Dear Dentist, Please Don’t Let Me Die

New! Tooth holder Plush
Photo By Sappymoosetree @ Flickr

A while ago I went to the dentist. I have a decent fear of the dentist for a few of reasons: a) it smells funny in there b) people always complain about the horrific things that take place c) you’re forced to look at  someone else’s nose hairs (even if it’s a momentary, horrified glance) d) why do dentists have so many nose hairs?! and, e) most importantly, my parents didn’t really take me to the dentist, so I never had the opportunity for it to become normal and natural. Lack of exposure to neutral experiences + active imagination = irrational fear and avoidance of epic proportions. (Note from the Don’t Eff Your Kids Up Foundation: take your kid to the freaking dentist.)

So, now I have to pick between my fear of smells/nose hairs/pain/people fishing around in my mouth, and my fear of developing some kind of mouth abscess, which spreads infection to my jaw, which eventually spreads to my brain, which would then give me meningitis and I would die—of tooth decay. I would MUCH rather die battling a porpoise. (You know you would, too. I mean, seriously. Would you rather have your tombstone read, “The dummy couldn’t figure out flossing,” or “Her mastery of porpoise-battle taught us all the meaning of courage”? I think if we’re honest, we’re all aiming for the latter. )

But, alas, the last time I went to the dentist (*cough* over a year ago), they said I should probably get a few spots filled “as soon as possible.” Which all humans interpret as “about a year from now, after you quit hyperventilating about it.” Right? (Thanks for backing me up on this one, guys.)

So, we saved up some money after our tax return, and I put it in an envelope designated for tooth-fixery. And then my husband lost his job for a while, so I decided I needed to wait until we were a little more stable before blowing a bunch of money on keeping teeth in my head. And then after he got his job again I got afraid of the dentist some more, so I avoided it, only really seriously considering it whenever I got the ol’ fear-o-meningitis.

Then, a few weeks ago, I decided to start making lists of things to do for the day. I would typically put 2-3 things on the list, because then I could do them ALL in one day, and feel like the Hillary Clinton of mundane life responsibilities. This is how I tricked myself into calling the dentist and making an appointment like an adult.

And then came the dicey part, when I actually had to go to the dentist and have razors jammed in my gums. (Or whatever they do at the dentist. See above re: lack of exposure.)

In the days leading up to my visit, I crafted this speech to give to my new dentist:

Dear Dentist [note: this is a weird way to start a speech, seeing as I’m looking right at him, not scribbling this with a quill],

I’m slightly terrified of you and everything in here. But I’m more terrified that I will have a cavity, the cavity will get bigger and bigger, then the large cavity will get bacteria in it, which will lead to an infection, and that infection will lead to meningitis, which will lead to my untimely death.

Also, I’m aware that I have a couple of cavities already, but I need you to act like whatever you find is no big deal. Like, just act like it’s all going to be okay, because maybe then I’ll keep coming to the dentist, and then I won’t die in the street.

So, to recap: my life or death is entirely dependent on your reaction to whatever tooth-related situation I have going on. No pressure. (But lots of pressure.) Please keep smiling as much as possible. But not in a creepy way. Just play it cool, okay? Stop freaking out. Oh, that’s me freaking out? Well, whatever! If you were being cooler right now I would probably be calm!

I’m sorry. Keep trying. I’m pretty sure this is going to be unpleasant for everyone involved. Do you tip dentists? I have a dollar in my purse. Nice to meet you.



It should be seen as a testament to my self-control that I only said some of those things. The kind, unsuspecting dentist informed me that I would not die that day of anything tooth related. He also did the poking/number-shouting thing on my gums. He told me that all the numbers needed to be three or below. None of my numbers were above three, so when he was done I said, “I win at gums, right?” and then there was a long, puzzled silence.

Now I need to add to my to-do list, “Call dentist to schedule more tooth stuff.” I’m sure he’s real excited about our reunion.

How do you do at the dentist? Any fun stories? Like that one time that you went to the dentist and they gave you a puppy named Sir Francis Furrypants? (See above re: lack of exposure.)

Dear Dentist, Please Don’t Let Me Die

The Tweet Goes On

So, I signed up for twitter the other day, and it was entirely exhausting. This is less indicative of the experience of twitter than it is of my current mental state, which can turn even the most mundane of activities to a nightmarish hellscape. I mean, really, what does twitter need of me, anyway? Not even a paragraph, I tell you! Not even a paragraph. They just want tiny, fragmented thoughts jammed together in as little character space as possible. While being witty, of course. And adorable. Or powerfully compelling. Whatever your schtick is, melt it down to its basic elements and send it out to be judged/ignored/embraced as genius. No biggie.

The panic did not come, as you might imagine, when actually tweeting. I didn’t get that far. The panic came while choosing a handle.

Apparently, Melanie is not an uncommon name (who knew?  Not me.), and all the Melanies already have the good twitter handles. Melanie? Taken. MelanieCrutchfield? Too long. (Though MelanieCrutchfie is available.) HiMelanie? Taken. HelloMelanie? Taken. JustMelanie? Taken. This is where I swear like a G-rated cartoon character, “$%&!# your stupid face, twitter!”

Here are some gems that were available, but I decided against:

  • Melaniecholy (oh, isn’t that so very witty?)
  • KITMelanie (It’s like signing a yearbook with twitter.)

These adjectives are more for food than people:

  • SaltyMelanie
  • ZestyMelanie

And here’s where I started perusing the “M” section of the dictionary:

  • Mach1Melanie
  • MacroMelanie
  • MicroMelanie
  • MadlyMelanie
  • MainlyMelanie
  • MegaMelanie (I’m going to crush you!!)

And here’s when I started getting a little loopy about it:

PirateSnack? Available! Awesome! AssHat? Not available. Twitter suggestion: AssMelanie. Touché, twitter. Just because I can’t pick out a handle, doesn’t mean you have to get all nasty about it. Also unavailable: HellsMels, FelonyMelanie (which Kate told me sounded like a Garbage Pail Kid. Totally true.), and CrapBag (somebody is REAL proud of that one.).

I was SOoooo frustrated. And hot (because San Diego was obscenely hot last week). And that’s when I thought, “It’s hot as the dickens in here!” and then I wondered what “the dickens” meant. So I looked it up, and it’s euphemism for the devil, along with Old Scratch. OldScratch, which is also taken on twitter.

At this point I had gotten into a VERY long discussion on facebook about my whole quandary, and I was about to just give up and go for PirateSnack, when I discovered the closest thing to a good twitter handle that I can think of. You ready for it? Hmm? Hmm?


I’m sad that I didn’t get to use PrincessCummerbund, or KarmaKitten, or—truly—PirateSnack, but I think that’ll do for now. Let’s go follow each other, okay? It’ll be super fun. You don’t want to miss out on these gems:

  • So Much Yapping

    • Now chicken on the grill looks like squirrel meat. Thanks, Hunger Games. 2 hours ago
    • Why am I immediately distrustful of anyone who calls themselves a poet? 2 hours ago
    • We pay higher rent in SD for the feeling of weather-related superiority. After today I think I deserve a refund. 2 days ago
    • If you ever wonder a) is that roasted jalapeno hot? and b) should I put it in my mouth? I’ll save you the trouble: a) yes b) no. 4 days ago

How did you come up with your twitter handle? Are you a lover? A hater? Spill! (In as many characters as you’d like.)

The Tweet Goes On

How to Land a Job Like a Politician

Our public servants are gleaming examples of how to succeed. They’ve pushed forward through adversity, overcome tremendous obstacles, and weathered the storms of life to get where they are today. Awe-inspiring. Tear-jerking. Eagle-spurring.

Thank you, politicians.

The last two weeks, both the Republican and Democratic parties have put on their Cirque du Serviteur and we’ve all had the fabulous opportunity to see their tactics in all their splendor and silliness. Now, because these people are our examples for success and responsibility in our societies, I think it’s best that we pay close attention to how they live, and try to live the same way.

To help us in this effort, I’ve adapted the aptitude and artistry of America’s finest citizens to a circumstance we will likely all face in our lives: the job interview. Aaaaaannnnnd…here we go:

Put a Bow on It

The first step is to make a nice, pretty, shiny package of yourself. You want something that is clean, and simple, but too abstract to actually say anything specific, but emotionally manipulative enough to make someone feel that if they don’t like it, they’re a terrible person. Eagles, stars, swoopy things—you should work in these elements as much as possible.

Boom. You’re gonna have to hire that.

History Doesn’t Matter—Your Version of History Does

Has your life thus far been rather unimpressive? Who cares?! Just don’t admit that on your resumé. Instead, take whatever banal, bland goings-on you have under your belt, and add a little razzmatazz. This is also known as “lying.” But we’re going to be doing that a lot here, so you should probably get over it. (And I do mean a lot, a lot. Not a little. Like, a truckload.) If you need some guidance on this, here are some options:

“Worked at McDonald’s” becomes “Fed the hungry with speed and efficiency.”

“Administrative Assistant” becomes “Organization Architect” where you were “the keystone for success in inter-departmental relations.”

“Crossing Guard” becomes “Guardian of Safety for the Youth of America”

“Sandwich Artist at Subway” can stay just the way it is—there’s no way to make it sound more pretentious. Well done, Subway.

Blow the Competition Out of the Water

You’ve bluffed your way to the interview. Now’s the time to really roll out the big guns. Here are some key phrases to really make an impression:

“I want to thank Jesus Christ for getting me this interview.”

“If I don’t save you enough money in my first three months here to buy a herd of elephants, you can fire me.” (Don’t worry about the “fire me” part. You can always just threaten to sue for discrimination, or fabricate a story about sexual harassment. There are lots of options here.)

“The applicants in the hallway are communists and plan to give all of your assets to lazy people. You’ll be out of business before anyone can say ‘herd of elephants.'”

“The applicants in the hallway kill babies. Now, that may not affect their work, but do you really want be in a workplace where people have to literally hide their kids?”

“The applicants in the hallway hate America. I know, I’m shocked, too.”

“The other applicants aren’t like you and me, Sally. They just. Don’t. Get it.”

“If you care about your family, your neighbors, your business, or—really—your life…you’ll do what’s right: you’ll hire me.”

After delivering that last line—the clincher—just get up, raise up your arms, smile, and wave off in the distance. Say, “Thank you! Thank you!” and do that hands-together-at-your-heart-falsely-humble bowing thing as you make your way out the door. Then, just wait for the congratulatory calls to come a-rollin’ in.

Well done, you brave Pinocchio, you! Well done.

Lots of thank-yous to the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties for doing some truly trailblazing work in the art of lying. Bravo.

How to Land a Job Like a Politician

Goodbye Linnea

This weekend the Lomax family learned that the daughter they have been steadfastly searching for won’t be coming home. My heart breaks for Linnea’s friends and family, who have been hoping, searching, praying and longing for a happy reunion with the young woman they loved so much.

Rest in peace, Linnea. May the light of the life you leave behind glow warm and bright in the hearts of those you loved.

Image adapted from an original photo by Alesa Dam @ Flickr

Cards may be sent to:

Lomax Family
PO Box 307
Coloma, CA 95613

Goodbye Linnea

Problems That Lions Don’t Have

Have you ever had a frustrating moment in your day and thought, “If I were a lion, I wouldn’t have this problem”?

Really? Me too. Those lions. They have it made in the shade. Here are some common people problems that wouldn’t be problems for lions.

Getting “Burn” by Ray Lamontagne Stuck in Your Head

You know when you get a song stuck in your head and it just plays over and over and over and over again, and you sing it in your car, and in the kitchen while you’re doing dishes, and you try to figure out how to bleep out the g-d part because you don’t want your toddler singing that? And then finally you have to look up the guitar chords so you can get the full effect in your living room?

Yeah. Not a problem for lions seeing as they don’t have CD players, and even if they did, Ray Lamontagne might be a little too indie for the average plains-dweller.

Listening to Angry People Talk About Politics

Civility in politics is dead, and if you take the civility out of politics, you’re left with annoyance. If some yammerhole gets all red-faced and absurd about politics while talking with a lion, the lion wouldn’t have to feign interest or try to find an interesting segue to plants or (obviously) Ray Lamontagne. No, the lion has simpler solutions.

Deciding What to Make for Dinner

I’m pretty sure lions just eat whatever’s running by. Sure they probably get bored with zebra from time to time, but their lives are simple; they’re not bombarded with a thousand restaurants, and 400 kinds of soup, and a million new uses for the crock pot which they discovered on Pinterest. See it. Catch it. Eat it.

Yes, the life of a lion: so simple, so bloody. Plus, they look really comfortable when they take naps. Which of your problems could be solved by being a lion? Do share.

Problems That Lions Don’t Have