I’ve only been able to glean a few details about the private life of Teen Dentist, who's seen more of me lately than almost anyone else, but they all fascinate me:
He likes Led Zeppelin more than he likes contemporary music. "They have some really great songs that most people don't know about."
He graduates this May, but is going to do a residency at a hospital for a while because stuff like that helps younger guys get into orthodontics programs more easily.
So all signs point to an aspiration to have a cushy orthodontics practice back on Long Island some day.
His father is a dentist, but he doesn't seem really excited about going into practice as the "and Son". When asked what his father is like, he kinda frowns and says, "like most fathers, I guess."
Is Dad Dentist an orthodontist, or is Teen Dentist hoping to strike out on his own?
Teen Dentist has a bit of an awkward way about him. (Adorable.) He knows he ought to crack more jokes, for instance, but he can't seem to think of them quickly enough to use them when you give him an opening. He knows it's a good idea to use your name when talking to you, but he kinda forgets until it's a little too late, so there's usually an odd pause before he inserts your name into a phrase.
He seems to be a little intimidated by more gregarious people, like the frat-boy assistant he had that one time, or by the sassy lady professor that worked with him last night. Everyone seems to love him, but it's like he gets social performance anxiety.
He's cute and very well-groomed, but hasn't quite figured out a personal style that works. One day his hair was gelled into a fauxhawk, but that didn't last. He tends to wear sweatsocks and brown dress shoes with his scrubs.
I swear, you just want to give him a makeover and a hug and send him off on his drillin', fillin' way. He makes me feel very paternal, even though I’ve only got ten or twelve years on him.
I got the official word this morning that I have been accepted into that geek-o-luxe, type-alicious MATD program at the University of Reading (UK, not PA). Yeeeee-hah!
As the program director pointed out in his e-mail, this was not a huge surprise — we'd already determined that it would be a mutual good fit when I was there in January — but it's nice to know that all the application paperwork has been properly filed and sorted out now. All I have to do is keep filing various forms and following up on stuff for the next six months.
Yup, six months — almost to the day — and then I'll finally get the hey out of this country for a while, which I’ve been trying to do to some extent or another for at least 15 years. It's almost been ten years now since I returned to New York, too, and I definitely think I’m ready for a break. Half of that decade was fun and zany, and it feels like the other half was consumed by some kind of melodrama or another. I’m actually looking forward to taking a break for a while in small(ish) town and an unfamiliar setting where I can fully geek out once and for all without working so damn hard just to get around and juggle my four or five jobs.
So six more months of scrimping, saving, trying to earn as much scratch as humanly possible, and sorting out the endless details of putting life on hold for a year or so. I’ve secured a place to live in the UK, but I need to sublet my pad in Bed-Stuy so I can return (and store stuff while I’m away). I have to make sure I know the ins and outs of getting health care over there. I need to get rid of a lot of stuff (yet again). I have to stay on top of my loan paperwork. I have to...
Aw hell, I can worry about a lot of that stuff tomorrow. Tonight, I’m just super-psyched to know my patience and diligence has come to fruition.
And now I can get that next tattoo, which I’ve been saving until I finally made it back into grad school:
Wow, so even if you don't want to bother with that online MFA program I mentioned a while back, it seems like oyu can still make a $100,000 or more a year as a desktop graphic designer — part-time! (I can!?) — especially since "the computer does everything for you" and stuff. Oh man, how did I not figure that out by now? Do people know about this? I sure have been wasting my time.
(Special fun: How many grammatical/punctuation/capitalization mistakes can you find on that page? Special bonus fun: How many empty promises can you find?)
I have half bag of Russell Stover pectin jelly beans (my bean of choice) in my bag right now, and they're calling to me the way hald a bag of horse calls to a junkie. I need those beans, man!
Really, any potent source of sugar and/or caffeine will do. Even after sleeping through most of yesterday, I’m still reeling from a marathon 8-day string of 18-hour days, holed up in my friend Matt's attic studio in Boston while we (and any other helping hands we could grab) slogged our way through a hyoooooooge 6-volume proposal for a hyoooooooge architecture project. All of which has to be on press by...well, by yesterday, but most definitely by Wednesay. Of course, when I last checked in with Matt last night, he hadn't received copy for two of those books. I can only assume that madness will continue for the next couple of days until he finally gives out the way I gave out yesterday.
Although it's actually a cool project and it was great to hang out with Matt and his wife and kids, the circumstances were kind of extreme. I got the call to help last week, spent a day or two finishing up other stuff so I could boogie north for the week, and then spent all my waking hours working, working, working. I commuted from the basement to the attic each day, although I did get to leave the house once or twice in search of donuts and a place to upload files to Hong Kong faster than Matt's cable modem would allow. (FYI: Kinko's ethernet speeds are about half the speed of T-Mobile wireless speeds available at the same Kinko's! Or even at a nearby Starbucks.)
All this frenzied activity, which left me with all of 5 minutes to myself all week, came to a halt yesterday morning when I realized that I ought to hop on the first train back to New York so I could go to the emergency room and make sure I wasn't dying. (Literally!) False alarm, though: all is well, but my notoriously unpredictable g.i. tract continues to scare the bejeezus out of me from time to time.
I felt bad that I wasn't able to stick around for the home stretch of the project, but I’m slowly learning (the hard way, usually) that I’m better off not ignoring those little signs (sharp pains, mystery bleeding, chronic discomfort, whichever) the body uses from time to time when it's begging for help.
People always shush me when I make cracks about how much I hate my body, since they think I’m just talking about how much I hate my figure. that’s usually the apparent crack at myself I’m making, but the secret is that even though I wish it were easier to maintain the skinny nerd physique that appeals to me so much, I’m usually expressing much deeper frustration at how much my deeply flawed meatsack has let me down over the years. It's not the outside I hate nearly as much as the inside: the organs that fail, the systems that don't work properly, the overall frailty that persists no matter how well I look after things. And yes, all the breakdowns that are my own damn fault, one way or another.
Whenever I try to explain why I have such fond memories of the short-lived sketch-comedy show The State, I invariably end up trying to paraphrase the "muppet meat" sketch. Now, thanks to your friends at the Internet, you can just watch it and save me the trouble of messing up the story.
Dear students, when you come to class totally stoned, I can totally smell it on you. (P.S., that means you sort of stink.) Look, maybe that’s all fun and good times when you're out on the town, but when it's nine in the morning and you don't have your work and you have to ask me questions about what I just said because you were totally out of it, it's really gonna cheese me off. FYI.