Bizarre Coping Mechanisms, Mary Shelley, Army Dentists, and School Avoidance

As per standard operating procedure, I tend to randomly exercise word association which takes me down twisting trains of thought with infinite branches where I get lost and forget what it is I am supposed to be doing. I think it is a coping mechanism or something that my channel surfing brain uses to spare me from the torment of pressing deadlines. It’s a flawed mechanism if you ask me and I have no idea how it originated.

So, here’s an innocuous example of what I’m talking about. This school project has me discussing the Gothic elements in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Having never actually read the novel, but being familiar with the tale, I felt pretty confident I could knock this out. Then I got to the part where I’m supposed to talk about Gothic themes in the story. Interestingly enough, this isn’t a requirement, but I already typed that I would point it out and I figured it couldn’t be that hard to discuss the topic.

An hour later, I found myself staring at a screen and repeating the word “theme” like some kind of lame mantra. You’d be amazed at how many different ways you can say a single word. This chanting took me back, like transcendental meditation/astral projection/displacement, to a dental visit for which I was awarded a gold crown as a replacement for a cracked and far less blingy natural tooth. New dental Lieutenants were brought in to learn by watching the Major who was performing the task of grinding away the old tooth to create a tiny spike of tooth for the crown to sit on like a decapitated head on a villain’s castle walls— only much smaller. And without bodiless heads. So, basically nothing like castle wall head spikes, but it is really boring laying there for that long and my mind wanders.

Apparently, I bleed a lot when people take gardening sheers to my gums and masonry grinders to my teeth. Who knew? Ostensibly, some people are disturbed by the word “blood”, so instead of saying blood, they threw around the shortened version of “hemoglobin”. They tossed the word “heam” about as if they’d just learned it and were seeking every opportunity to use it in a sentence. I did my best to ignore them, but it got truly annoying after a while.

Major: “That’s a lot of heam. I’m going to go grab some (insert made up Latin sounding drug name here). You stay here and make sure he doesn’t drown in heam and slobber.”

I briefly wondered if he was ordering them to slobber, but who am I to judge sentence structure?

LT #1: “Yes, Sir. That certainly is a lot of heam.”

LT #2: “Wow, I’ve never seen so much heam. Have you ever seen so much heam?”

The situation degraded from there and I soon had to grab LT #2 by the wrist because the heam/saliva sucky tube was now firmly affixed to the dangly thing in the back of my throat following an impromptu tonsillectomy by vacuum.

She must have misunderstood my intent and decided to clue me in because I’m apparently retarded and can’t understand the lingo of her profession. “When we say heam, we mean blood.” She touched my shoulder with her fingertips as she said it which made me feel slightly flirted with and simultaneously condescended to. Then she returned to absent-minded soft tissue removal as she turned back to the heam usage contest.

LT #1: “No, I’ve never seen heam like this either. It’s like a heamopocalypse in there.”

LT #2: Giggle giggle touch on LT#1’s elbow. “It’s a heam tsunami.”

The Major returned. “How’s it heaming, Chief?”

LT#2: Giggle giggle touch on the Major’s elbow. “Heams going to be just fine, Sir.” She purred.

I feel so cheap.

I gestured at the two-pound block of rubber jammed between my molars.

*Note to self: Majors don’t like being bitten. Retaliation is swift and painful.

He removed the bite block and I told him how the flirty-with-apparently-everybody LT was just explaining to me what heam was.

She leaned in and put her fingertips on my shoulder again to which I responded with crossed arms and a quick jerk away from her false affections. She then told me: “Heam is short for hemoglobin— which is blood.”

“Ma’am.” I began. “It is not. Hemoglobin is a component of blood. It is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. The normal adult hemoglobin molecule contains two alpha-globulin…”

I heard her teeth click back together under her mask.

“Also, the unorthodox usage of that sucky tube has my lower esophageal sphincter in need of some of that hemostatic compound you have there, Major.”

Aaaaand now I’ve written two and a half pages that has nothing to do with Gothic themes in a work of fiction. Awesome.