Maestro, the music: As longtime readers of the site probably have noticed, this particular feature has been absent for the first couple of months of the offseason. For the most part that's been due to other, bigger fish needing to be fried in this space. This past week, such was not the case. Instead, Free Form Friday was nixed last week while I was busy begging in the street for drugs. Actually, I was in my friendly family dentist's office.
But the begging for drugs part is totally accurate. At some point the preceeding afternoon I had become aware of a bit of a toothache in a tooth which had been filled about a year before. I called and set up an 8 a.m. appointment to get the thing looked at. In the intervening 16 hours or so, the thing went south like the last days of the Ray Goff era. It hurt like a son-of-a-gun. Then, on the way in for my appointment, I got the call from my wife that our dentist (who is also a good friend) had called, had two sick children at home, and wouldn't be able to make it in. And that's when the thing went south like the last 12 hours of the Lane Kiffin era on Rocky Top. The kind of going south that only property insurance agents in greater Pompei are allowed to poo-poo. A quick x-ray confirmed that I did in fact have an abscessed tooth. For the unititiated, an abscessed tooth is when an infection develops inside a tooth or the pocket around the tooth.
That's a deceptively clinical explanation for it. What actually happens is that the infection builds up until your friend;y neighborhood dentist can relieve the pressure caused by the building infection. In the interim, the infection presses on the nerves of your teeth and gums to the point that you consider pulling a Tom Hanks in Castaway and running down the street to pick up an ice skate for some self help endodontics. I found myself driving home on Friday with a prescription for a potent narcotic, an antibiotic, and the heartfelt sympathy of an entire team of dental assistants. The fact that those ladies, who see people get things yanked out of their heads all day long without flinching, seemed genuinely concerned for me should have really been a clue.
I may be the Isaiah Crowell of sports bloggers, sitting daintily on the sidelines while my colleagues tote the prverbial mail here at the site. I allow for this possibility. But I know this, during my football playing days I suffered broken ribs, hands, arms, and toes, two separated shoulders, two concussions (at least that I remember), and various and sundry damage of a ligamentous and tendonous nature. None of it comes close to the pain produced by one infected bicuspid. Mother of God. It was like Hell opened a drivethru window in my lower jaw. I stayed faithfully on the antibiotic schedule, designed to keep the infection from getting worse. No dice. The pressure increased steadily through the night, into Saturday, reaching its apex sometime Sunday afternoon.
I credit the pain medication for getting me through. Not because it stopped the pain. It did diddly squat for that. It did not me out like an elephant who sat on a crate of tranquilizer darts. Then whenever I woke up I cried like a 4 year old who'd dropped his ice cream cone. In between, I had some of the most vivid dreams one can imagine. I was visited by my old friend Les Miles, bayou werewolf wrangler. He told me, among other things that Elvis ain't dead, he's just coaching football in New England (which is as good as vanished). He told me that no matter what the over on Georgia/Clemson is, I should take it. And that Georgia would probably not off Kentucky in basketball if they got the 'Cats at home. He also mentioned that well-dressed men you don't know in your front yard are either delivering the Good News, bad news, or legal papers. No matter which it is, you should stay away from the door and take another pill. I chalked it all up as a hallucination, except the part about the guys at the door, because that stuff's right on the money. B
But the highlight of the weekend came when I ventured out on Saturday morning just long enough to pick up some supplies at my local Kroger. Out front I ran into a cadre of Girl Scouts. In case you missed it, it's that time of year when teams of pint-sized pyramid multi-level marketers peddle cookies in front of every big box store and grocery they can. We had already purchased 8 boxes this year, which is 8 boxes more than a sedentary lawyer/sports blogger needs to be exposed to in the first place. Not to mention the fact that with half my face throbbing, the thought of eating a thin mint literally made me nauseous. It occurred to me that being a Girl Scout cookie pusher is the worst sales training in the world. Because it gives one an unrealistic picture of the sales racket. Sales involves being told no 99 times before hearing your first yes. Have you ever tried to say no the Girl Scouts selling cookies? Seen their bright little faces fall, and their sparkling eyes cloud over with judgment and disdain? It's a bad, bad feeling, assuming you're not running a low grade fever, delirious from pain, and therefore oblivious to cogent thought or human emotion. In that case you just grunt at the little beret-wearers and move on.
The moral of this story? Take care of your teeth, kids. Or you'll end up discussing college basketball in a fever dream with Les Miles and his lupine posse, and being mean to small children. In other words, an abscessed tooth will turn you into John Chavis, minus the salary and snazzy mustache. That's a bad trip, man. Until later, feel free to talk amongst yourselves about dental adventures gone awry, Girl Scout cookies, the spectacle of watching Kentucky basketball fans come to terms with losing to Georgia and potentially having it destroy their tournament hopes, or whatever else pops into your collective heads. Go 'Dawgs!!!