Uncle Slappy just called and it worried me. He was slurring his words, never a good sign from an 86-year-old.
"I had to have," he told me "emergency root canal. It hurt worse than child birth."
"Uncle Slappy," I admonished, "you and Aunt Sylvie have no children. How can you compare anything to the pain of child birth?"
The old man got defensive.
"Believe me," he answered "I know pain. You don't get to be 86-years-old without becoming an expert in pain. I know all sorts of pain. Heart ache, and headache, and stomach ache, and back ache, and front ache, and foot ache, and knee ache, and shoulder ache, and elbow ache, and pupik ache. I have aches in places I don't even have places--psychic aches. If child birth felt like my mouth, there wouldn't be seven-billion people in the world."
The old man had a point. People willingly have children but nobody opts in to a root canal.
"So how are you feeling now? Are you better?"
"My mouth you could poke with a shish-kebob skewer and I wouldn't feel a thing. I'm as numb as a statue. Vicodin they gave me and some anti-ballistics. So alright I'll be in a bit."
"Well thank god you found a dentist working on a Saturday."
"Not a dentist," he corrected, "a fancy-schmancy endodentist."
"Endodontist," I said.
"When I was a boy, now then did we have a dentist. The worst dentist in all of Philadelphia was what we could afford since two dimes we didn't have to rub together."
"The worst dentist?"
"Thumbs Salzman. We called him Thumbs because dropping things he always was in your mouth. Once on the little pointy poker I almost choked to death. He speared my uvula like Moby Dick."
"That sounds absolutely horrific."
"Well, it was no picnic. But today with Dentist Mort Gershman, he was like a Maestro in my mouth, the Maven of the molar."
"I thought you said the ordeal was painful."
"The endodentisting, that hurt," the old man said. "But the real pain came later."
"When the novocaine wore off?" I asked.
"No," he said, pausing for the punchline. "When I got the bill."
And with that, he hung up the Ameche.