Eventually we must talk of everything if there is enough time and space and printer’s ink.
Andrew Sarris, “The American Cinema.”
Apparently, footage of last night’s Russian Meteor from hundreds of in-car cameras has been flying around the internet. Indeed, it’s the only kind of footage of the event that exists. Elif Batuman explains: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/02/meteor-in-the-russian-sky.html
1. The primary dentist is a middle aged man with cartoonishly big eyebrows and small eyes. Everyone he hired is an attractive woman under 35. His practice seems to be quite successful.
2. There is a dental quarterly journal called “Mouth.”
3. The 21st Century means even dentists think they need “multimedia.” Thus, slideshows of before/afters, explanations of procedures with badly produced video demonstrations, surreal animations of disembodied jaws. Photos of mouths, no matter how clean or well structured, are gross. When forced to view them in a cycle while lying prone in a mechanized chair, one feels a bit like Alex DeLarge.
4. You don’t have to go to the dentist much. I didn’t go for 12 years and don’t have any cavities. I think maybe once every 5 years is probably good just so you get a new toothbrush.
5. The hygienist used an “ultrasonic” cleaning device on me. I imagine it blasting the gunk off my teeth with sound waves. I also imagine that’s inaccurate.
6. Without the stabilizing effects of swollen gums, I’m worried my teeth might come loose. There’s a lot of new space in there that I don’t trust.
7. My wife sent me a message that said she was jealous and that she “LOVE[S] THE DENTIST!” (allcaps hers). And I thought, who can love the dentist? What does it say about me that the woman who loves me also loves the dentist? Do I inflict on her some kind of almost-painful emotional scraping that leaves her feeling a little mishandled but better – healthier, brighter, cleaner – for it?
8. No. I expect she just likes having clean-feeling teeth and isn’t derailed by fears of imagined outcomes.
A man I hardly know died yesterday. He was a bartender from my childhood. He and his wife owned the Hill Top Inn in St. Louis, Missouri. His name was Al.
The Hill Top was the bar to which my parents, aunts and uncles, and their friends would retire after playing softball or volleyball at Crondolet Park (my grandparents, even – my grandfather only gave up volleyball after dislocating his shoulder during a game in his 80s). There was often a girl at the park, someone’s child, with an underdeveloped hand. I played with her, but had nightmares that when I pulled on that arm her hand came loose, attached only by stringy pink nerves while the one good hand receded into her body. I can’t ever think of that Park without thinking of her. This is the way our memories are connected.
At the Hill Top, Al’s wife Rosie made cheeseburgers I have never found the equal of. It’s an old kind of bar. Only A-B products for sale and the taps used almost exclusively for pitchers. There was a cigarette machine and one TV. Last time I was there, about two years ago, I was disappointed not to find the old poster reading “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service,” over a photo of a pantsless woman on a barstool, an important poster in my development.
Al wasn’t well the day of my visit, but Rosie said she remembered me from some twenty years before. I would come in with my parents and I would eat her cheeseburgers and play in the gravel lot behind the bar. Al would make me a Cherry Coke by mixing maraschino juice into a glass of RC. He’d put two cherries, three sometimes, on a tiny plastic sword. I’d eat the cherries and play with the sword until my mom took it away.
So, just like I can’t picture that girl’s face but can never forget her hand, I couldn’t tell you what Al looked like, but I still remember the cherries on the little sword.
I have been an undergrad and graduate student, have been an adjunct instructor, and am currently a full-time staff member at a solid university. As such, I have particular personal interest in the “Crisis in Higher Education” and have loud opinions about what’s wrong and am sure I am correct. One of things I’m sure I’m correct about is that online distance learning, all the rage these days among the techno prophets and profiteers, ain’t gonna save nobody’s soul.
I’ll be straightforward from the start. I bought Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers because of the cover. Or because of a cover. In actuality, the edition of the book I actually have next to me at the moment has a different cover than the one for which I bought the novel. I cannot fathom why in the holy name of realcoolness someone would decide that a crap old-timey sepia photo of two teenagers in Old West garb would make a better cover for ANYTHING, never mind for a novel about two grizzled men that already has one of the best designs I’ve ever clapped eyeballs upon which.