Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

When I was younger, I exercised to relieve mental stress. Jogging, swimming, screaming, jumping up and down wildly.   But, as I’ve passed 60, I focus on increasing my heart rate and keeping it up and on strengthening my arms and legs.   

Recently, I’ve added aerobic bench and floor exercises, and this has greatly improved my flexibility.  When the instructor tells us to sit on the floor with our legs out straight and then touch our toes, I almost can envision touching my toes.  When she says grab your feet and touch your head to your knees, I can now see my knees.  My guesstimation is that the day my head touches my knees is the day I will drop out of aerobics class, as I will no longer be able to walk.  So, I’m content with viewing them.

Flexibility is a good thing, and I’m getting a bit better.  And, as with all exercise, I am being rewarded as the benefits of my improved health manifest themselves in other facets of my life.

The other day, my dentist was installing a porcelain bridge in the back of my mouth.  With some kind of rubber tent-like gizmo in my mouth that keeps me from spitting, biting, and commenting, Dr. Not-Telling-The-Whole-Truth said there “might possibly” be a little pain.  However, since it would only take a few moments, I shouldn’t need any shots to numb the pain.

With a garbled vocabulary, I asked, “What kind of pain are we talking about?”

He said he was going to blow cold air in the spaces where the teeth used to be in order to dry them out. He reiterated it would only take a moment.  (I should have gone with my gut instinct at that moment and kicked him in the stomach.) 

“How much pain?” I asked.

“Oh, it won’t last long,” he said.

“That wasn’t my question!!!  How much pain?”

With his air gun, my friendly dentist lightly blew some I air on my gum. There was a small tinge of sharpness, but overall it wasn't too bad. “I can do that,” I told him.

After a few minutes preparation, he said, “We’re ready. Grab on to the chair and don’t move.”  Does that conjure up a red flag for anyone but me?

I heard the urgency in his voice, but his hands filled my mouth before I could bite him. The words “grab on” do not indicate minor pain. 

Dr. Sadistic blew cold air against my gums with a force that made Hurricane Katrina look like a sissy.  The pain was intense, and Dr. Horrible had the audacity to say, “Don’t move.”  I vowed to kill him, but I didn’t move.  The air stopped. I breathed and started to relax again.  He said, “One down, one to go,” and the air came again.  The pain intensified.  It was worse that before.  His assistant held my upper torso to the chair.  With all the aerobic training I could muster, I threw my legs up in the air, swung them back toward my dentist’s head, and locked my ankles around that sucker’s neck.  I squeezed as tightly as I could.

We now had each other’s attention.  The pain stopped.

I am a great advocate of aerobic classes.  You never know when the increased flexibility will come in handy.

Date of Blog Story: 
January 24, 2008

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