I wrote a book and decided to call it “How to be the luckiest person alive!” But I didn’t feel so lucky when I woke up this morning. My mouth was in a train wreck of pain. Earlier this week I decided to get 20 years worth of dental work done in three hours. I had switched dentists maybe ten times in the past twenty years.
Every time I would go to the dentist it would go something like this. He’d shine a light in there and then say something like, “whoah! This is a mess.” I’d make some jokes about my movie star looks. The dentist assistants would usually laugh but the dentist would be all serious. “This is no joking matter. You could lose all your teeth.”
So we’d have to schedule a follow up appointment. I needed a solid cleaning, “so we can really see what’s going on in there. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
And then I wouldn’t show up. Not intentionally. I’d want to show up. I’d feel good about getting things all straightened out in there. But I would get busy. You know how it is. I’d schedule a noon lunch and forget that it might overlap with a 12:30pm dental appointment. These are honest mistakes. You make them also.
In any case, this time I decided to go all out. I took charge. I was the General. “Lets get everything done in one shot,” I said to the dentist, his nurses, his secretaries. They were my private dental army. “But I don’t want to be awake for it. I want an anesthesiologist to knock me out from beginning to end.” So we scheduled to have three teeth removed (actually, it was two, but when I woke up I found out he took out a third just because he felt like it. The doctor explained to the nurse who explained to Claudia who had to explain to me when blood was unexpectedly dripping out of the left side of my mouth, that there was some tooth back there that nobody ever saw before or had ever even heard of that was so badly diseased it was going to destroy my whole mind if I didn’t have it removed.) Then we were going to go through with some ultra tooth cleansing and some gum planing and a few more other things.
The anesthesiologist (his name was Dr. Khan!) said, “I’m going to make you high first” and that’s the last I remember before waking up feeling as if someone had slammed me repeatedly in the face in the alley in the back of a bar.
But after that the pain was all gone. I was taking non-stop percocets and throwing in some other secret ingredients and all was good. I was the luckiest man alive. I was floating.
And then I woke up this morning. It wasn’t even light out. I was in pain again. I thought it was supposed to be over already. Its been four days! Ow! What the heck happened? I couldn’t move my mouth. OW! WHAT THE-!
I was stumbling around. My ipad! I had to have my ipad. For some reason I felt that holding an 64 GB 3G ipad 2 would stop my dental pain. That’s what Steve Jobs has done to me.
What are you looking for? Claudia was asking. She was a bit scared. It was 5 in the morning and my thrashing around had woken her. My ipad. Where is it? Under the bed? On the floor? Under piles of clothes? Where is it? My mouth hurts! Claudia was looking in the jewelry drawer. Why would an ipad be there? Finally, I found it. Under my pillow.
Ahh, my mouth was pounding. I took 800 mg of Motrin and another Percocet. Knowing that in twenty minutes I would start to feel better made me feel better already. The ipad turns on in an instant. I was starting to feel like the world was normal again.
Things load. Wi-fi kicks in. Gmail updates. Facebook notifies. Twitter mentions. I was forgetting about my teeth. But…what was this??
“Don’t worry about it,” someone emailed me at about midnight last night, “all publicity is good publicity.”
Another one. “What a small world. My buddy is Jay Leno’s chief gag writer.”
Another one, “watch Leno’s opening routine.”
So I did.
Claudia said, “Honey, he pronounced your last name right!”
She’s a good wife.
And, sometimes, I am the luckiest man alive.
(click to see Jay Leno and me)