Friday, March 4, 2011

I'll keep the dime

This week can go screw itself.

I broke my favorite sunglasses on my birthday. I stopped at a court to shoot hoops randomly and forgot I had my sunglasses. So I placed them behind the basket. Twenty minutes later, a shot of mine bounces over the backboard, against an adjacent fence -- as I watch it unfold in slow-motion -- and directly hits my shades.

The Horatio Cane eyewear isn't the only thing in disrepair. My body is breaking down. I have to stretch for 15 minutes before I plan on breaking a sweat or I will pay the price dearly. My legs have been bothering me and the doctor tells me its because I sit down too much at work. It feels like restless leg syndrome, though I have no idea what that is. It feels better to give this malady a name.

The doctor told me I should exercise more. (I haven't really stopped, actually. A $25 co-pay for that advice.)

I can't edit any NFL lockout stories or conjure brilliant puns from the treadmill.

Ahh, work. I can't get into it too much in this space, but this is "Filene's Basement during the Running of the Brides" time for all sports media entities. If that's not enough, I had problems keeping a vacation that I had planned for months in advance.

Hell, it's not a vacation. Just a weekend. Even that resulted in a mini-crisis this week.

Also, I have tickets to see the Capitals play the Panthers, yet no one to take as of yet. Great seats, too. This is Panthers hockey! C'mon, who wants to go?
Think we've hit the bottom here? Like Charlie Sheen (I had to mention him), there's no such thing as a bottom. Or a denied interview request.

Way back during the first dentist visit I can remember, the word "orthodontist" come up. I never went to the dentist after that during my Rhode Island years, but I started under my nice insurance plan I have at work here in Florida.

First dentist said the dreaded "o" word. Warned of dentures at 40. (Not really, but he was an alarmist.) This dentite sent me to another, who passed on the same warning.

"You will lose your teeth if you don't get this checked out."

I finally broke down and went this week. Maybe the news wouldn't be that bad. I keep decent care of my chompers.

But by The Law of Sears, such cautious optimism suffered a violent death.

The orthodontist laid out the evidence better than anyone I have seen, complete with x-rays and computer imaging. Some people have worse teeth than I, which makes me feel a tad better. Just a smidgen.

But I have an "open" bite where my top front teeth don't correlate with the bottom. They flare out. And there's my bottom two front teeth, which nearly face each other.

The prognosis begins: tooth extraction. Four. I asked her in disbelief, "You mean you're going to pull four teeth??"

Yes, she answered matter-of-factly.

Then the hammer. "What you'll need are full metal braces along the bottom and front teeth."

"How long?" I ask, about to cry.

"A year and a half." I literally winced and muttered, "Jesus Christ." She sympathized.

Following braces would be months with a retainer, 24/7, and when that ends, only at night. For pretty much the rest of my life.

In summation, a giant hassle that will cost me thousands. There are social considerations of course, being an "adult" with so-called "metal mouth." For someone as self-conscious as I, this might be the biggest hurdle.

"Hi, I'm Steve. I'm a lanky, socially awkward copy editor who enjoys the comedy of Carrot Top, despises dancing, drink like Miley Cyrus and frankly doesn't do well with people. And I have braces. Wanna grab some coffee? I hope you don't mind me bringing my dental fanny pack with 14 kinds of floss, specialty brushes and a cup for my excess saliva."

On the other hand, what would braces really mean to my social existence? Not much. I can still stream Larry Sanders episodes on Netflix or regurgitate haphazard blogs on an irregular basis. It's like tossing a twinkie wrapper in a landfill. You're not ruining the Mona Lisa. It's already a dump.

With all the crap that's been dumped on my plate this week, you'll never guess what almost sent me over the edge. Remember that Family Guy episode where Lois goes nuts trying to plan the perfect Christmas for the Griffins? Peter accidentally gives away all their gifts. Brian sets the house on fire. The kids are ungrateful. None of this sets her off; it's when she asks for more paper towels and find there's none left.

It's the straw that breaks the camel's back, as the cliche goes. The "that's it" moment.
Mine came at Dunkin' Donuts. I had a gift card and I wanted a small iced coffee. Came to $1.90. I gave the cashier the card. He swiped it only to elicit a loud beep. Second try, no luck. Third, nothing.

I had just used it on Monday. It was Thursday. There was still 20 bucks on it. I informed the man the card definitely possessed sufficient funds. He didn't care. So I swiped the card from his hands and gave him two dollars, visibly upset. Seething, really.

Normally, I will throw the spare change in the tip mug. Not this time, sir. I took the dime and stormed out of the store.

A man can only take so much.

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