Welcome back! Today marks a month of unmissed entries (technically five). May not seem impressive, but believe me, I’m smiling, given the sheer hell that has been January and February.
Before I get into things, allow me to put on my promotional hat and give you the chance to win something with…well, only a few strings attached. I’ll save the spiel: I’m giving $25 in Amazon funbucks to one winner. To get an entry, we need you to:
- Like this Facebook Page
- Share the pinned post at the top of the page
- Leave a comment and tag a friend
Hopefully that’s not too onerous. The giveaway ends on Friday, with the winner announced Monday morning. Hey, think of all the stuff you could buy with that.
Alright, on to the meat of the post. Last week’s entry was written with certain…assumptions. For example, it seemed reasonable to assume that the week would not go to utter shite and I would power through Chapter 16. Hah, I thought, I’d be well into Chapter 17 by then, right?
Yeah, well, life happened. Specifically, bubble gum happened.
Let’s take the way-back machine to segue-ville and talk about Big League Chew. For you folks not familiar with it, it’s pink, it’s shredded, it comes in a silver pouch that looks something like this:
You might recognize a certain similarity to chewing tobacco. That’s intentional, of course, as baseball players (always known for the wad of tobacco in their cheek) had designed the gum to operate in a similar fashion, ostensibly steering children away from the brown stuff. Reasonable trade-off? I’ll leave that up to you. As a kid, though? Pure gold! You couldn’t be a baseball player without a wad of something jammed in your cheek and I had already tasted the forbidden Skoal fruit and found it…wanting. Okay, it tasted like a toilet bowl.
Fast forward, oh, twenty years and I’ve generally forgotten about the stuff. One day my wife, Mary, as she will often do, pointed it out and guessed that I had chewed it as a kid. Spot on, I thought, and wondered if it might still be fun to chew? So I bought a bag and it surprised me – it stayed softer than other gums and had good flavor. It also helped that oral fixation and kept me away from more damaging sweets. Acceptable trade-off.
Until last Tuesday, that is. There I was, chowing down on a wad of the pink stuff when one of the amorphous sides slipped into the left side of my mouth, squeezing into a microscopic space between the bottom of my crown and my gum.
Could you make a knife out of spun sugar? Would it penetrate skin? I’m not sure, but the only description that I can summon of that moment is a sugary knife driven right into my gum. Cried out, spat the stuff out, and went back to work, fervently hoping that this was just one of those things that happen, like getting something stuck between your gum and tooth. A day of discomfort, but not much more. I mean, I’ve had the crown since 2006, but it had never presented a moment of trouble.
This felt like it might be the case on Wednesday morning. Sure, it ached a little, but nothing too alarming. I chewed on that side and felt a bit of pain, figured I needed to give it a little time, let it work out. By Wednesday afternoon, I could no longer deny that something had gone wrong. You know how you have differing levels of pain, and there’s a certain pain that falls in between the “annoying, but ignorable” and “oh my God my nerve endings are on fire” levels? Yeah, this was it. I didn’t want to curl up in agony, but productivity became impossible as I started to scout sites in search of some sign from above that things would be all right, especially if I just did one weird trick to ease the pain, preferably one that dentists hate.
Thursday morning put a sledgehammer through the idea of this being a passing thing. I was taking 800 godforsaken milligrams of ibuprofen and still I could only lie in bed, perfectly still, lest blood flow to that area and cause a raging flare-up. But hey, better than wanting to kill myself, right?
I called in sick and went to the dentist, who confirmed my worst fears: root infection (and please note, this tooth already had a root canal, so thanks for botching that, long-ago-dentist-whose-name-I-can’t-recall). Antibiotics, painkillers, and orders to schedule a root canal. Sigh.
Meanwhile you can imagine my productivity. Not a single word on Thursday; I managed a few on Friday, as the antibiotics had begun to do their job, but anxiety from a growing abscess and a codeine haze kept me from doing much more than the basics. Only on Saturday did I truly begin to recover and get back into the groove of things, though again – codeine. Yesterday was my first pain-free day, but I meet with the endodontist tomorrow to begin that whole gauntlet of torments.
Anyway, my point is that Chapter 16 has barely moved, and may not until sometime later next week. I’m also going to be saving the discussion of Goose and his religious issues until the next entry due to all of this insanity. Such is the way of writing.
Question of the Week
Last week I asked about your favorite childhood superheroes, and the answers rolled right in! Well, okay, two. Two answers rolled in. But I appreciate them! Mary had a tie between Superman and Underdog, because Superman could solve any problem and Underdog was earnest, clumsy, and endearing. Underdog! Now there’s an answer, and I think he ties in with some of what I discussed last week, about the essential humanity of a superhero making them interesting. Sure, he’s a dog, but no one is perfect.
Aniko also replied, choosing Sherlock Holmes because of his energy and intellect and the protagonist of Island of the Blue Dolphins, who I believe is Juana Maria, for her self-reliance and perseverance. Both excellent choices, and Holmes is a tricky one, considering he formed the template of a lot of the early detective comics that would give rise to Batman. I think that does make him a proto-superhero, akin to the Shadow or Zorro.
This week’s question:
Who is your personal hero, and why?
Oh boy, this opened a can of worms. The very idea of ‘heroes’ has bugged me for years, as I thought it dehumanized both the idolized and worshipped (idolator? Is that appropriate here?).
Such things always rub me the wrong way – why come at something with the assumption that you’re somehow “lesser than”? Maybe you’re not where that person is in the curve of their development, but surely that does not somehow make you a lesser person.
Maturity ruins everything, of course, and I realize that my point of view, while somewhat valid, was also limited. I stick by my criticism of the view above, that a hero is somehow perfect and you could never hope to attain their “level” in life, as if that means anything, but I recognize that the concept of a personal hero can also include viewing the hero as imperfect. In fact, a mature definition of the word should probably include that as a must. You must recognize that person as someone who occupies a body much like yours, who has their own weaknesses and flaws. What makes them inspirational is their ability to push past those flaws and fears and become something more.
Just writing that out, I realized my personal hero: Stephen Hawking, as the guy overcame adversity to the point that it’s become a side-note to his amazing accomplishments. He refused to be defined by the barriers in front of him and, in so doing, forced the world to do the same. That alone is amazing, but add in his incredible intellect and contributions to the world and I can’t help but stand in awe.
So how about you? Who do you most admire, and why?
Photo of the week
As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to go on a road trip this weekend, but hey, the thirst for photography is real, and I have a back yard. A kind of spooky, atmospheric backyard, in fact. Check out how the lights shine through the storm. Not the best shot I ever took, not by a long shot, but it’s fun.
Okay that does it for this week. Next week’s entry is kind of up in the air at the moment, given that next Wednesday is going to be really busy and I don’t know how this tooth thing is going to play out. I’ll be here, just can’t say exactly when. Hopefully I see you soon.