A day at the Dentist

“Your blood pressure is elevated,” the snooty dental hygienist accused.

“You think?” I’m not a fan of snootiness. “Why do you need my BP to examine my teeth anyway? Are you going to stop a heart attack with an emergency tooth extraction?” Maybe it came out more, ah… less civil than I’d hoped. But in my defense, I was quite traumatized at this point.

*Crickets.

“I apologize. My pressure runs borderline anyway. Add to that a 300-pound dude in a lab coat jamming “bite wings” down my throat while he shoots radiation through a plastic basketball hoop attached to and dangling from the side of my head and you might understand my anxious state. Danged thing herniated a disk in my neck. And why do they cover my torso in a lead vest while leaving my face in the path of directed radiation? Is my face not as important? Why no crotch flap? I’m pretty sure that’s important too. Also, I saw my own toes sticking out of my own nose, my innie is now an outie, and I think I have a hernia now.” I took a short breath and spoke in the general direction of the x-ray tech. “Thanks for that by the way, Gigantor.”

Feeling better, I turned and almost attempted my best disarming smile. I don’t know that it’s ever disarmed anyone and may even more closely resemble a snarl that has at least frightened some children. She was about to get intimate with my teeth anyway so I deprived her of the opportunity to experience disarmament and kept that smile in check just in case she got paid by the number of exposures to my teeth. You aren’t getting double time pay out of me, snooty one.

“We need those x-rays, Sir.” That sounded like a weak excuse. Maybe because she couldn’t close her mouth and it’s hard to enunciate when you hang your mouth open like a fish out of water at every little inconsequential thing your patient says.

“Yeah. But do the “bite wings” have to come off of a 747? Then they cover these gargantuan airfoils with enough sharp-edged tarpaulins to cover the entire plane. Seriously, my bowel movements are going to come out shrink wrapped for the next three weeks.”

“You miiiight be overreacting at this point. You should just try to calm down.”

“And how does that work out when your husband says that to you? YOU START GETTING indexEXCITED!!” *Note to self: I need to watch Boondock Saints again.

I actually just thought that bit, but decided to keep it to myself. After all, she was hovering over my face with a Dremel and what looked like a small scythe. “Do you have to mow grass on my tongue?” I offered instead.

“What?”

“Never mind. Where were we? BP? I can explain that beyond having passenger planes shoved down my throat. Also, I do not get along with dental dams.”

“Oooo-K?”

“It’s your coat.” I stated it as plainly as I could. “Not the not-getting-along-with-dental-dams part. The BP part, I mean.”

“My coat? What’s wrong with my coat?” She sniffed it. I almost left.

“My BP goes up any time I’m near you medical types. Something to do with the coat. It might help if you had a nice camouflaged one. That probably wouldn’t help with X-Ray Kong in there though. I bet his kids freak out when he makes airplane noises with a giant spoonful of gag reflex coming their way. I honestly don’t know how you guys’ heads don’t explode every time you put one on. Which I guess would only happen once. Each.”12345678

She affected a look that reminded me of the one my wife wears quite often, sighed, and had me lay back. Then she put these safety glasses on me that are designed for the sole purpose of rendering all men unattractive to anything other than vultures.

“We’re just going to slip this dental dam in…”

I sat up. “No we are not. Didn’t I just tell you I don’t get on well with those things?”

“Just let me give it a try. I’m really good with these things. Just breathe through your nose. You won’t even notice it.”

“And that is what the last thirteen people to attempt it said. Statistically speaking, you just lied to me. I have no real reason to trust you anymore. Besides, this is just supposed to be a cleaning and exam. And I don’t appreciate the mouth breather accusations.”

“What? No. Looking at your x-rays here,” she pointed at a dark spot, deflecting. “You are going to need a filling immediately.”

I looked at the film for myself

“That’s a boot lace eyelet. If you squint, you can make out the rest of the boot. Told you I saw my toes. I’d also like to point out that gold crowns don’t get cavities so unless I have some mutant oral bacteria, you aren’t filling my crown.”

So yeah. That last part wasn’t true, but I’ve been waiting to use that whole bit about trust since my last visit where they attempted to choke me with a wad of latex bearing the innocuous sounding moniker “dental dam”.

Turns out I did need a filling, but not in the gold tooth, and they had time. I guess they saw more discussion coming from me and knocked me out which is incredibly unfair considering the amount of talking and question posing they normally do while they have you as a captive audience incapable of response other than thumbs up.

“Where were you May 28th?” I asked as a woke.

“What?”

“See what you did right there? To me? You could have saved Harambe….”

“Please stop talking.”

Be snooty with me, will you?

Junsa: Destroyer of Worlds

Korea experienced an earthquake recently. I was initially pretty sure it was my fault because every time I go somewhere, something catastrophic happens in the general region in which I find myself. Mad Cow, Chernobyl, Fukushima, New Orleans flooding, volcanic activity in Washington, my son, etc. I decided long ago that I am at odds with the universe.

Then things started falling into place. It isn’t just me. It’s my last name. During my last tour in Korea, Doc and I met a distant relation bearing the same last name as us. As it turns out, Laura was at odds with the universe too as evidenced by her deranged bird besiegement. If they weren’t flying into her house and dying at her feet, they were landing close enough to her house to vomit dead fish at her. I personally think they were just looking out for her, but it can be disconcerting to have fish projectiles hurled at you. No pun intended.

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Then there is my brother, The Brain. Dogs have harassed him for as long as I can remember. This began in Panama when he ran through someone’s carport and a formerly snoozing German Shepard woke to nearly tear The Brain’s left butt cheek off. Since then, he’s been a devout cynophobe (I had to look that up because dogophobe didn’t sound quite legit) which should not to be confused with gynophobe. Seriously. I just looked that up and it’s a real thing. He’s certainly not a gynophobe. They may have scared him briefly during adolescence, but I’m pretty sure he’s good now. Except for maybe his spouse. He’s definitely a little scared of her. Anyway, I posted this pic at him because I’m a good big brother and don’t want him to forget the things that made him who he is:

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He informed me that “When going to someone’s house, you never hear “I’m glad you have this dog!”

“Of course you do,” I replied. “You just have to read between the lines. For example, when people say things like “Sweet Jesus! Why is he trying to bite my face off?”, they really mean “Awe. He so affectionate. I’m really glad you have this dog.”

Just days later, he got his family a dog. I’m a really good influence when you think about it.

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I redacted my sister-in-law’s face for the same reason I Pac-Man The Brain’s face in pics, but didn’t want to cause confusion so I Mrs. Pac-Manned hers. I’m a little disappointed in the results.  I couldn’t get the eye quite right. I guess that’s irrelevant though. I just wanted you to see the source of Korean seismic woes. Junsa, Destroyer of Worlds is his full name. Junsa is to Korea what Godzilla is to Japan. See for yourself.

The Brain gets a dog. The following day Korea has an earthquake. Deny it all you want, Brain. This one is so totally on you this time.

 

How I Became an Extroverted Introvert

My wife pointed out that I am no longer the introverted guy she married 20 years ago. This got me to thinking about how this came to pass. She is right (don’t ever tell her I said that) about me having been an introvert. I have leaned that way since I can remember. I was always awkward socially, terrible with and terrified by the opposite sex, reclusive, antisocial, and a bit of a fire bug. Basically a serial killer in the making if documentaries are to be believed. I never hurt animals though. I quite preferred their company to that of people. Sometimes I still do, truth be told.

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Really. Who wouldn’t prefer the company of these guys?

This isn’t me these days. Except for the socially awkward part. If you’ve read any of my blog entries, you’ll have seen some of the things that run through my head. More often than not, these things come out in social settings. Typically, they induce uncomfortable silences from those that hear me. Then I have to fill the silent void with things in hope of making it entertaining. My wife thinks this is how I came to be afflicted with Moosa. She still claims it to be a demented fabrication, but she’s a psychologist, not an M.D. If she was up to speed on her dementia she would know that mad cow is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s which is a form of senile dementia. And that is just half of the mutated thing I dubbed Moosa. Don’t judge me.

That said, memory is a funny thing. I don’t remember certain things that happened while living on Fort Riley, Kansas, that still entertain my parents to this day. I wasn’t even in the first grade yet, but they laugh when they tell me how I put little balls of poo in my dad’s combat boots. I don’t remember rubbing my junk on the sliding glass door while standing between the curtain and the glass. I guess it kind of freaked my mother out who was in the back yard watching funnel clouds with her friends only to have them point out a scrawny kid hitting a home run with a glass door while grinning like an idiot. Good times. These are the kinds of things I wish I could remember so I could introduce them as topics of discussion in polite company. Now they are just second hand stories rather than my own.

The crap I do remember from back then actually kind of sucks. Like my first exposure to a group of bullies. It was the same day I found a puppy and tried to keep it behind a little stone wall so I could go ask permission to keep it. I had to go back outside and break the bad news to the puppy, but dogs have really good ears and apparently he’d already heard through the walls and left without a goodbye. I clearly remember how upset I was. My mother skillfully distracted me by tying a cape around my neck so I could be superman. I must have been superman for days because it was just a few days later when I “flew” around to a friend’s back yard that I met my kryptonite for the first time. A group of older kids had my friend in tears and began threatening him with bodily harm if he didn’t beat me up. I decided I should be elsewhere because this was so not cool. They formed a ring around me and the butt kicking commenced. Brock Lesnar couldn’t have done a more thorough job. I dragged myself home and swore off of capes and became a bit of a recluse… for the next 20 years.

Somewhere in my mind, I linked that event to the Army. It’s understandable, I suppose. Most of my life has been linked to the Army. I guess my point is that I think this is where my reclusive, socially awkward nature originated. It didn’t help that we moved every three years and I was forced to find that one other kid with no friends. That got really weird when that other kid was female and we were both beginning to recognize that the other gender was more interesting than our own.

I think I’ve figured out when the shift took place in the social arena though. I didn’t like the idea of my brothers being in a combat zone while I sat safely ensconced in my isolation. I’d already been married to my wife for seven years and at 31 years old, I enlisted in the Army. I turned 32 the day I arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to become a cannon crew member.

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I was driven and climbed the rank ladder as fast as I could. Consequently, I was forced to be in front of a squad. I had to teach, coach, mentor, and lead young soldiers. This is pretty tough for one who has lived as introvert for decades, yet I was fairly proficient at it and this eventually led to my becoming a platoon Sergeant. The point is that the Army forced me out of my shell, made me face the uncomfortable and overcome it. I’d found my niche and that niche was in front of some of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.

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So here I am. A mid-forties social bug who now embraces the awkwardness. I love my unique brand of oddness. There was a time during which my concern over other people’s perception of me was absolutely debilitating. I’m glad that is gone. I like being the guy at a formal military ball who removes his dress blue uniform top to reveal his dress shirt’s sleeves and back panel are colorful patches containing bulldogs on motorcycles.

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I was the only person in the room full of officers and senior NCOs wearing a “party shirt” and it created a strange sort of conversational ripple as people turned to look. It was actually fun rather than mortifying. Now I kind of enjoy it when I introduce a topic of discussion that leaves others feeling awkward and unsure of how to respond. Welcome to my world, peeps! Embrace yours. It’s the only one you got.

Abandonment: Part Two

During a particularly lucid moment, the Boy and I were able to determine that this indeed day seven without Doc’s supervision: It was a fairly uneventful day without the torment of plague and schemes of the Man Child. We haven’t seen him since this morning when he let me in after causing me to lock myself out. We have determined he may have been consumed by the timber wolf posing as a house pet. It is also known to our tribe that pigs will devour a man as well. This could explain why Doc’s beloved pigdog is so jumpy. She must be going feral with the rest of us. Our meal was a bland concoction of shell shaped wheat powder covered in an orange paste one might mistake for a product of a bovine’s udder. We run dangerously low on this provision as well. It may be that we are reduced to eating grass before Doc returns. The Boy entertained himself today by coaxing strange noises from the pigdog with a bundle of leaves covered in strange runes not unlike those you see before you. They must be powerful runes indeed to frighten Doc’s minion in such a way.

Again without wife supervision: Day eight, month eight, year eight, what’s the difference? We are doomed. It seems that the pigdog did not devour the Man Child after all. He’d been gone searching vehicle graveyards for Jeep parts. Yes, parts for his vehicle that he assaulted Doc’s chariot with. I am surprised he was permitted to live. Despite the howling and chest beating protests of the Boy and I, the Man Child destroyed one of our last food reserves: The fish drying racks we had constructed under the back seat of the Jeep. Granted, the heads are the least tasty morsels of fish, but it WAS food. On a positive note, it rained today. The Boy and I rendered fat and wood ash and attempted to bathe for the first time since we were chased away from the pool. We were forced back into the cave after a narrow escape wearing nothing but a less than optimal film of soap. Vile men in blue.

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*Timber Wolf and Pigdog

Day nine and still no wife to keep the natives in check. The Boy and the Man Child shriek and hoot with glee until shortly before sunrise and sing with the Timber Wolf and Pigdog. I am convinced that the Boy has forged some ungodly alliance with the Man Child. My days may be numbered. The four of them share meals from the same bowl and exclude me. I was never a fan anyway of the rubber chicken bits so loved by the Timber Wolf. Some withered old alchemist also plots against me by telling Doc’s Queen Mother to take my wife into the mountain wilderness. It seems the Evil Druidess my wife calls Sister also plots to have Doc leave us to perish. Perhaps the pagan practices of the ungodly duo downstairs are linked to the Evil Druidess and her fell minions.

Day ten was almost my undoing. Fearing for my safety and my empty stomach, I felt it best to be somewhere other than the cave where the Boy and the Man Child plot against me. So I ventured to Pineview lake. A gator infested, weed choked, fish free place on the edge of civilization. Recent fires had cleared much of the underbrush and still smoldered. A thick cloud of pine scented smoke hung low over the water. Sadly, the smoke cover was not enough to block the sun. My skin now glows bright red. I have no food to show for my efforts, but I learned a new skill: The uphill dismounted stump jumping through hot coals in a modified zig zag panic induced sprint is of great use when gators show interest in the bait fish still in your hand.

Day eleven without adult supervision: The Boy seems to have gangrene. I may have to amputate his trigger finger. He’s no good to me if he can’t shoot. Perhaps he would make good bait. If he could distract one of those gators long enough for me to kill one, I’d have enough food for a week! Hopefully it has nothing to do with the fish we ate. He was impaled several times by the spines of angry fish not wanting to part with their scales.
*Update: The Boy used half a bottle of rum to make a sauce for some sauce for our seafood. Using him for gator bait may serve to prevent further instances of such blatant alcohol abuse.

Day twelve without wife supervision was challenging. It is the first time we’ve had to prepare for a birthday without her. I think the Boy and I did well. We made a cake for the Man Child. We also employed our extensive crafting abilities to make the Man Child a birthday card to go with the cake. After all, making a gift requires a great deal of time, effort, and thoughtfulness. He is sure to appreciate this more than any store bought trinket. Perhaps this will bring peace between our factions.

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Day thirteen. We are saved!! Our queen has graced us with her presence! Though I am confused at her reaction to the two dozen mouse heads we left in tribute. It always seems to please her when the cat does it…

Abandonment: Part One

Every year my wife heads off to Pensacola to tend to the needs of her mother. It always seems to happen at the same time each year and she goes to great lengths to make sure we are fed for the duration. Without fail, the two weeks’ worth of food she prepares ahead of time seems to last approximately three days. I get it. We are grown and should be able to fend for ourselves and we do. However, while doing so I like to ensure she sees the plight she has inflicted on us through her absence. This serves the purpose of also providing her with daily updates.

The first couple of days are typically the same: We boys eat well and are happy. I begin to miss her and start putting “Aint no sunshine when she’s gone” videos on her FB timeline. It is usually that third day when semblances of civilization begin to crumble and we descend into a world not unlike the one depicted in Lord of the Flies. Here are the updates from her 2013 trip.

Day one without spousal oversight: Early August in the Georgia Low County. The temperature and humidity levels flirt with a third digit. Doc vanished in the early morning hours for a time indeterminate. I used the last sliver of soap this morning. While trusting the Timber Wolf and Pigdog to watch my back, I spent the morning trying to render fat in order to produce a rudimentary substance to bathe with. I have nothing to show for it but a full belly and the pervasive odor of bacon clinging to me like sweaty clothes and some soot with which to camouflage myself when I hunt for sustenance.

Day two without spousal oversight: The Boy and I have gone native. Despite the best efforts of the wife to leave us well provisioned, we’ve resorted to killing things and eating them. Tonight we shared a meal of dozen fried bream I skillfully caught.

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Day three without Doc’s supervision: The plague is taking its toll on the other half of my faction, threatening to upset the power balance. The common cold is deadly to us primitives. I think I may have to sacrifice him in order to save myself. My other son has formed a separatist faction and makes the rest of our territory uncomfortable. (If y’all knew the Man Child back then you would know that I am only half joking. He was going through some dark times and became slightly reclusive and perpetually agitated). This other faction persists in unwarranted territorial posturing. We may have to take him out before the plague weakens us too far. It’s ok, I know where he sleeps.

Day four unsupervised: It looks like the Boy and I will survive this round of plague, even as the other faction’s leader, the Man Child, begins to feel its effects. The dogs have stopped incessantly trying to go outside. Could be the thunderstorm or it could be that inside has become a jungle of sorts. I’m sure Doc would be furious at the state of things if she were here, but we no longer fear whip nor wrath since she is nearly a thousand miles away. For now, we are learning the art of war and the use of implements of destruction. I’ve attached a picture of us in the newly renovated living room so that you might better visualize our advancement.

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Day five…….or seven without Doc’s supervision: Time has lost all meaning here. Due to threats of bodily harm, the Boy and I have agreed not to bring down the vengeful wrath of our distant queen. We still refuse praying to her, but we will not kill her beloved pigdog. However, we are forced to forage farther afield for sustenance following the feast in which we devoured most of the bounty bestowed upon us prior to her departure. I called upon a place miles away from us and demanded food. Our strength and reputation must have preceded us as they brought it to our very gates. We must be fearsome indeed. Or so we thought. These subversives wore the same raiment as the Man Child. Red uniforms bearing the crest of some chieftain called Papa of clan John. It seems he’s forged alliances against us with other clans now.

My Wife Just Killed Newtons for me. And Broccoli.

 

I hadn’t planned on posting again so soon. I try to space things out in case I run out of things to talk about. I’m not sure what spacing posts out is going to do for that, but it made sense when I made the decision. I suppose I should get to the point of this post. Doc is at it again with her FB videos and I suspect she does this on purpose just to disturb me in some fashion. Fair enough. I’ve spent the last twenty years disturbing her with whatever falls out of my mouth. I knew I shouldn’t have opened the link but when the first text I see is “You’re eating wasps”, how am I supposed to not look?

Look. I get it. Eating bugs manifests in countless ways in most cultures I’ve encountered despite several differing religion’s prohibition on bug noshing. From Sicilian maggot cheese to entire bug buffets in Asia, it is a common thing. I’ve personally tried many. The sour cream and chive crickets weren’t bad, but Korea’s boiled silk worm larvae (bundaegi) tasted a lot like a dirty urinal smells and my throat closed and it wouldn’t go down and the smell stuck with me for hours until I got home and could reenact a scene from Ace Ventura.

That said, Fig Newton’s are dead to me. It isn’t the bug so much as it is the niggling thought that when I consume things containing figs, I am also consuming the romper rooms of irritable, incestuous, stinging insects. I’ll never be convinced that this is sanitary and all I see now when I see a fig is The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas meets Wrong Turn meets Little Shop of Horrors. Wow. Those titles sound a bit alike when I think about it. Except for the Wrong Turn part. Obviously.

Then I looked into it and I now think broccoli is off the table as well. No more research for me. Ignorance is bliss, no? Don’t go looking. Cabbage might be out too.

You win this round, Doc. Well played.

Misdiagnosis or the Interconnected Nature of Everything. Being Married to a Shrink.

My wife put this video on my FB timeline with the caption “This is exactly like having a conversation with you.”

I responded with “I’m pretty sure this is nothing like me”.

Then that reminded me that I needed to complete my annual GAT (Global Assessment Tool). No. Not random. The GAT is a mandatory survey that asks like a million questions six different ways and you have to answer on a scale consisting of differing degrees of like me-ness. It’s something like this:

Question 401,693: I am easily distracted.

Then I have to answer with “nothing like me”, “somewhat like me”, or “this is so totally like me”. See? Connected rather than randomized. It’s all connected. Kind of like all those Disney movies making reference to one another. Just because I am thinking about Tarzan’s parents doesn’t mean that your convo on Frozen isn’t the same conversation.

Boom. Diagnosis refuted! It’s like magic how I can do that.

Take that, Doc! I’m a wizard!

You’ll Never Find Your Super Power While Wearing Clothes

I had a fun little thought while I was showering this morning. The bathroom is where most of my most interesting thoughts come from, after all. I like to think that my best thoughts arrive in the bathroom because clothes inhibit free thought and creativity. I’m telling you, if I were dressed right now I’d still be staring at a blank page with no idea where to begin. Sure, one might mistakenly think the shower thought phenomenon is due to the absence of distractions in the bathroom. There’s just the mirror. And maybe some books. Not in my bathroom though. E-readers don’t live long in there. Other than shaving my face, I can’t tell you when the last time I even looked in the mirror. Except for that time last year when my face started sliding off in the hospital. OK. So that was the last good look in the mirror. But in my defense, one’s face sliding off is something one shouldn’t miss. I was all “Yo, Adrian! I can’t spit.”, but my wife didn’t think it was funny and neither did the doctor who immediately had my head rushed into an inordinately loud magnetic tube. Anyway, the whole blaming it on distractions thing seems like a bit of a stretch. It’s totally the clothing’s fault.

So I was rinsing the soap out of my hair (and no I don’t use shampoo because Army regulation keeps my hair so short that shampoo seems like a purely superfluous amenity) when I realized that my eyes were open. Not that big a deal at first glance, but bear with me. I thought back and realized that I’d been doing this whole open eyed thing for most of my life. When I was a child though, I could chemical burn my corneas in the shower with eyes shut and goggles on while using baby shampoo. It took no effort whatsoever. Now it feels like I have to put forth a great deal of effort to get lye flavored pain in my eyes. Not that I want to do so of course, but you get the idea.

I puzzled it out and had something like an epiphany. One or two things could have occurred to make this possible. 1) As I aged I grew this Neanderthal-like forehead that shields my eyes while the wrinkles I developed serve to divert water away like drainage ditches. And 2) My ludicrously thick eyebrows serve as self-grown sham-wows that soaks up all the water and protects my eyes.

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I actually felt the need to go watch that commercial right then and ended up watching Apocalyptica and people interacting with pet ocelot videos. The ocelots, of course, took me to an Archer episode… Sorry. I’m back.

The point is that my body reacted to external threats and mutated accordingly kind of like when Deadpool spent the weekend in that little chamber-o-torture to make his mutations manifest. Long story short: I’m one of the X-Men, y’all! One childhood dream now checked off the bucket list. Granted, it may not be effective against Magneto, frost giants or dark elves, and it’ll get me nowhere with Scarlett Johansson unless I paint myself green and live as an angsty teenager who then develops a gothy “I’m always angry” attitude. Maybe I could jump brands and use my unique abilities to help the Justice League fight Poseidon. BAM! Problem solved. ‘Tis what I do. Well, that and divert water.

Doc is going to be so stoked when she gets this call in the morning!

If anybody has good name suggestions for a dude who fights off evil with his water dissuading facial features, please share.