Last week I had a bit of dental surgery. I got one broken tooth fixed, and another broken tooth taken out. There wasn't enough of the latter tooth to fix, nor was there enough to get hold of to pull out all in one piece. (Not that the dentist didn't give it a go. I had no idea how much twist-factor the human head has built into it. I think I was happier not knowing...) Finally he drilled the tooth into pieces, and took it out slick as anything.
I declined an offer of prescription painkiller. The dentist told me that alternating Tylenol and Advil at three hour intervals was just as good. I got home to discover that in all my pre-op preparations - laying in of homemade soups, etc. - I had utterly forgotten to lay in pain pills. I had on hand enteric coated aspirin (not a good choice for anything involving active bleeding, I thought), and some generic Tylenol-type pills, which had expired in March. Not feeling up to a trip to the drugstore, and my husband being sick in bed (but valiantly offering to drag himself to the drugstore if I needed anything), about four and a half hours after the surgery I took a couple of the outdated generic Tylenol-type pills. Four and a half hours later, I took another couple. That was it. That was all I needed, and I wasn't sure I needed that. Amazing. I expected to be flattened with pain. Didn't happen. (I am now stocked with fresh pills, btw, and the outdated ones are in the trash. I don't like pushing my luck with old pills.)
I did have some face swelling, but not enough to stop people in their tracks when they saw me out and about on my usual errands. Instead I got puzzled looks, as if they could tell something was different about me, but they didn't know what.
I also, late in the game, developed a bruise on my face. But it looked less like a bruise than a smudge.
So, the other night my husband was heading for our gas station cum bookstore, which shares a parking lot with the grocery store. We'd arranged that I'd ride along and go get groceries while he got his chores done at the gas station. A few minutes before heading out, I looked in the mirror, decided I didn't like looking like a middle-aged woman who doesn't know how to wash her strangely asymmetrical face, and went digging for some face powder I thought I remembered buying a couple years ago when I got a rash or something. (I wear make-up less often than I take pain pills. These are just not things I have on hand except for special occasions.) I found the face powder, and remembered another reason I don't use it besides not liking to mess around with make-up. Being quite fair, I had bought the palest face powder. This was a mistake. It is paler than I am. By quite a bit.
I looked in the mirror again, and wished that the bruise had the decency to look like a bruise instead of a dirty face. Wishing didn't help anything. So I reasoned that if I put on the powder lightly, it might sort of kind of even out my face color a bit and thereby, logically, make the bruise less noticeable.
I looked in the mirror after I'd done the deed, and saw a sickly pale middle aged woman who didn't know how to wash her strangely asymmetrical face. Worse yet, something about taking away some of the pink tones made the bruise look more like dirt than ever.
But my husband was calling that it was time to go and so I laughed at myself and went. Nobody commented on my face, one way or another, so I guess it wasn't too bad overall. But when I got home I took another gander in the mirror, and laughed out loud. My 'fix' had definitely made things worse. I went to the kitchen still chuckling at my misstep, and told my husband that I'd tried to hide my bruise with face powder, but thought I'd only made things worse by making myself look paler.
My husband about melted in relief. "I hadn't wanted to say anything," he said. "But when I dropped you off at the store I thought you looked really pale and it concerned me. I didn't notice the make-up..." Of course he didn't notice the make-up. There was no reason for him to think about make-up. I almost never wear make-up. And I'd put this on lightly, and adeptly for me.
Oh great. I made myself look worse and I scared my hubby. A twofer mistake.
(In case you are wasting brainpower wondering how I could break two teeth, I was eating a salad. The salad was composed mostly of iceberg lettuce. There was nothing hard in it. But I managed to bite down just wrong. It was one of those things where you know just before it happens that something bad is going to happen, but somehow you can't stop it. For an instant, there was terrific strain, and then two molars, one above the other, exploded into pieces. This was back in November. I could have been regaling you since then with stories of trying to get a dentist appointment in this town. I'm sure that if I had lied and claimed to be in agony, this could have been fixed before now, but I wasn't in agony, so I kept getting bumped. Finally a new dentist moved to town, and I managed to be one of his first patients here. I was pleased to see that he was a white-haired gentleman instead of a kid just out of school, but I didn't know that until after I'd arrived for my first appointment. I was braced for being the patient of a rookie, if it came to that.)
Quotation of the Day… - (Don Boudreaux) Tweet… is from page 257 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s brilliant 1979 paper “Natural and Artifactual Man” as this paper...
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