“I Think I Made a Mistake”

“I think I made a mistake.”

Those, I’m told, were the words on a note a dying 20-something-year-old wrote to his nurse before he expired. He was referring to his, as it turns out, suicidal decision to attend a “COVID party.”

I’m tempted to write, “Duh.” But it’s bad form to “duh” a guy who admits his own unforced error and pays such a high price for his own idiocy. And it’s not like the rest of us are immune to occasional stupidity and subsequent pain.

I write those words with a grimace. Well, with a computer, grimacing. Not a grimacing computer. A grimace on my face facing the computer. I am, at present, not writing or thinking very well.

I’m about an hour and a half away from a root canal, my first brush with that particular sort of dental calamity. At this point, I am ready to embrace the experience with the excitement of male and female lead lovers in a movie rushing toward each other on a “meadow run.”

Yes, right now, I am more than prepared to endure that worse than fingernails down the chalkboard, worse than boot on a cat’s tail caterwauling, worse than the latest poor-pitiful-me screams of society’s professional victims, worse than the hole-in-the-radiator hose agonizing whistle, worse than the bullet in the helicopter gear-box wailing high-pitched death-grind . . . I’m more than ready to endure all of that—and add in some delightful burning smells, some tasty chemical flavors, some tuchus pucker dental chair dancing, and more delights . . .

I’m ready for all of it, and will, yea, verily, write a check for the fun of enduring such multifaceted pleasure, if I can just get my dentist, my friend, to stab needles into my gums and inject a gallon or so of deadening juice, embalming fluid, or whatever the crud it is that they use to render one’s gums, teeth, jaw, and mouth numb and insensate. I’d prefer to be totally knocked out and sleep for a week, but it’s not an option.

I went in for a simple tooth-cleaning a couple of weeks ago but mentioned a tooth that was becoming a tad hot/cold testy. My friend and dental professional gave me the good news. Probably a root canal. But give it a few days. See how it feels.

A few days was all it took. So I called and scheduled an appointment. Next Monday, 10:20 a.m. Not an emergency, right? You’re not hurting badly, right? Right. We’ll call if we get an earlier opening. Okay.

So, last week, I officiated at a big funeral on Tuesday. Big funeral on Wednesday. (Two really good guys.) Wednesday, the tooth folks call. They could make a slot for me and my rebellious tooth on Thursday. When? 8:00 a.m.

Not much of a morning person ever, I know that I will be toast on that particular Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Funeral. Funeral. Root canal. Bam. Bam. Bam. No. No. No.

It’s not hurting that bad. Thanks, but I’ll wait until Monday.

Mistake. Mistake. Mistake.

I’m now an hour away from the anaesthetizing goop. Bring it on!

And I’m wiser.

“The right time is now; today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). On most days, I’d tell you that the Apostle Paul is most certainly saying nothing at all about dental work. Today? I’m quite sure that he is.

To the palace of dental delights, I am ready to go. And I resolve never to put the trip off again. Bring on the joyful sounds. The merciful needles.

Now, please.

With apologies to the Apostle Paul, “Behold, now is the day of dental salvation.”


You’re invited to visit my website–and especially to check out my new podcast, http://www.CurtisShelburne.com/podcast!

Copyright 2020 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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