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Thursday, 22 April
Dreamlike Occurrences That Were Not Actually Dreams

Because I am a hellbound smoker, and also because of my apparently Croesus-like health plan providers, I find myself going to the dentist three times a year so they can climb onto my face and savagely jab at my gums with polearms. The good people at my dentist office are sadistically enthusiastic about these periodic cleanings, and never fail to wait until the blood-bucket is dangling from my jaw, ready to accept the freely flowing gore I will soon ooze, to lecture me cheerily about quitting smoking, to which I unfailingly reply, "Laagh." It's a routine for all of us, and they rarely surprise me.

So it was a little startling when I walked in yesterday to find some strange woman I'd never met standing in the place of H., my usual medieval specialist. "Hi, I'm L.," she said. "H. is on maternity leave." My brain took that in for a moment, wondering They let these psychopaths have babies? She's probably going to put alum on her nipples before she nurses the poor bastard. L. went on to explain that she was herself a dentist, as well as an acupuncturist, which are two words that seriously shouldn't be that close to one another. That's fucking great! Pins in my mouth! I numbly climbed into the chair and adopted an attitude of hopelessness and began sweating.

But, shockingly, L. was pretty great. She was very gentle, and seemed to enjoy demoing her newest toy, an ominous metal viper-thing that screamed in Edith Bunkerish tones as it blasted the coral on my teeth and nosed at my gumline. It was a freaky little fucking doodad, but it didn't hurt at all, and it beat the hell out of that thing with the hook--the one where they all but put a foot on your neck and use two hands to try and rip your teeth out. Unwisely, I began to relax.

No doubt sensing this, L. chose her moment. "Oh!" she said, "look at that!" I stiffened immediately, sensing danger. Now she's going to tell me there's a family of earwigs living in my skull. "Wa! Wa!" I implored. She put a gloved finger in my mouth right under my tongue. "These bony structures here? When you were a baby--a fetus, really--these bones came together and just kept growing for a little while. They're nothing, really." I do have these two kinda lumps under my tongue; I assumed everyone did. "Just wanted to let you know." I had no idea how to respond, and plus my mouth was full of dentist. "Yang," I said.

L. bent again to work, and she became preoccupied. I was almost starting to think about something else when she suddenly crooned, almost absently, "Some people think they're tumors."

And now, of course, I do.

-----

At work today, we had a little group training thing--they call it, horribly, an "inservice"--in which we learned about how and when to do Unblindings. These are so boring that I'm not going to bother telling you about them. (Oh, all right--when a patient is on a double-blind study, there are certain times when the doctor needs to "unblind" them, which is just revealing whatever crap the patient was getting: drug or placebo, etc.) Never mind that unblindings are so easy that a slab of bacon could do them, and never mind that I had already done a million of them before, or that I was the one who tested the new software for the unblinding program . . . yeah, never mind. There I was.

So we learned. (Some of us doodled. I made what I thought was a pretty good drawing of Robert Plant. [I have no idea.]) Then, when the bosses were done, it was time for some Office Fun! O Ecstasy! They had devised a silly little not-game-at-all, really, where you picked 1 or 2. We all did. Whoa, let's slow down! It turns out that those who picked 2 got a Booby Prize! Wa-wa! (Actually the Bosslady phrased it hilariously: "Okay, you guys who picked 2 are the losers!" Whee, you're losers! All this and training too? It's too much!) Those who picked 1s got Real Prizes. The losers picked shit out of a bag and got bubble kits, or wacky suction balls, etc. Your basic crap.

But I! I had picked 1! I reached into the bag and brought out my Real Prize.

It was a Durabilt 6-in-1 Ratcheting Screwdriver. I stared at it. "Wow, you got the best one," said Bosslady.

-----

Finally, walking home from work, I was crossing over I-5 and, as usual, making a point of staring contemptuously at all the assholes driving single in the carpool lane. Then, looking forward, I saw two things that chilled me. One was a fellow walking towards me wearing--in very warm weather--a short-sleeved button down shirt, ugly tie, black slacks. He had glasses, short hair, and I could see he was carrying some magazines or something in one hand. It was obviously a Jehovah's Witness. And the other thing I saw, right next to this apparition, was the same fucking thing. There were eerie Jehovah's Witness twins walking straight for me. I felt like Danny Torrance confronting those creepy little girls in the Overlook, except they had un-horribly-died, grown up, gained weight, changed sex, and found Jesus. Heading right the fuck for me. I saw them try to bother a girl walking ahead of me, but she blasted right past them. I could do that too, but the optimal outcome of this situation would be Totally Not Having To Talk To Them At All.

I had very few resources. I pulled out a cigarette, lit it quickly, and then clamped it in my teeth. I hoisted my chin up to a jaunty angle and put the hugest grin on my face possible--what I was doing was trying to look as much as possible like Franklin Roosevelt, for reasons that elude me now. I wished I had a cigarette holder, but oh well. For extra weirdness, I adopted a kind of exaggerated saunter. They drew closer, and I could see them glancing at me nervously. I widened my grin a bit more. At the last minute, I was still afraid that they would try and talk to me, so I pulled out my hole card.

Easing more deeply into my role as Bizarro-FDR, I flashed them my new screwdriver ostentatiously--still in its packaging--, and waggled my eyebrows at them, pretending I was showing some advisors my plans for the New Deal, and wasn't it just hot shit? They twitched and stared at the screwdriver as we wordlessly passed.

No one said a thing.


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Comments

And to my friend Johnny 13, who hates FDR like poison, and will think I'm making that up to needle him: I totally am not making it up, but I thought of you fondly after they passed me.

Comment number: 003096   Posted by: Skot on April 22, 2004 08:34 PM from IP: 216.162.193.72

Coffee hurts when expelled through the nose.

Comment number: 003097   Posted by: Judy on April 23, 2004 05:44 AM from IP: 24.35.17.78

Maybe the Jehovahs have started trying to disguise themselves as Morons -- I mean, Mormons. Coming soon: mountain bikes, super-secret underwear, etc.

Comment number: 003098   Posted by: girlygirl on April 23, 2004 06:20 AM from IP: 68.166.67.161

The Jehovah Twins. I can see the Wrestling Pay Per View now.

Comment number: 003099   Posted by: Shawn on April 23, 2004 09:19 AM from IP: 209.233.130.252

Can you scan and post the drawing of Robert Plant? I'm a pretty good judge, if I do say so myself.

Comment number: 003100   Posted by: nova on April 23, 2004 09:22 AM from IP: 63.188.64.46

Wow, you must suck if even Jehovah's Witnesses don't want to talk to you.

Comment number: 003101   Posted by: Stacey on April 23, 2004 09:34 AM from IP: 129.106.21.180

No, its not that you suck becaues they dont want to talk to you, it's that by acting like you didnt want to talk to you, they were intimadated. Haha look at that im smart!

Comment number: 003102   Posted by: schwatto on April 23, 2004 10:33 AM from IP: 166.109.0.158

What were the other Real Prizes?

Comment number: 003103   Posted by: dayment on April 23, 2004 12:07 PM from IP: 64.105.86.146

Holy shit! I thought everyone had under-tongue-lumps too!

Comment number: 003115   Posted by: SJ on April 27, 2004 06:57 PM from IP: 140.142.171.152

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