Thursday, May 03, 2012

Your Neighborhood Librarian lies back and tries to relax

Why don't I floss? Why don't I FLOSS?

But I don't. So every couple of years, I end up having to have the roots of my teeth scaled, or planed or whatever they call it - I mean, whatever they do call it it amounts to SCRAPED. SCRAPED UGH ROOTS OF TEETH UGH. And you have to get numbed up for it, and now half of my face looks like I have Bell's Palsy again.

You guessed it. This is:




Your Neighborhood Librarian Goes to the Dentist

I had Bell's Palsy once already and it wasn't pretty, ladies and gentlemen! No. Pretty is a thing it wasn't. I looked like I was having a stroke at all times. They need a new name for that shit, "Bell's Palsy" sounds like something that comes in a little yellow cardboard box that you sprinkle on chicken. If I needed to blink, I had to use my finger to shut my left eye. If I wanted to drink through a straw, I had to endure the ridicule of my children. And if I wanted to sneak outside for a smoke after said children were asleep, I had to actually pinch the left side of my mouth closed around the cigarette.

Kim Mulkey, women's bball coach at Baylor,
would dearly like to be able to keep her left eye open.
I feels ya, jocky lady.
You mighta thought I would have quit smoking at that point, but I DIDN'T. NO. I don't have that many vices left, and so I am keeping it up. Here are my vices: I smoke, and I - well I drink, of course I drink, I have little kids - I watch Justified solely to see Raylan Givens with his shirt off, and I don't floss.

Oh, man! Making the f sound with my mouth all numbed up like this makes me make a little fart sound with my cheek. Work tonight is going to be humiliating.

[Once again, Your Neighborhood Librarian is posting from the highway. You live in Baltimore, you see a blue minivan on the Beltway with a woman in it kind of hollering and visibly complaining into thin air, my advice is, give me a wide berth.]


Ok and so I have this not-bad dentist. She is little, and funny, and she's a little bit of a wack job, and she has a nice staff. She's a referral from a co-worker, and I did ask my co-worker first, like, well what do they do while you're an hour in the chair? And she says, "Well just the radio on really, or you can bring your iPod." And I thought, "Hmph."

I'm used to my kids' dentist, with all the little liquid ring-toss games, and the stuffed animals, and the waiting room TV playing Fantasia - which is AWESOME to explain to little kids - well not little kids, I guess my boys aren't little kids anymore. In fact, it is because they're not little kids anymore that we can have these great discussions about the relationship of the music to the images. They totally get it. "The trumpet there is like sunlight!" And it is because they're not little kids anymore that I can tell them the story of the time my friends Billy and Steve took acid for the first time and went to see Fantasia in the movie theater. Except I don't say "acid." I just have to say, "Like, imagine you were a really little kid, or from another planet, and you saw all these symmetrical dancing animal things in all the wrong colors."

Not good when on drugs.
Yeah but Bonnie's office isn't like that. So I get there, and while they are numbing me up - and they numbed me good and proper, I have got to give them that. Man, I am all a fan of being seriously seriously numb for root planing. I like it when somebody is working on my teeth and all that bothers me is the sound. I like it when it just seems like somebody's doing work on a little piece of sculpture somewhere. Tik-y tik-tik tik. That's fine! I don't need any wince-y action. Of course, I end up looking like Frankenstein for the rest of the day, but I don't care that much. Maybe I will later. I gotta work tonight!


[Here I let out a laugh that I'm not sure I ever have heard from myself before - a totally evil cackle. If I could figure out how to put a sound sample online, I would for this.]

That'll be good. But I worked with Bell's Palsy and nobody seemed to notice. So probably no big deal.

So yeah they numbed me up, and the dentist was talking to her assistant, about babysitting her niece and nephew the night before and she said, "You know, I always read them my niece's favorite book, oh she just loves this book! She loves Goodnight Moon!" And I - you know, I been working with children's books for 8 years now, and been sort of critical about them for, well, longer than that maybe, and Goodnight Moon? Goodnight Moon is possibly the children's book I hate the worst in the WHOLE WORLD. Why do we say goodnight to the air? Does that not mean that we're going to sleep in a coffin?

But her 2 year old niece loves it. And she was saying to the other woman, she was saying, "Oh and do you know? they showed me a new one, they showed me Goodnight iPad." And the other dentist was all, "What?! Goodnight iPad, what's wrong with people?" So my dentist says, "No, no, it's really great. It's about turning off all our electronic things. And it's a really good idea, because little Michael, he wants to have that iPad there in the bed with him, he just won't go to bed without it." And I'm kind of spitting out the suction tube to ask, "How old is little  Michael?" FOUR. FOUR and he has his own iPad that he takes to bed with him. But, you know, not her kid, so I can't judge. Although.

So the other woman says, "Oh I was just in the bookstore the other day, and I found a really beautiful copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle." Now, Eric Carle, everybody says Eric Carle is a lovely lovely - lovely lovely man, a wonderful man, but me, I've never gotten the where with the Eric Carle. Yeah he makes the pretty paint splotchies on the paper, nice color sense, and he cuts the pieces out in sort of satisfying shapes, then he collages the whole thing up into, you know, various... tedious... books... for little kids. And I don't want to say that too loud because I know the entire librarian community is going to start revving up to throw shit at me.

This is what they look like when they come for you.
Anyway, they're exclaiming about how great these books are, and I was thinking, "Wow, I'm not even going to open my mouth, really" (except my mouth wasn't anything but open, it was open all that time like I am a fucking gargoyle on the corner of Notre Dame cathedral).

Then the dentist walked out of the room and the assistant, she was like, "Do you have any kids?" And I say yeah, they're 8 and 10, and she says "Well I guess you kind of remember reading picture books to them," and I said well actually I'm a librarian and I do service to children, so I read picture books all the time, you know, 5 days a week probably. And she says, she exclaims, "Oh! That's so great!" and I agree with her, yeah, pretty great. And she goes, "AWW. My favorite book, my favorite children's book... has got to be... The Giving Tree."

And I'm thinking to myself WOW! THREE FOR THREE! I hate The Giving Tree. Everybody who is sane hates The Giving Tree. So then she goes, "Do you have a favorite children's book?" and takes the instruments out of my mouth so that I can answer. And I'm like... Ahh. Umm. No. I - I don't. I - You know? I don't. What do you want me to say? I could say, you know, I love The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. I could say we're listening to The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White right now and it's wonderful. I could say... but I... nothing will leap to my mind. Nothing like Horton Hears a Who ever leaps to my mind in this situation. Nothing that everybody else can go, "Ahh yes! I know that book and I like that book. No, my mind goes, "Well, Kat Falls's Dark Life is a super-duper book that I would recommend to any child in his right mind..." and that is not the answer that that person is looking for from me.

So. She scales my teeth. Bad. I didn't eat before I went in there because I had a job interview beforehand, so I left home, I'm wearing my cute little suit, I brushed my teeth like crazy and Listerine-d my face all up, and then I had this job interview, and I'm not going to eat after the job interview because I can't make it back home and brush my teeth, and you don't want the dentist to think you're a slob. So I didn't eat anything, and she's scaling away, and I'm listening to Hall and Oates on the god damn office radio. God Damn the Lite Rock.



Which brings us to Henry Rollins. Henry Rollins in a monologue he did a long time ago, that I had on a cassette tape, and this is from when he was younger, and had dark hair and still pretended he was a punk rocker or a "spoken word poet" instead of being a stand up comedian, which, you know face it folks... Hey you want me to blow your mind? Henry. Has a Blog. On Vanity Fair. YES HE DOES.

In this monologue Henry was describing being a teenager and working in Georgetown in Washington, DC. He worked at the Hagen Dasz, which was probably a pretty sweet gig for a teenager. I worked at Baskin Robbins at about the same time and Hagen Dasz was really high-end. That was late 70s, early 80's maybe. It was the beginning of the whole cult of the brand, when the idea of gourmet popcorn and gourmet ice cream was a mind-blowing blast of innovation. Like Thomas Jefferson up in the mass produced snack food industry. What's next?? we were probably thinking. Gourmet beer? HA ha ha ha.

Sigh. We had no idea the words that were about to be slewn at us. "Artisanal." "Microbrew." You know, we never had minibrews. We went straight to micro. There was Anheuser Busch and then there was Sam Adams and then suddenly there were seventy different kinds of Red Hook. Never a minibrew. You know why? I just figured out why. "Mini" sounds feminine, while "micro" sounds all science-y and butch. Men. Fuck 'em.

HENRY - we're talking about Henry right now, keep up - HENRY had this whole little diatribe about how persecuted he was working in the Georgetown Hagen Dasz as a teenager because the manager - Gary or Larry or Kevin - insisted on keeping the radio tuned to the Lite Rock station. "So that the customers of Hagen Dasz could rock litely..." he said. That was probably WASH-FM now that I'm thinking about it. Ha. Actually I should probably back off on old Hank because I would have pitched a fit about that too. WASH-FM. UGH. Henry, you know, Henry is kind of full of shit in a lot of ways, but right here - he's got a point.

And so lite rock has not improved since those times - it's now 30 years, THIRTY YEARS - and it's still Hall & Oates, it's still Phil Collins, it's still Air Supply, and like they've added that A-O song, and uh, Words Cant Bring me down, which is kind of a pretty song... but in the context of Phil Collins (oh my cousin Stuart is going to kill me) and... and...


I'm not talking bout the live-in
and I don't wanna rape your sight
but there's a cold wind blowin the stars around
and I'd really like to fuck ya tonight*

Um. GOD. ANYTHING will sound terrible in that context. So, aw, jeez, I'm Just Fucking Trapped listening to this music, and the tik-y tik-y scrape sounds of the tiny chisel in my mouth... and you know, here's something that doesn't happen anymore - we're not trapped anymore. You know? You go and you have to wait for a prescription, and you have to do something, and you're not trapped. You have your phone. You're doodley doodling, and you're texting your girlfriend, and checking your email, and you're doing stuff. You're not trapped. You're not sitting there staring at the wall. Wishing - WISHING - for a six-month-old copy of People magazine.

That's what they should do, you know, you want a nostalgic drama sitcom, you don't make Mad Men, with all these people and all this plot, and all the getting off and the smoking, NO! You have half an hour of people sitting waiting for shit not doing anything else. Not able to call someone on the phone, not able to multitask, they're just like sitting there. That's what you're missing, boys and girls, that's nostalgia for you. Those are the good old days. Uh Huh.

So um, I said, I didn't eat before I went to the dentist, and now I'm driving home, and now my face is getting all coooold. Anaesthesia wearing off. And I'd really like to stop at Zeke's and get me a nice coffee with a bunch of sugar in it, but I cannot. Because if I try to drink coffee in this face, it will just spill right out of my mouth and down my front. Probably burn my tongue too. And people will laugh at me, because I know those boys at Zeke's, they are my friends, and your friends laugh at you when coffee pours out of your mouth like your mouth is the mouth of a dead person. Complain to the owner, you say? I could not. He would be the one pissing his pants laughing the hardest.

But. So I'm not going to do that. You know what else I am not going to do? This woman she was like "Ok, well," and she's rinsing me out, and squirting some stuff that is like Betadine but not poisonous on my gums, and she is saying "Ok, there's a lot of inflammation here... we were able to remove a lot of bacteria..." and  great, you know two things I like to hear about, inflammation AND bacteria, IN my mouth, "so tonight," she says, "tonight's definitely like an overcooked pasta night, or soup."

And I was like, what is overcooked pasta? Nobody overcooks pasta in my house, there is no such thing. And Also... I'm Starving. And Also... does this mean that before the anaesthesia wears off, I can drive through Taco Bell? And chew things? Running the risk of things falling out of my mouth and onto my shirt, but I am In My Car and I do not give a shit. Or is that actually going to make my mouth bleed?

Oh lovely. There's two guys getting arrested sitting on the curb. Just across the street from where they did a big gun bust.

So. This is your neighborhood librarian. I will not be enjoying any of the treats on offer at the LEGO Club bake sale today. I will not be stopping off at Zeke's to get myself a double Cubano, no milk. I will not be driving through Taco Hell. No. I will be starving to death. Which means I will work tonight and then I will go out with my girlfriends and I will still be starving to death, but that will not stop me from drinking two beers (which is what I do on Mondays, remember?), and getting really really messed up.

I need to sigh right now. Big sigh. God I'm hungry.

Your Neighborhood Librarian. At the Dentist. Signing off.

*all lyrics not guaranteed to be accurate.


GRILL