Monday, March 29, 2010
Just had three teeth removed, and here I sit waiting for the Percocets to kick in. The Novocain hasn’t worn off yet, so I’m in no pain either way. I’m just typing until the friendly buzz settles, which should be about twenty minutes if I remember my pharmacology (which I do, rest assured.)
The extractions were relatively easy. The teeth were so bad, they probably would have gotten up and walked out of my mouth on their own if I just waited a few more months. In any case, my most excellent dentist popped all three of them in about five minutes, tops.
Funny dentist: After doing the extractions, my dentist told his assistant to save the teeth, rather than disposing of them. When she asked why, he said, “I’m going to use them to calibrate the x-ray.” Seems he usually uses a coin, or something similarly small, to do the job, but he figured why not use actual teeth now that he had some in his possession? When I asked if I could see the teeth, he feigned indignation, saying, "No! They’re my teeth now! Bwah-Hah-Hah!"
I did get to see them, though, and... Yuck! Seriously scarred, pitted, and almost three-quarters fillings from years of abuse, if I had known exactly what they looked like from all angles I might have yanked them myself a while back.
When he revealed his use for my teeth, I was going to crack wise and say, "Well, since you needed them, I can charge you, right?" I kept quiet, however, because I didn’t want to take any chance at queering his writing out of the prescription for the percs. Who knows? If he took offense for some reason, I might have ended up with St. Joseph’s orange-flavored aspirin for children.
I can tell the percs are kicking in because the idea of chewing on a Saint Joseph’s orange-flavored aspirin actually has a certain appeal at the moment. See you later!
The good thing about taking Percocets, aside from the obvious pain relief, is that they make everything interesting. You have this nice yawny sort of hum happening in your head, and it lowers your intelligence and reaction time to an extent where things that might not usually strike you funny do. And things that are truly funny to begin with become extremely so (as long as they aren’t too cerebral, in which case you miss a few current jokes while you’re trying to figure out a previous one.)
The bad thing about taking Percocets, aside from the obvious potential for addiction or death – if you’re dumb and don’t read up on the drugs you’re taking before you take them, which task I have never neglected – is that they make everything interesting. So, while your gray matter is telling you that you really should turn out the lights and try to get some shuteye, the other part of your brain, believing that it is actually accomplishing something worthwhile, has decided that it’s really important and fascinating to find out what your softball team’s lifetime batting averages are. So, I kept drinking coffee and scribbling numbers in a notebook long after when I should have been snoring. The result is that I’m operating on about four hours of sleep this morning, have a foul tasting mouth (result of the extraction sites weeping a bit of blood, as well as the leftover coffee and cigarette residue, none of which I can rinse out for another day), and I don’t want to pop another pill just yet because I know, if I do, I’ll find a whole bunch of other stupid stuff to amuse myself and I won’t get to bed until 2 am again, at which point I’ll toss and turn and twitch because I’ll be way overtired, leading to another bad night of sleep and another round of pills and that’s one of the ways to start getting hooked on the things. So, despite a small bit of pain, I’ll forgo a pill in favor of some sleep. And then pop one as soon as I awake.
And it’s snowing.
(That doesn’t have anything to do with the above, really, but I just thought I’d throw it in here because it pisses me off. We just had four or five days of decent spring-like weather, and I was looking forward to our first softball scrimmage on Sunday. Snow makes that a longshot. And, now that I think of it, that DOES have something to do with the above, as the exercise would be a good way to clear my body of the drug residue.)
Let’s see... do I have anything else to ramble about? Well, sure, I always have something else to ramble about. But, I won’t. I think I’ve more than proven that I have nothing of interest to say this morning. See you after my nap.
Boy, that was a long nap!
No, not really. I just didn’t feel like writing when I got up. Nothing much to write about, anyway. Napped, got up, took a pill, took another pill, ordered some Chinese food, MY WIFE came home, we ate, watched the Celtics beat Sacramento, took another pill, tried to play the bass a bit, went to bed, got up, did NOT take any more pills because I can’t play the bass worth a damn when I’m on those things and today is the day I was going to Ronnie Bower’s house to jam, which I did, which was fun, came home, and here I am, writing, while the coffee is brewing, and now I’m going to make the coffee, take another pill, and stop writing the world’s unnecessarily longest sentence. See you either before or after softball on Sunday!
So, I got up this morning and went down to Smith Field, where we were scheduled to have the first scrimmage of the softball season. My manager, Jack Atton, scheduled this one earlier in the year than we’ve ever had one before. This is because he’s excited about the upcoming season. So am I. I’m a hopeless optimist even when my teams don’t deserve such optimism, but this year it looks as though we have a really outstanding squad shaping up. In years past, I always hoped to win my first championship, but I knew we’d do so as a longshot. This year, if we have the roster I expect, and the other teams in the league return with their same rosters from last year, I’d make us the favorite. That’s an absolute first, and I’m pumped.
However, if nobody on your expected team shows up, you won’t win anything. And that’s what appeared to be happening by 9:00 this morning.
I had, as usual, beaten everyone else to the field. I got there at about 8:30. After stretching, running a few wind sprints up and down the first base line, and exhausting all of the entertainment possibilities inherent in swinging a bat at imaginary pitches, I had pretty much given up hope of any of my teammates showing. As a matter of fact, I had amused myself for the previous five minutes by composing titles for this piece:
55, Minus 3, Plus 36 = Idiot
(My age, how many teeth I had pulled Thursday, the temperature in Fahrenheit – equal to approximately colder than a welldigger’s ass in Celsius – and the entire equation equaling my apparent IQ.)
Oh, Man! How Many Percs Did I Take? Am I Tripping?
(Self-explanatory, I believe.)
What The Fucking Fuck? Where The Fuck Are My Fucking Teammates?
And so on.
Well, maybe Jack saw a thermometer, called or e-mailed everybody else, and I just didn’t get the message that practice was called off. I threw on my jacket, picked up my bat, and started walking across the field to where I had parked my car. I was halfway there when someone behind me called my name.
I turned around and saw Emilio Zirpolo. I walked back toward him. When I got there, he told me he had just gotten off of the phone with Jack, who was running a little late because of traffic and would soon be at the field (which he was, just a minute or so later.) As the three of us talked, Fast Freddy Goodman came through the gate. Soon thereafter, Dave Vargas appeared. In all, we ended up with eight players, which was enough to have some good batting practice and fielding.
It was cold, but after being on the field for ten minutes, it became pleasurable enough. I was moving around decently for an ancient catcher. In my turn with the bat, I hit a few right on the screws (despite having forgotten my glasses and basically seeing a fuzzy ball.) The best thing about playing – and I’ve come to appreciate this more and more with each passing year – is the camaraderie. Not only does this appear to be a good roster, but it also looks to be filled with nice guys.
Three of those who showed were not on the team last year. They were recruited by Jack – a couple with aid from Dave - for the upcoming season. Jack is a great evaluator of talent, and that’s obviously important for a manager, but I think one of his overlooked strengths is that he only asks decent people to play on this team. That is, if a guy is a great player, but a real asshole, Jack doesn’t want him around. I couldn’t agree more. Anyway, as a result, there is very little bad blood on any of our teams.
Dave told a true story in that regard, to the new guys. The first year Dave was on this team, Jack had a previous commitment on the first Sunday of the season. So, after managing the first game of our doubleheader, he left to take care of his other business. I took over as manager for the second game.
In the second inning, Dave is at bat. I don’t really know him too well at this point. The count goes to 3 and 0. The fourth pitch is about two feet above Dave’s head, an obvious ball four. Instead of letting the ball go by, and drawing a walk, Dave takes a phony swing at it, with no intention of hitting the ball. The umpire had no choice but to call a strike. Dave didn’t want the walk, and wanted to take his chances on getting a good pitch to hit on the next delivery.
I exploded. I mean, I went off like a nuclear bomb. I started screaming at Dave, "What in the fuck was that? Take the fucking walk!" and other similar niceties. Now, I don’t normally yell and scream like; it’s not my style at all. However, that just seemed like such a boneheaded play by Dave, as well as a dissing of his teammates. Taking the walk is not only the generally smart thing to do, but if you don’t take it, you’re telling your teammates who hit behind you that you don’t think they can deliver. That’s not cool, at all.
Anyway, I later heard, from someone else, that Dave was really sad about my yelling at him. As it has become apparent to me since then, Dave is one of the sweetest guys on this team. Yelling was not the effective way to deal with the situation. Dave is a smart guy, and if I just spoke to him calmly, it would have been worked out just fine for both of us. Instead, I blew up. I didn’t think. And if David was the kind of asshole some players are, we might have had a big beef and nothing would have been accomplished. The point of my relating this story, though, is to show that, because Jack recruits good people, we didn’t end up as enemies. I’ve grown to respect David greatly as a competitor. He cares, deeply, about winning. And, I should add, he’s never made that play again, nor has he ever given me any other reason to blow up. He’s a funny guy, with a good sense of humor, and in all other ways he has shown himself to be a great teammate. He’s always trying to help other guys, whether by offering you one of his good bats to use during your time up or giving you a tip he’s picked up about the opposing pitcher or just generally keeping things loose. He’s one of the guys I especially look forward to seeing on game day, now, and I hope he feels the same way about me.
I could go on and on about softball, as you know, but you’ll get enough of that as the season gets under way in earnest. Anyway, I’m feeling pretty tired now, what with the nice exercise this morning and the additional percs I took afterward and this evening. Time to hit the sack. Back to work in the morning.
Back to work. I don’t suppose any of this was especially compelling, so I thank you for sticking around. If I had any percs left, I’d gladly give you one.
Soon, with more better stuff.
P.S. For my teammates, and anyone else interested – maybe Chris M., though I can’t imagine who else – I’ve posted some of those lifetime stats I was working on while I was higher than a kite Thursday night.
P.P.S. As for the title, I was perked. Sorry, but that's the best you're going to get.