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Numbing the Pain
with anesthetic or high-proof alcohol
I had to get a crown this morning. I have not had any dental work since I was a teenager, so I was a bit anxious going in. I remembered from my cavity days that numbing happened with a large needle that hurt more than the rest of the process. But I thought, heck, it’s been 20 years. I’m sure they have better technology for numbing the gums.
No, they did not.
What they DID have is some kind of gel that did the initial numbing so I did not feel the big needle, which was a relief. And my dentist was kind enough to keep the big needle out of sight and then tell me to close my eyes before he brought it out. An hour later after a lot of grinding and suction and smelling some sort of burning, the process is over, but the numbing remains.
As I type this, the right sides of my tongue and lips feel like they’re blown up like balloons, waiting for a little kid to let go of their strings so they can blast off toward the sky never to be retrieved.
It reminded me of a scene in Ticket to Paradise, the George Clooney and Julia Roberts rom-com that came out recently, where the groom Gede has to have his teeth filed before he can get married. It was a painful scene to watch, though it was a mere 30 seconds, and I tried not to hold it in my memory as I listened to the shrill whirr of the drill (or saw or grinder - whatever it was). But it quickly leads to a fun scene where the bride, her friend, and her parents help numb Gede’s pain not with a very large needle stuck in his gums but with shots of high-proof alcohol.
Like Ghosted, this movie did not get great reviews. But I can’t help but be won over when a man of a certain age lets down his guard (whether sober or…not) and pulls out some serious dance moves, like Hugh Grant’s dance to the Pointers’ Sister’s “Jump” in Love Actually or like George Clooney’s Running Man in this movie to C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat.”
I just went back and watched that scene to numb my pain a tad more. If you need a little numbing in your day, I advise you to do the same.
Julia Roberts and George Clooney up to their expected antics in Ticket to Paradise.
I mentioned last week that one of the characters in a novel I’m writing is a romance novelist and that Emily Henry is the only romance novelist I’ll read (for now, anyhow - who knows what the future holds?). Among my researching what makes a romance novelist tick, I stumbled upon this Vulture article by Allison P. Davis that not only reaches into the depths of who Emily Henry is but also has so many insights on the genre itself. It’s a long read, but I thought it was worth every minute.
Love is embarrassing. Every aspect of it requires maximum humiliation. And while it’s human nature to love, to want love, it’s mortifying to be caught in the act of it: putting yourself out there for it, asking for it. It is embarrassing to receive it, to open yourself up to it. Love is like a high-school bully, poking at tender spots, forcing a response, reducing us to — what? Softies! Simps! … It’s all so cringey! To call someone “your person.” To be caught singing a little song because you’re in love. Or doing a little dance … together? Oh my God. Touching knees? Biting lips? Having your special li’l nook under their arm? Tearing up over gestures both grand and mundane? Oh my God, please, wow, nope, don’t look at me. Romance? Is there a witness-protection program for little bitches? Sign me up.
“But that’s the joy of romance,” exclaims Henry. “Dating is humiliating. Sex is funny and embarrassing. I think there’s so much beauty in having a genre that’s like, You’re going on the most vulnerable journey a human can go on with a fake person. You’re going to imagine what it’s like to fall in love.”
- Allison P. Davis
Our local zoo is hosting The Lantern Festival this month. The lights come on as the sun sets.
In this morning’s Short Reads substack was this gem from Brittany Hailer. This is pretty much exactly my experience with early motherhood and writing, only I didn’t have a dog to also take care of, and I never really felt like “quiet domesticity” was quite a good fit for me. But besides that, yeah, she nailed it.
Your urgent need to document paralyzes you, shames you. You want it so bad, you don’t do it. But he laughed in his sleep today, so write it. Write it now before your mother dies. Before your son grows up with a mother who used to be a writer.
- Brittany Haile
Our chicks like to sit on our heads. This was a cool pic followed instantly by the unfortunate event of getting pooped on. Go figure.
I mentioned before that I have a collection of essays written about my interactions with bugs, so Ellen Notbohm’s essay “Death By Thesaurus” in Dorothy Parker’s Ashes caught my attention this week. I love the contemplation of why we are so quick to either kill or save a tiny life, but what really struck me in this essay was what she said to her grandkid after watching her stomp a ladybug in cold blood.
“Yes. Sometimes when things are broken they can be fixed, but not this time. All she wanted was to fly home and now she can never do that again. I’m glad that you’re sad. It shows what a kind heart you have. You’ll never step on a ladybug again, will you?”
- Ellen Notbohm
It’s one of the perfect teaching moments where you hope to say the exact right thing in that hard moment, and to me, Ellen said the exact right thing in that hard moment.
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