it weren’t for his magic. Still, the money has to come from somewhere. Goodbye, fire engine-red sports car; goodbye, customized Harley; goodbye, pontoon party boat.
Goodbye, Caribbean cruise. See you next year, assuming my few remaining real teeth don’t go south, and that I don’t have to get another root canal on the Fourth of July.
I was daydreaming of how wonderful my life would be without Dr. Smile when the cranberry juice I was drinking dribbled down my shirtfront -- I forgot you can’t drink from a glass when you can’t feel your Novocained lips -- when I got this email from my sister Mary. I have not changed a word.
“Just thought I would share with you some of how my day went. Packed a suitcase to go over to Brooke’s to spend the night since Emily is over there. My phone fell out of my pocket straight into the toilet. Good thing it had just been flushed! Took my meds not exactly 12 hours apart, as directed -- jumped the gun and took them 15 minutes too soon and promptly threw them up. Was going to call Richard to tell him I might pass out and where I’d be, but, oh yeah, I had just dropped my phone in the toilet and it wouldn’t work.
“Thought I would do a load of laundry, and spilled a whole cup of bleach all over the dryer and floor. Packed the car, did some errands and stopped to get a few chicken nuggets on my way to Brooke’s since my stomach was empty -- see above. Went out to the car, pulled out my keys and noticed there was half of my car key just gone. I kept wondering where it was and figured it must be in the ignition. ‘That’s OK,’ I thought, ‘I’ll just call Richard and tell him to bring the spare key.’ Duh, my phone was in the locked car, and probably still full of toilet water. I crossed the parking lot to the Goodwill and asked if I could use their phone because I had dropped mine in the toilet, and anyway it was locked in my car because I only had half a key.
“I called Richard and told him my story and said I was at the Goodwill near the Taco Bell, when in reality, I was at a thrift store near Chick-fil-A. He did eventually find me, and after calling several locksmiths, we found one, but he had four people ahead of us waiting for his help. While he was on the phone, my nose started to bleed because I am now on blood thinners, so that was kind of a mess. Richard went to wait for the locksmith. I will try again to get to Brooke’s tomorrow!”
I don’t think I could have written about a day like that in such an upbeat way. Just dropping the phone in the toilet would have been my cue to spend half a day binge-watching “Hollywood Squares” while eating a few bags of cheesy potato chips. The rest of the day I just would have wasted.
Don’t be like me. Be like Mary.
(Contact Jim Mullen at email@example.com.)