February 25, 2013


I'm not going to link anything mentioned here. If you have any intellectual curiosity on your own, you'll look it up. I'm not going to do your fucking work for you... This is going to be a hard, but I'm sure a therapeutic, post to write.

For everything I've done - and believe me when I tell you I have had some shit happen to me that has made my life worth living (coming face to face with Bill Veeck, Abbie Hoffman; being the guy Lorri Jackson sent her death story to the night she died of an overdose; getting a tattoo in Corpus Christi Texas the day after I was in the same room with a guy and the guy who killed him; and that tattoo = which after 40 years looks like a KKK symbol, now getting me strange looks, all that and so on)... Despite publishing people in an old magazine I used to run who have gone on to be icons (including the guy who helped start the Pushcart Prize) in the small press world, and even if you - some of my loyalest readers - for all your connection to me - have never looked in on my story magazine for whatever your stupid ass reason may be... & for the biggest things that ever happened to me - my wife, my daughters, my granddaughters...

Nothing, and I mean nothing, has been as constant a story as something so banal to most of you that you wouldn't believe it. No matter what else has happened to me, as weird or strange or cool as it might be, the fact of the matter is that I enjoyed it half as much as I should have because of something so silly you may even recoil and think the worse of me.

So be it.

 For most of my life my teeth have been so bad that even when something was so funny my sides would hurt, you would never - in a million years - see me grin right out. For the sake of being self-conscious about it, for the sake of my own embarrassment, whatever you want to say. I'm sure there are at least a thousand things I didn't enjoy as much as I could have... if only I'd let myself smile. It seems so silly, I know.

The big gormand, the fancy chef, the big talker, the political gadfly... is actually a miserable wretch with a dim, crooked smile that would turn you off your dinner if ever I let it go full bore.

 People have said, and could make a case= I suppose, that my parents were neglectful people and that my sister and I are lucky to have survived our childhoods with some semblance of decent humanity. But my response to these folks is - if you want this to be your last day on Earth, criticize my Mom and dad one more time. Go ahead. It's true that neither of them graduated high school, but that was because they grew up in the Depression and had to help their families. My dad played in the same infield as Hall-Of-Famer Phil Cavaretta in High School (Lane Tech) and  was scouted by the Browns and Indians just as hard as cavaretta was scouted by the Cubs. But he dropped out to help his mother.

So don't anybody ever say my parents were neglectful. I don't care. They did the best they could. And I'm not one of those guys who you will EVER see using them for an excuse for my own dumb shit.

The fact is that I've been alive and independent longer now than I was when they were alive and taking care of me. The problems I have, dentally, are of my own making.

Plain and simple. I may have not have been given the basic fundamentals of personal care given to me when I was a kid. But I've been on my own for forty years. So I have no one to blame but myself. There's a point at which you have to take responsibility for your own self and stop blaming everybody but #1.

So last month I began the process of turning this around. I got a dentist who tells me "I'm gonna put a Ferrari in there" and - mostly thanks to my wife's insurance - I have the wherewithal to finally do it.

 Last visit I had three extractions and bled like a stuck pig for two days. Today I had another procedure that is the basis of a sound cleaning and diagnosis process.

Sorry - but this is what happens when you don't take care of shit. It hurts. It's expensive.

And - if you are a man - you need to tell yourself "I did this to myself" and just go with it.

So that's where I've been the last three or four weeks, and more to come. I have no idea why I'm writing this down. But there it is. He said Fararri, baby. You know how hot I'll be then? Well, maybe not hot, but happier. That's for sure. happier like when something is funny I can actually laugh...


B.E. Earl said...

I could have written this. Except, ya know, not as well. Good for you.

Dave2 said...

"...my wife, my daughters, my granddaughters..."

Your being editor in chief of Thrice Fiction Magazine...


Gino said...

abso..., Bob... do it.
i was there once, for the same reasons, ok?
i did it.

just dont tell anybody.

dentistery is the last frontier of 'those who should be better' for our generation.

for our kid's generation, it would be the equivilant genital grooming/shaving.

times are changing...

Kyra said...

I'm glad you're doing something you want (but I'm going to have nightmares about the extractions and stuff! Eeek!)

SK Waller said...

From 1975 to 1997, due to being an ill-paid single mom of an autistic child, I had a tooth missing. Not in front. It didn't show until I smiled, but I have a big smile. I know exactly what you mean about how not being able to smile affects our self esteem. Finally, when I moved up the ladder and got a good job with health and dental insurance, I had it fixed. I'll never forget the rapture--yes, rapture--of that drive home. I couldn't quit smiling into the rear view mirror and even pulled over into a parking lot just to look at it for awhile. I have other work to do now, but have no insurance, so...

Good for you, Bob! Worth the pain and expense!

(Sorry about the deleted post. One should never try to comment before making a trip to the coffeemaker.)

Anonymous said...

To see your new smile on my wedding day will be super cool.

Brian said...

Thank you for this. Seriously.

I drag my feet to every dental appointment. As in, on the order of years. And I have got to cut that shit out.