Until that moment, I had been having a pleasant evening. For one, my girlfriend, Shelby, managed to obtain a teal 1950s Chevy for the promenade.
At first this idea scared the plaid printing off of my boxer shorts, because I was acutely aware of several key facts: (1) the owner, Mike, had put what I would estimate to be several hundred thousand hours of work into the car, (2) the value of the car was probably worth at least a million times what I spent on snow cones from The Igloo last summer, (3) if I somehow damaged the car—even just a little dent—I would have, out of remorse, voluntarily turned myself in to the authorities for a minimum of five months in jail.
This is not to mention that upon my first look inside the car, it appeared to have a manual transmission. I cannot drive a stick shift any more successfully than that white rabbit can get his hands on his Trix breakfast cereal.
Thankfully, as it was pointed out to me, the car was actually an automatic transmission. The only problem was, I had shift to all of the gears—reverse, neutral, drive, stall, etc.—strictly by feel, as there was no display telling me what gear I was in.
Sometimes I would accidentally shift further than I intended, which really isn’t that big of a deal until you think you’ve put it into “reverse,” yet the car is just sitting there, doing nothing, as if it’s pouting.
However—silly me—I had really put it into neutral.
But eventually I got the car figured out, and I got Shelby and myself to prom, which is where my dental crisis occurred.
I was at the dentist about six months ago, and was told that, overall, my teeth were doing just fine. I figured this meant I wouldn’t have to go back for another five or so years, which is the usual lapse of time I have between dental appointments.
Instead, they told me that my wisdom teeth would be coming in soon, and that I should come back in about six months to have another checkup.
Even though I got my appointment reminder postcard in the mail about a week before prom, I didn’t really take the whole wisdom tooth thing seriously until after the prom dinner.
You know that uncomfortable feeling of having a piece of chicken lodged in your back? Well, I was experiencing this sensation, and my tongue was having a lot of difficulty in maneuvering that far back to get rid of it.
So, abandoning all social graces my mother ever taught me since I was two, I stuck my finger into the back of my mouth to dislodge the food particle. This is when I discovered that the offending food debris was, in fact, the tip of a tooth poking through my gums.
Now I’m worried. I was recently told the reason wisdom teeth are such a menace is because the roots of the teeth grow into places that were not intended for tooth roots to go, such as the nasal cavity. If left untreated, this can not only get painful, but dangerous.
Here I am picturing somebody with a tooth root sticking out of one nostril.
However, the prospect of removing the tardy teeth also has me a little nervous. I’ve had several friends who have had their wisdom teeth removed, and every single one of them—in addition to looking like chipmunks—was considerably worried about something called “dry sockets.”
They would go on and on for hours after getting their teeth removed, ranting about every single thing they couldn’t do so as to prevent dry sockets. One friend, Corissa, concluded her speech by eating a hotdog.
I don’t really know what dry sockets are, but they sound painful, and for some reason I keep imagining something involving a dirty sock stuck down into the stitching in the gums. I have a feeling this fear is totally irrational and scientifically impossible, but I would still prefer not to have to deal with it.
However, I gave this whole wisdom tooth thing a lot of thought earlier this evening as I was clipping my nails, and I decided the whole situation dims in comparison to a bruise I have on my arm that is approximately the size of New England.
OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I measured, and by my calculations it comes out closer to being in the range of 20 square inches.
You know that saying, “Bad things happen to good people?” I’m walking proof.
I gave blood a few weeks ago. The whole process went much smoother than usual, despite the fact that my blood technician looked a lot like Albert Schweitzer, only with an additional 100 pounds. This bothered me, because I am used to having young female technicians, and here Mr. Schweitzer was jabbing a large knitting needle into my arm.
When my blood bag was full, Albert was trying to talk to me about something involving “no heavy lifting” and “call this number,” but I wasn’t listening because I was still concentrating on counting the number of rotations the ceiling fan had made.
Four or five hours later I realized what he had been telling me when I decided to lift a large bass guitar amplifier onto the high school stage. My arm started to get sore, but I didn’t worry much about it until I got this bruise, which I am now proudly displaying on my left arm.
Half of it is a pea-green, and the other half is a really pretty purple.
I’ll let you see it for a quarter.
But getting back to my original topic, I think I’m going to skip my scheduled dentist appointment. At least for another five or six years. I think a person with a tooth root sticking out of his nostril could possibly make a large sum of money by appearing on daytime talk shows.
Maybe while I’m on tour, Mike will let me take his car.
* * *
UFO: Americans eat on average 18 acres worth of pizza every day.
Don’t ask why.