Frank told me that he loved poetry. Always wanted to be a poet.
Instead, he became a dentist. His parents made him go to college and then medical school for dentistry, but he absolutely hated it now.
He sneaks out at night to go to poetry readings in coffeehouses and he reads his poetry.
Wakes up tired, exhausted. So tired, he makes mistakes.
As if he cares at his work anymore.
“I just blow through checkups now,” he says. “I get paid either way, right?”
I just stare back.
“Oh. Right. You’re fine. I think. Whatever. Go ahead and spit.”
Ernest has had heart trouble for years.
The doctor says it’s something congenital, but eating pork and bacon as often as Ernest does doesn’t help matters much.
So, he’s getting a heart valve replacement.
“One of them mechanicals?” asks Ernest.
“Actually, you’re a good candidate for a transplant from a pig’s heart,” said the doctor.
Ernest thinks for a bit. “Good, but one thing, doc?”
“What’s that?” asks the doctor.
“For as much as I’m paying, I should get the rest of the pig,” he says.
Three weeks later, he roasted it on a spit to celebrate leaving the hospital.
I’m having trouble writing.
I try to think of things to write, but I just can’t find inspiration.
So, I went out for coffee.
There was a girl there with bandaged hands, and she was barely able to hold her coffee.
“Carpal tunnel,” she says. “Surgery messed up. Six months.”
I got her a frozen coffee with a straw, and we talked.
She’s also a writer. Has lot of ideas, just can’t write them all down.
I offered to transcribe them for her.
“Oh, I’ve got a voice to text program,” she said, getting up. “Thanks for the coffee, though.”
Casey slurred his words like a drunk, but the man didn’t drink. He’d suffered a stroke a few years ago and never quite got his speech all the way back.
He wanted to hang out with us at the bar, though, and we figured he’d make a good designated driver, being sober and all.
We drank ourselves blind stinking drunk, and handed Casey the keys.
Fifteen mailboxes and trash cans later, my truck got wrapped around a lightpost.
“I thought you didn’t drink,” I growled at Casey.
“I don’t drink,” he slurred. “Or drive. I don’t have a drivers license.”
Every six months, I go to the dentist.
Well, not the dentist. A dentist.
My mouth is such a horror, they either commit suicide to avoid seeing me again or refer me to one of their colleagues.
Still, every now and then, one tries to prove themselves, and only when I’m in the chair do they realize their mistake.
“Oh my God,” says the latest brave soul. “That’s… awful!”
He then commanded me to take down my pants and bend over.
Instead of doing a routine cleaning, I got a colonoscopy.
(Don’t ask me where the lollipop went.)
I remember when the Walkman first came out.
They came with cheap foam pads on a flimsy plastic frame to wear.
These broke easily, and, over the years, just got flimsier and cheaper.
I don’t think I ever had a pair that lasted over a week.
Now, they’ve got these fancy silicone earbuds you stick in your ear.
They don’t fall out as easily as the headphones fell off.
I’m told the sound is great with them, but I can’t use them.
I’ve already got hearing aids stuck in there.
From listening to those old cheap flimsy headphones too loud.
I asked my wife what she wanted for her birthday.
She said “Oh, just get me something crazy and expensive that I don’t need.”
Emo Philips once said the perfect gift for such an occasion is radiation treatment.
But that’s dangerous. Makes people sick.
So, instead of radiation treatment, I got her an exorcism.
Tying her to the bed was easy, but she started screaming and swearing the moment the priest came into the room.
“Happy Birthday,” I whispered into her ear.
She screamed and swore louder, so I told the priest “That’s the Devil talking.” before leaving the room.
When I brush my teeth, they sing.
At first, I thought it was some kind of microchip in the toothbrush, like those expensive greeting cards.
But when I used another toothbrush, they sang just the same.
I asked my dentist about this, and he made sure that the valve on his laughing gas was sealed tightly.
Nobody believes me when I say that my teeth sing. They think I’m crazy.
But I’m not.
What’s worse is that when I forget to brush my teeth, they cry with blood.
“Now do you believe me?” I scream.
They think I’m crazier now.
The room had been so noisy and busy before.
Now it was empty.
The nurses offered to pack Ellie’s things, but my hands needed to do something besides paperwork.
Photos. Trinkets. Music box. Bear.
She’d want Bear with her when…
I looked around for her teddy bear, but it was gone.
Not under the bed.
Not behind the machines.
None of the other children in the ward had it.
Where was Bear?
And where were her balloons, too. Ellie always liked those. She said they rose because they held souls, yearning for Heaven.
I’ll let one go for her later.