In the category of “be careful what you wish for...,” I was just saying
the other day that I would rather spend an afternoon writhing in pain in
the dentist’s chair than hear another word about the deficit, tea party,
climate change, or “man-made disasters.”
Sure enough, the next day my
dentist called to inform me that my lower, right wisdom tooth had to come
This surprised me; I thought I had liberated all my wisdom teeth when I
was a teenager...... Things were indeed so much simpler then...
That summer in the late 60s I was working in the food service area at the
local, public swimming pool. We fixed and filled vending machines and
kept the place clean. (Read about it in
“The Days of Summers Past.”) There were
only a few days when the temperature went over 80 degrees in Cleveland,
and this particular day was destined to be a scorcher. I was scheduled to
work the 1-9 shift. But I had a 10 o’clock appointment to have a tooth
removed. I remember that I had a novocaine injection, but I can still
hear the sound of the tooth crackling as it reluctantly gave up its
comfortable seat in the rear of my mouth. The sound was worse than the
pain. But afterwards, with my mouth swollen and full of bloody gauze, I
put on my Variety Vending T-shirt and headed over to the pool. I had work
“When duty whispers low, ‘thou must’; the youth replies: ‘I can.’”
(High school poetry... I don’t remember the author.)
Anyway, I was OK as long as I did not have to bend over and didn’t have
to talk. It was not worth the effort to explain why I could not talk
right... especially when... I could not talk right. So I just nodded my
head a lot, and tried to do my job. Weatherman Dick Goddard was right; it
was hot as blazes.
Ron Silver, owner of Variety Vending and watchdog of the food service
area, was a taskmaster to end all. If you looked the wrong way, he let
you know about it. It was not at all unusual to get yelled at half a
dozen times a day. But his bark was far worse than his bite. He never
fired anybody; the faint-of-heart quit long before he had a chance.
So it didn’t surprise me when Ron yelled at me in spite of my delicate
condition. “Thunder,” he barked. (My nickname was “Thunder” – it’s a long
story.) “Get over there!” “Thunder; pick up that paper.” I was used to
it... I just did my job and kept my mouth shut. I needed the
buck-thirty-five an hour I was making. The novocaine was still doing it’s
job; I really felt OK.
But that was not good enough for Ron. I remember him calling me over and
ordering me to “talk to the customers.” I mumbled something back to him,
but he just pointed to “the floor,” and ordered me to get back out
So it was especially surprising when he called me over in the middle of a
rush and gently told me to take a few minutes off. “Go in the back and
wash your hands and face. Sit down and rest for a while.”
Huh?? This was not the fire and brimstone Ron Silver that I knew and
feared. It was only when I went into the back and looked in a mirror that
I realized there was a small stream of blood trickling out of the corner of my
Ah, those were the kinder, gentler days of my youth.
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Hershel's kinda-like-a bio: