First time for everything

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I write this on Tuesday and the paper is delivered on Wednesday. If you get your paper early, pray for me. If you get it toward the end of the day, well, pray for me then, too! For the first time in my life I will have had a root canal. I have no idea what a root canal is like.

At the same time, every person to whom I have told of this experience has acted as if I have the plague. They look as if they have just bitten into a lemon.

I asked the endodontist, “Is it going to hurt?” That’s like asking our local general surgeon, Dr. Walker, “Will I experience any sort of discomfort with my colonoscopy?”

Email newsletter signup

Dr. Walker says, “No, you’ll never feel a thing. There may be a challenge the day before as you have to drink a few ounces of solution.”

He never said the day before was like standing under Niagara Falls and opening your mouth to allow the free flow of water.

With all due respect to our fine dentists here in town, I was a little apprehensive in regards to the root canal. Mention those two words and look for a positive expression. You would find a wedding ring in a truckload of picked peanuts before a positive reaction to a root canal. Nevertheless, I’m going to have one.

I looked up dental humor on my laptop. You can find jokes about anything. Here’s a poem by Ogden

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental
But the one that is both is dental.

I’ve been very fortunate with my “toofies.” I’ve still got them all, except, of course, for a couple of wisdom teeth. I adhere to the old saying, “Got teeth? Thank your dental hygienist.”

I also have found that having a root canal is not an inexpensive procedure. I think to myself, “Why would we pay so much money to ask someone to do something that is not going to feel good?” I think of the late, great southern humorist Lewis Grizzard and his take on marriage.

Marriage is not an inexpensive experience, either, but Grizzard tried it more than once. It must have cost him a lot of money to get married. Or I might say that it cost him a lot of money to get divorced. He finally said this, “I don’t think I’ll get married again. I’ll just find a woman I don’t like and buy her a house.”

Actually, having the root canal, no matter the cost, is going to be worth it. Who wants a toothache?

I’ve had very few in my life and I’d like to keep it that way. There is an old saying from an author with the familiar name of unknown and he says “Love conquers all things except poverty and a toothache.”
Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to my root canal. It’s sort of like the preventive maintenance that will take care of a more serious problem. I’m thankful for the x-ray that revealed the abscess before the real pain of a toothache.

I’m reminded of the Longfellow poem “The Rainy Day.” The poem, itself, is like the opening line, dreary. But as the poem is read, it reveals a good philosophical view.

One line says that into every life a little rain must fall. That might be my root canal.

The poem also says, that behind the rain cloud the sun is still shining. Where is sun shining in a root canal? Well, when it’s over, it’s over!