Marveling at the misadventure

cappadocian tail lensnmatter,

Some of my friends call me “Trouble.” That’s fine with me. Trouble pays my bills, and I don’t admire problems (maybe my next post). I beat the hell out of the one in front of me and then I move on to the next.

I love what I do and the weird stuff that comes with it. I’m having a blast. The last week or so has been one of those interesting stretches.

I was in for a dental cleaning and check-up. Summer is a good time for tune-ups. I can make appointments at most times on most days, but I was the last patient of the day.

Before the hygienist started to work on me, she told me about her Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and her younger daughter’s ADD and how her older daughter was suddenly having trouble reading and could it be ADD? We got to talking about auditory working memory and about reading disabilities and about having her daughter evaluated by a school psychologist. Fall’s evaluation lists are forming now, so call the school and start the paperwork and see what comes of it.

The dentist came in and we talked about sleep apnea and CPAP masks. I have a new one coming that is supposed to have a good seal with facial hair. He also has facial hair and wants to know if the new mask works for me. Then he told me about a conflict with his kids in the car.

By the way, I need to floss more, which is to say, at all. I have no cavities but a little gum inflammation.

The dentist left when I did, saw me in the parking lot, and told me about a previous dentist at the practice. He had ADHD and had told me about this right before drilling a cavity. Persons with ADHD are usually at least as intelligent as most people and a person with ADHD who becomes a dentist has to work extra hard and has to really want to be a dentist, so I had no problem with this information, but I was a bit worried about distractibility with that sharp, powerful drill in my mouth. This seemed like information that could have waited a bit.

Apparently, before the other dentist left the practice, he got to talking to patients about personal problems. You’re probably a better listener with a mouth full of dental tools. Not much chance of interrupting the speaker.

After that conversation, I bought two cheesesteaks and some lager and headed to a friend’s house. I was stuck in a street festival, behind a long liquid nitrogen tanker that was not suited for driving through a borough.

This worked out well, though. As I neared my friend’s house, I had to take a ramp to turn from one road to another and, as I neared the other road, I found myself heading straight at another car. The driver was making an illegal left turn to go the wrong way down the ramp that I was on, so that she could cut across the median to turn onto the road that I had just left.

If I had spent three or four fewer seconds discussing ADD with my dentist, or not been stuck behind the nitrogen tanker, then I would have been eating airbags and auto glass instead of a cheesesteak. I’m coming to believe that things that happen quickly need to happen quickly, and that things that happen slowly need to happen slowly, and that some of what I want is best for never happening at all. I’m also happy that I was able to drive for 20 minutes with cheesesteaks in my car and leave them alone until I reached my friend.

God is forever putting me into ridiculous situations, and this is the kind of stuff that I love, how it is all working out. I love the work that I get to do during the day but I also love the other things that happen.

This week, I saw the dermatologist and he told me a story about a classmate of his when the doctor was in elementary school in Queens, a kid who had the same name as me. Maybe there was such a kid, and if so then maybe he did face-plant on the playground. That’s not important. It was a good story and I knew what he was doing, trying to help me to relax.

This was my annual full-body check for skin cancer and I am modest, so it’s not easy for me. However, eleven years ago, this doctor removed a mole from a place on my body where I strongly dislike sharp objects, and it all worked out, so I trust him. Besides, I get it. I work with minds, not bodies, but it’s the same thing, the simple and straightforward process of checking, not personal and not fun, but a job that has to be done. A lot of people die of embarrassment, but I’m not going down that way.

I told him that I don’t care for this “we’ll watch it” nonsense. It’s a mole, not a lung, so I don’t need it, and I don’t especially want it, so if he thinks that it could turn into cancer, just lop that sucker off. From his office, it will go under a microscope, then into an incinerator, right where it belongs. The smell of laser cauterization doesn’t bother me.

I have been working two or three days a week, amid dissertating and Masonic scholarship. I’m pushing and hoping for a fall finish on the PhD and Level 2 status as a Masonic Scholar in October. I have been evaluating students and preparing a training on suicide risk assessment at work. I have already drafted a revision to the active shooter response plan. In the afternoons, I have been hiking a long, steep hill, even in the ridiculous humidity and heat. I come off the hill almost as wet as I will be in the shower when I get home, but I love the challenge and I’m getting stronger. At home, I have a new set of 40-pound dumbbells because my 30-pounders were getting to be too light. It turns out that a PhD is not good for your BMI and I am trying to use my doctoral determination into a stronger body.

In the words of Dan Tyminski, “Where I’m bound nobody knows.” Tom Petty said, “Guess I’ll know when I get there.” I’m far from over and I’m having a blast.