I Went to a Hipster Dentist

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And I’ve never felt more like George Washington



This little bit of goofiness was written in response to a satire writing contest and I must have been in some sort of weird state of mind. I had a lot of fun writing it. My story didn’t go anywhere in the contest, but it found a home on Medium and I wanted to share it here.


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Photo by Nathalia Belfort on Unsplash

After working four years and six months at my Angel Investor-backed, cash-infused, market-disrupting employer, I finally qualified for benefits. Whew! I know, I know. As far as unpaid internships go, that was on the short side.

After unironically eating too many Flintstone gummy vitamins from the company breakroom, my back tooth started to ache, so I found a company plan-approved dentist in the rapidly gentrifying part of town.

Okay, it was the only approved dentist, but no matter. I have insurance!

Well, color me delighted when I arrived at Dr. Ethan’s one-room office in the backroom of a nail salon and was greeted by the sight of so many archaic dental implements scattered about. What a collection!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think he’d actually use the hand drill on me. But he did. Without novocaine.

 

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An illustration of dental keys for tooth extraction from Savigny’s catalog of surgery implements, circa 1798, and found here

I guess the screaming upset the mani-pedi customers, so Dr Ethan handed me a half-empty fifth of gin and an old Iomega at Comdex giveaway stress ball to squeeze. It was all very Old West and I feel honored to be a part of the vintage dental ways.

I can’t believe people actually lived through this! I bet my brother — the one with good job — has never experienced anything so cool.

After the rotten roots were properly canal’ed, Dr Ethan offered me a wide range of replacement teeth in many colors, none of them white and porcelain.

Oh, I could have chosen a gold tooth (not covered by insurance), an amalgam of something toxic and something radioactive (also not covered by insurance), or a nice assortment of wooden teeth.

I don’t know if it was the gin or the blood loss, but I was pleased to have the chance to choose between a knotty pine, a beautiful mahogany, or a nice hard teak.

Well, I chose mahogany that day and haven’t looked back. Sure, the varnish is seeping into my salivary glands and small splinters of tooth fly off when I eat oatmeal, but I am now the coolest, most throwback guy in the office. I can hardly wait for the next tooth to rot out of my head! And for this infection to go away.

The only downside: My urge to chop down cherry trees has never been stronger.

This item first appeared on Medium, find more of my work @karenfayeth over there

So, So Absorbent

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Today I learned something. It may not be a groundbreaking discovery, but it’s an important handy tip to know.

Let me start with the backstory.

This morning I noticed I had a meeting on my calendar that started early and would last all day long, so I decided to hustle up and get it together so I could leave the house plenty early. I wanted to be able to stop for coffee and still get into the office a bit early so I could sit a minute at my desk, gather my thoughts, and prioritize any urgent emails before disappearing into a conference room for the remainder of the day.

What a good strategy! This is part of my new approach for taking better care of myself. Generally I show up to the early meetings five to ten minutes late, anxious and sweaty from running to the meeting. Oh, and lacking coffee.

With determination, I took care of my at-home stuff and hit the mark. I left the house on time and was happy. I had a casual and not harried drive to work and I even lucked out and found a parking spot right in front of my local Starbucks.

I mean, the day was ticking right along on schedule. I was feeling so proud of myself.

With Jeep parked, I walked inside hoping for a short line then opened the door to that very image. Only three people in line. Yesss!

I stepped up to the register, ordered my drink, chatted with the person behind me in line, giggled with their child and was feeling pretty great.

My latte came up quick and I grabbed it and was feeling pleased with the smooth pace of my day.

I carried my drink over to the little station where you can find sweetener and milk to add in. I politely said excuse me as I accidentally walked in front of another customer. I thought about an article I had read recently about the value of being nice, and thought how I need to continue to be a nice person even when the world sometimes makes me want to be mean.

Landing at the sweetener station, I popped the lid off my drink, reached to grab a couple packets of sweetener, shook, tore and when I went to put this into my drink, I knocked over my lidless cup, sending a coffee tsunami into the air.

Seriously. How did my latte catch air? I have no idea. Sixteen ounces of beverage became gallons as it poured all over the counter and onto the floor. The force of the wave shoved my sunglasses off the counter and onto the floor.

The velocity was overwhelming as waves of coffee and soy milk engulfed the entire store and its patrons.

And that’s how I learned that Starbucks napkins are super, duper absorbent.

Keep that handy tip in mind.





A dramatic, yet dry, recreation of events





Image Copyright © 2014, Karen Fayeth. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app. Also taken surreptitiously in an empty conference room while the big meeting was on break.




Trying Not To Be “That Guy”

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The rest of this week is going to be a drag. Any joy I feel at having a short week after a long weekend is dried up by the fact that I am required (not suggested, not a choice, required) to attend three full days of training here at the ol’ place of work.

Three. Full. Days.

Somewhere around that time in history when the first smartphone came out, I developed a pretty severe case of adult ADD. I cannot sit still like a good kid for more than an hour at a time. In order to get me to do that, the topic better be damn interesting.

Sneak preview: The topic of this training is not. At all.

The guy giving the training is doing a good job. He is trying his hardest to make this interesting. Cracking a joke here and there. But even he knows this is a drudge and we all just gotta get through it.

And so the first couple hours were fine. It was all new and somewhat interesting. The next couple hours were hell. Part of the “rules of the road” for the class are no open laptops and no looking at phones.

Argh!

So I’m bored. I doodle in the margins of my notepad. I let my mind wander to far off topics (at one point I was wondering if I should cut my nails or keep them a bit longer since they are so strong right now).

And then I run out of things to wander off about and supposedly I’m supposed to be paying attention and learning something and getting something out of this class that my department paid big money to force me to attend.

So then boredom gives way to something else. Something sinister. I become “that guy” in the training class. You know that guy. Or girl. Whatever. You know, the person who participates. Who answers questions. Who offers suggestions. Who always has something to say. That person who everyone is sick and tired of by the end of day one with two more days of class ahead.

I hate that guy! Except when I’m being that guy and then it’s a crap load of fun!





It’s a…you know…big mouth bass. *snork*




Image found here.




Ow

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The funny thing is, when your tooth hurts, nothing else really matters.

The sun could be shining, birds chirping and a thousand dollars in cash just lying there on the sidewalk begging you to take it, but none of that matters.

When your tooth hurts, there is just bleak darkness and anger and frowns. Lots and lots of frowns.

A little over a week ago I was having The Worst Friday Ever and during that day I managed to break a tooth. It didn’t hurt but it needed to be fixed.

Monday was fixin’ day. I spent two and a half hours in a dentist’s chair with two people in my mouth doing barbaric and vile things to the tooth way at the very back of my jaw.

You know that moment when the dentist is drilling your tooth and you smell smoke? Tooth smoke? Yeah. There was an awful lot of tooth smoke in that room on Monday.

Also, you see, here’s something you should know about me. I’m a sensitive little flower. I can’t take a full dose of over the counter cold medicine because it will knock me out. I take one quarter of a 25mg blood pressure pill. 25mg is the smallest size they make and I have to half it and then half it again. I can’t drink a cup of regular coffee or it will give me a migraine. The small amount of caffeine in a cup of decaf will actually wind me up.

When the dentist gives a normal person Novocain, they add a drop of epinephrine, a hard core stimulant. The epi helps the medicine act fast, be more effective and last longer. I cannot tolerate the epinephrine. At all. So I have to have more shots that don’t work that effectively. Then halfway through the procedure, I have to have more shots. And then there is a point where I am asked to simply gut it out.

I don’t gut things out all that well, especially pain. See delicate little flower syndrome.

But I have been seeing this same dentist for nigh on sixteen years and he knows I’m a fruit cake and I know he’s a good doctor and he’s about the only person I would allow to do such mean things to my nice little teeth.

So I survived the two and a half hour ordeal and was near catatonic for the rest of the day. Yesterday I went to the office and worked a thirteen hour day while blood oozed from the wound and made me nauseous.

And it hurt. When your tooth hurts, nothing else really matters.

Today I’m improving but it’s not great.

I haz a cranky.






Image from Oral Pathology.




Things I Do Not Understand

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I’ve been on this big blue marble for a good number of years, and as I get older, some things make more sense, some make less sense, and then there are a few things I think I’ll never quite understand.

Last week was what I would call brutal. Ok, maybe brutal is too strong a word. My basic needs were met. My loved ones remained safe and sound, and also had their basic needs met. I got to and from work safely and even got paid.

But something really weird was happening last week. It all seemed to come to a head on Friday which is normally the greatest day of the week. A normal Friday flies by with ease from my late arrival to my early departures at work. If they call it stormy Monday, then the eagle flies on Friday.

Not this Friday. It didn’t soar like an eagle, it plopped like a cow patty.

Arriving at work in the morning I was bone tired. Sleep had not come easy over the previous four days. As I trudged to my desk I could only look forward to a happy hour birthday celebration that evening, then early to bed, and hopefully sleeping late on Saturday.

I had only one meeting on the calendar so I’d hoped to use the day to catch up, get on top of my to do list, and prepare for the week ahead.

Friday had other plans. Early in the day I was summoned to the manager’s office and informed that a particular project we’ve been working on has completely unraveled. Like…the thread on the sweater was inadvertently glued to the tail of a frightened rabbit thus unraveling not slowly but quickly and in herky-jerky motions.

As we were suddenly pulled into crisis mode, I was running around the office looking for certain people, finding certain documents, etc. As I sat in the manager’s office on yet another conference call, I noticed a small sparkling at the periphery of my eyes. Oh yay, an aura, the beginnings of one whopper of a migraine. Awesome.

Crisis mode + migraine + exhausted body + I’m still new here! = what a crummy day!

But wait! The day wasn’t done with me yet. Like a pitbull it clamped down with powerful jaws and refused to release.

I shot gunned some lunch as I ran to another meeting and another conference call and when that exhausting bit of work was through, I noticed something odd about my mouth. I had grit on my tongue. Oh awesome, I broke a tooth and still don’t even know how that happened. There is a huge chunk out of a back molar. Like a good little grownup I immediately called my dentist’s office and heard their message telling me that my favorite dental professional is out of the office until March 8th. Hooray!

Thankfully the tooth doesn’t hurt (so far) but it’s kind of sharp and annoying.

Finally, Friday saw fit to come to the end of daytime hours and around 5:00pm I got into my car feeling beaten, broken and sad. My office building is very near a crossroads of three separate highways, so getting onto the highway is always a little rough, and I have to endure about half a mile of cruddy traffic before I pick the highway I need and it opens up. Friday was particularly backed up and I’d not really ever seen it so bad.

Until I realized that a car had stalled right in the heart of the big interchange. In a location that impacted EVERYONE regardless of which highway they need to take. Double yay!

Let me remind, here, that this was just the details of Friday. The first four days of the week had been similar, so in the commute home on the last day of this hellish week, I found myself stuck behind a tow truck and of course no one would let me over. Honestly, I just about slipped off my nut. I came real close to just finally losing my tenuous grasp on reality.

I kept telling myself to breathe, to endure, to be resilient even as my resolve was being worn down by the big belt sander of life (which happened to be using the heaviest grit sandpaper available).

Quadruple Yay.

When I posted something on Facebook about Friday being a crummy day, I got responses from a few folks saying they had a bad day too. When I talked to friends at happy hour, they too said that Friday was especially bad.

What I’ll never understand is how this happens. How we all can be going along just fine then suddenly we all, every one of us, gets thrown a curveball low and inside.

I’m not much for big woo-woo type things, but is it something cosmic? The full moon and Mercury Retrograde and changing seasons all at once? Is the jet stream a little off kilter? Is it the long road until the next holiday day at work that has us all a little bent out of shape?

Hard to know, but I sure as heck don’t understand. A few people having a bad day seems pretty fat part of the bell curve kind of stuff. Everyone you talk to having a crumb-bum day seems like that cosmic belt sander is really working overtime.







Image by Wikimedia user Luigizanasi and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Canada license.