At one o’clock sharp, I was stretched out in a recliner, wearing one of those white paper bibs around my neck and gazing around the examining room of Cami Elyse Ferris, D.D.S., whose business card reads: “Practice Limited to Endodontics.” She had been recommended by my regular dentist for today’s root canal.
(Old picture of her. She has short hair now.)
She assured me that everything would be fine, then pulled on the latex gloves and got down to business.
“Feel free to give me extra Novocaine,” I said as she approached me with a syringe the size of a baseball bat. “Actually, do you have any Primobolin?”
I zoned out as the chemicals went in. While Dr. Ferris drilled for oil or whatever she was doing in my mouth, I listened to the Lite FM that dentists always inflict on patients and I let my mind drift. I was so relaxed I took a nap.
Then, out of nowhere, pain.
“We’ve got a problem,” said Dr. Ferris, patting my shoulder after I literally levitated from the chair. “Most people have roots that go straight down.” She showed me a diagram.
“Yours don’t.” She shook her head in awe and wonder. “You’ve got a root that’s shaped like the letter ‘C.’”
She shook her head again, marveling at me. “I’ve only seen this phenomenon in Asian women.”
Great. So my mother had an affair and I wasn’t 100% Jewish American Princess after all?
“Don’t panic,” said my endodontist. “We’ll just have to work a little harder.”
The rest of the procedure was pure torture, but I distracted myself by thinking about the Yankees.
Before I’d left the house earlier, I’d read that Bernie Williams was working out with the team in preparation for the WBC. He hadn’t made Puerto Rico’s roster yet, but he was hopeful, even though he had reached the big 4-0.
I pictured Bernie from his golden days with the Yanks, hitting walk-off homers and sprinting in center field.
I also thought about how the Yankees didn’t offer him a contract at the end of ’06 and how he’d been focusing on his music ever since.
Today he was telling everyone that he still wanted to play, which made me think of 43-year-old Tom Glavine signing with the Braves and 43-year-old Tim Wakefield staying with the Red Sox and 46-year-old Jamie Moyer re-upping with the Phillies and the almost-40-year-old Ken Griffey Junior going back to the Mariners.
Has anyone else noticed that teams are signing 40somethings and 20somethings but not rushing to tie up 30somethings? That the market is more sluggish for those who are neither unripe rookies nor grizzled veterans but who fall squarely in between? Is there a dwindling middle class in baseball?
“We’re done,” said Dr. Ferris after I’d been in that chair for nearly three hours. “You were a real trooper.” She removed the rubber thingie that had been wedged between my teeth preventing me from talking.
“I think Bernie has a chance for a comeback!” were my first words as a free woman.
“Bernie who?” she said, then instructed the nurse to bring me some pain meds.
“Bernie Williams,” I said. “He was a Yankee. He could be a Yankee again. Well, he’ll always be a Yankee, because it’s the only organization he’s ever played for and once you put on the pinstripes you -”
“Take these,” said Dr. Ferris, handing me six capsules and a cup of water. “You’ll feel like yourself in a day or so.”
“I feel like myself now.” Clearly, she thought I was delirious.
Maybe I was, but it was a sweet delirium. As I staggered outside, my head buzzed with the memory of this.