Friday, November 16, 2007

“Love is blind and cannot find me.”

Dear Mouth Breathers,

I've nothing to say so read no further. Well you persistent little gerbils... If you insist then I guess I'll oblige.

Actually I've had nothing to say for about a month. I just sit, slack-jawed, over my laptop timing my blinking with that of the cursor so as to alternately make it vanish or appear constant until spittle strands onto the space bar, at which point I take a nap on the couch or read Hemingway, usually both, in the reverse order of course. Maybe I need to start attending more bull fights. It worked for him. Of course he did off himself. But then again I'd have another three decades or so. Perhaps a bit more if I avoid Idaho altogether. It's a tough call. I think I'll nap on it later.

In other news I've got a brand new cell phone. Okay, calm down, not really. I've just changed the background on my old phone to “Comet Blue” and the contrast to “Highest” so now it feels new to me. I wonder if this is a subconscious sign that the two-year affair with my current phone is waning? Like when a woman changes her hair style - say, cuts it really short - because she isn't happy with her relationship. Let's explore it, shall we?

I think I'm still in love with my phone. Well, I mean I still love it but maybe I'm not in love with it any more. Our communication really hasn't been as clear as it used to be. Not for a long time, actually. We don't really even talk anymore. I mean, we've got more than 200 peak minutes leftover each month. I thought I'd learned how to push your buttons but my fingers just don't seem to affect you the way they used to. And... to be honest... your pocket vibrate hasn't worked on me in a long time. I know. I should have said something sooner. I'm sorry. But I'm telling you now. Maybe we've grown apart and should just go our separate ways. After all, it's not like our Sprint contract was “until death do us part.” It just feels that way.

The iPhone sure is sexy. All curvy and smooth. And that touch-sensitive screen. I hear you can use it in several positions, too. Ooo baby... Pricey though. One thing is for sure, it's gonna be expensive to be “out there” again isn't it? I don't know. Maybe I should stick. I'll nap on it. (Increased bull fight attendance, iPhone)

The Silver Screen
Item: I just saw the actor Stella Adler for the first time (completely by accident in one of the “Thin Man” movies). Since she was famous for all the method actors she trained I've always been curious about what kind of actor she was herself. She gave a cliche murder mystery character (the gold-digging, alias-sporting ex-con who was, surprise! surprise!, not the killer) depth you don't usually see in those movies. Some of her line deliveries were rewindingly intriguing. Though I wonder if I would have noticed anything special had I not caught her name in the opening credits and been on the lookout. Probably not.

In other Golden Era Hollywood Hottie news, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Myrna Loy and Donna Reed were all smokin'. Curse you Hays Code! (I know. I need a girlfriend. Okay, a date.)

New idol: Steve McQueen in “Bullitt.” I'm gonna do all my own stunt horn playing from now on starting with Strauss' D&T this weekend. I know. It could get dangerous. But I'll sacrifice my safety for the sake of musical realism.

Time for a couple paragraphs from "For Whom the Bell Tolls" on the couch (best sleep aid since Kafka's “The Trial”). If I'm not at rehearsal tonight assume either that I've been torn limbless on the way to my car by a pack of wild dogs and am lying in several pints of my own cool, semi-coagulated blood... or that I've overslept. Either way, a courtesy call would be appreciated. If I don't pick up, again it's either because I lack contiguous arms, and hence hands, or the ringer is set too soft, depending on the respective scenario detailed previously. Though sometimes you can sleep on your arm wrong and it'll be non-functional for several moments. Usually not both arms, though. But I suppose it could happen. Especially if you have a hefty mate. And if that were the reason I didn't answer I wouldn't want you to needlessly worry. So on second thought, maybe you'd better not bother calling at all. I'll sleep on it.


Note to Self: Now that Mailer's matter has once again become an inanimate, unconscious constituent of the universe check out his literary soporiferousness. I have a feeling it'll be a zinc mine of Zzzzzz...

Note to Reader: Linda Thompson could sing the Newark, NJ white pages and make my eyes wistfully dewy. But that voice combined with the poignancy of her lyrics... well all I've got to say is give her a sad song and she's in a class of her own.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is that a hypodermic needle sticking out of my gums or are you just glad to see me?

Dear Dew-doers,

So I was lying there while these two masked women wearing latex put their fingers in my mouth. No, it wasn't a hedonistic Halloween party. I was at the dentist you gutter brain. I was at the dentist for the first time in nearly fifteen years and it's my new favorite thing to do. Luckily I have good, strong teeth and passed with flying colors much to the bewilderment of the hygienist who had a hard time finding any tenacious calculus to chip away.

Okay, okay. So the actual dentist, in her two minute pick-and-poke tour of my heretofore delinquent dentine, did manage to “find” the tiniest of “cavities” that somehow the hygienist had “missed” in her own half hour scrape-polish-and-floss-fest but I chalk that up to an impending Lexus payment. Besides, I was willing to humor everyone with a “cavity” filling just to have the full dental experience after such a long hiatus.

To be honest, I was mostly curious about what might have changed since my last visit. What technological advances had taken place in the interim? Would lasers be involved at any time during the cleaning process? 3-D holographic X-ray images? A GPS guided enamel drill? A virtual reality uplink to an out-sourced oral surgeon in Mumbai?!

Much to my disappointment, very few tools and gadgets seemed different. In fact the only one of which I was aware was the digital X-ray camera that now allowed nearly instantaneous viewing of images of my teeth's innards and nether regions. Instead of biting down on some X-ray sensitive film, a CCD chip was placed in my mouth with a small cable leading back to a computer. The hygienist can then turn away to make notes right on the image about her dental discoveries concerning gumline recession rates or enamel wear patterns or popcorn husk counts or whatever while your tongue gets a spittle suction pump hickey.

Speaking of the drool, while I waited for half my face to go numb I overheard an enlightening if mildly gruesome conversation between a patient and another dentist in the adjacent examination cubicle. This guy's tooth pain had become so severe and wide spread that even his eye brow had started to throb. Well, we all have our thresholds. That, apparently, was when he decided it was time to visit the dentist, who promptly found the culprit molar massively decayed and darn near busted in half. She also found a substantial list of other potential periodontal pain perpetrators just for good measure.

Apparently this fellow had already been chastised on previous visits for his unquenchable soda thirst. In fact, much to the patient's surprise, the doctor was able to determine specifically his beverage of choice (he does the Dew) either by the his piss-colored canines or that sweet stench of limon on his breadth. She advised him pointedly that bottomless refills of sugar sodas all day long would thwart even the most rigorous dental hygiene routine. Sweet toothed readers beware: Pop, like cigarettes, television and ornithology, is a superficially pleasurable delivery mechanism for an insidiously evil and covertly destructive force. You've been warned. But I digress...

So where was I? Ah yes. Tooth-related technology doesn't seem to have changed much in the last decade and a half since my previous examination. Oh I suppose maybe the drills are quieter and they have raspberry flavored polish now in addition to the traditional mint, cinnamon and bubblegum offerings (I'm lobbying for cumin to be the next addition) and everyone wears gloves and masks and protective eyewear like they're working in a government bioweapons lab. But no lasers. No holographs. No VR goggles. Just plain old metal picks, drill bits and alloy filling #15. Same as when I was a kid.

I must say, though, that it was a remarkably pleasant experience. I had my teeth poked, prodded, drilled and filled yet felt very little if any discomfort physically or psychologically. Even the Novocaine shot was delivered with the tenderness and sensitivity of a caring spouse, from the moment the hygienist first applied a generous topical anesthetic to my gums to the way the dentist brought her needle in just below my field of vision. I mean, I've had haircuts that were more traumatic.

You know what? As stupid as it sounds I think the reason I'd rather go see the dentist than go get a haircut might have something to do with making small talk. At the barber or salon you're almost expected to talk to the person cutting your hair. There's this pressure to have an extended conversation with a perfect stranger who likely has little in common with you (“Cosmetology, you say? Hmm, that's interesting. I took a course in cosmology once.”) and who never looks you in the eye but is constantly evaluating your physical appearance. It's almost like a blind date only she's wielding a scissors near your face and you have to tip her when it's over. Oh who am I kidding? It's exactly like a blind date.

But at the dentist your mouth is chock full 90% of the time so you aren't even expected to make conversation much beyond your name, profession and brushing habits. Okay so you are likely to be stabbed in the gums and drugged but it's done with love. And besides, you should expect that sort of behavior on a blind date any way.

That settles it. From now on my remarkable new blind date strategy is to keep shoveling food in so the conversation is necessarily stunted. And a shot of Novocaine at the very beginning might not be a bad idea either.

Marathon Man