What would YOU do to avoid the dentist?
You know, there are few things in life that are guaranteed to cause my friends and family to collapse with what I like to call “laugh cramps” than when I injure myself. I don’t mean to suggest that they are not generally sympathetic and concerned, but ... well, yes, I guess I do; these people are cold, I’m telling you, stone cold, heartless human beings.
They claim it is the ways in which I can take a spill, hurt, mangle and wound myself -- being so stunningly uncommon -- that provoke their hilarity, but I simply cannot imagine guffawing at someone who has dropped a pot of boiling sweet potatoes on her feet, or roller-skated into a corner with an unfolded folding chair which folds up on her finger upon impact with the corner, or fallen down the dark deck steps wearing her little boy’s shoes and carrying two bags of trash, or even, say, thrown herself from a bucking horse, sacrificing a broken wrist, in an attempt to escape the more serious injury which would have undoubtedly followed ... um ... not that I’ve ever done any of that.
So, my sister and her daughter were visiting me yesterday, while I was deliberating on my column topic for this week, and my niece suddenly looked at me and burst out laughing, her eyes soon filling with those I’m-howling-so-hard-I’m-crying tears, unable to verbalize why for several minutes. Turns out, she was thinking of the story I’d told her recently about another event that has become surprisingly unsurprising in my life, which took place about a month ago.
I had showered and dressed that morning in somewhat nicer garb to see the dentist (which I hate, so I try to distract him from drilling by wearing something sort of intriguing). I had done my hair and put on big-girl shoes (since that fall down the steps -- which, of course, wasn’t me -- I’ve had to wear chunky, expensive running shoes almost 24/7, so big-girl shoes are a treat!) with my ridiculously expensive orthotics inside. I was looking good, people.
I had a little time to kill, so I took the dogs out to check the pool, which involves cleaning out the skimmers, often saving the lives of whole families of frogs, but hey, I do what I can. The dogs disdain this humanitarian work, so they just mosey around while I’m at it. With both skimmers clean and the surface debris scooped out, I was heading toward the gate when the toe of my shoe hit the corner of a stone embedded in the pool deck, and I went airborne.
Now, being possessed at all times with a keen and lightning mind, I immediately deduced that I was going down, no two ways about it, and I had a choice to make. I could try to save at least my top half, landing half-in and half-out of the water, by twisting in the air and letting my waist hit the rim of the pool. But, my keen mind replied, you will likely suffer a broken rib or two, not to mention the possible concussion resulting from a gigantic slam on the head, so you will lie here by the pool for hours before you are discovered, because the dogs are not trained to do anything but bark at you.
My second choice was to fling myself out into the water completely, culminating in thoroughly ruined hair, make-up and outfit, not to mention the possible ruination of a pair of $300 orthotics! In midair, I chose option number two.
Now, I haven’t mentioned the fact that we had not heated the pool, and were still waiting for hot-enough days to keep the water warm, but whatever. I hit that ice-water, bottom first, fully clothed, made-up and coiffed, with nary a whimper. Just grim resignation. As the water closed over my head, I thought, “Of course!”
It did occur to me as I swam up from the depths that the dentist would have to be rescheduled now, due to my being soaking wet and needing a whole new shower, hair re-do and makeup re-application, as well as having to choose a new outfit and new big-girl shoes. So, there’s a blessing in every affliction, my friend.
When I surfaced, the dogs were standing side-by-side at the edge of the pool staring at me, their heads cocked to the side. (It never ceases to amaze them the lengths to which I will go to avoid the dentist.) I swam to the steps, my long pants and silk blouse dragging along with me, and sat on the top step to take my shoes off and get those ^#$!&@* orthotics out. I looked at the girls. They looked back at me. It was obvious what they were thinking: “Of course!”
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting her website at www.vickiwentz.com.