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Liquid plumber…

March 31, 2010

The horse had a good natural gait and as he rode he talked to it and told it things about the world that were true in his experience,

and he told it things he thought could be true to see how they would sound if they were said…

He told the horse why he liked it,

and why he had chosen it to be his horse,

and he said that he would allow no harm to come to it…

— in All the Pretty Horses written by Cormac McCarthy

Alain Vigneault and his crew have got a plan,

for Shane O’Brien…

And Alain was clear with reporters,

persistent on stirring up dirt and tabloid,

that Mr. O’Brien is NOT under suspension…

Alain didn’t even use the word discipline,

which would be okay,

because that may be what is needed here…

He specifically used the words WE have a  PLAN…

This sounds like tough love intended on growing maturity…

My mother said that I was born mature,

my father has old home movies showing it…

But from my own experience,

and observations of children,

maturity takes some bumping up against life to solidify…

Banging against the walls of futility,

by not getting what you want when you want it…

I’ve heard it said that when scientists collect the tears of a person,

who is weeping due to feelings of intense grief and despair,

and then evaporate the water off of the tears,

a powder is left behind…

And when injected into a mouse,

this powder can kill…

People worry about crying…

I’d worry more about holding that kind of poison,

in my body…

I had a mouse in my house for most of last fall…

It had a weakness for cultured butter…

I tried to kill it with chocolate ganache…

I haven’t found a body,

but I don’t hear a mouse ripping apart my walls,

in the middle of the night anymore,

and there are no longer greasy paw prints,

on my five burner range…

This morning at 9:00 am sharp,

I went for my six month dental check-up…

I have a history of dental trauma…

It started with guilt trips over my persistent thumb-sucking,

and how much braces were going to cost my family,

and continued with my parents thinking it was okay,

for my father’s university buddy,

to look in my mouth,

while I was having a bath,

when they were entertaining guests,

because he was a dentist…

It didn’t matter that I was terrified,

and scrambled around in the water to get away from him,

like a baby crocodile…

I was told not to be so sensitive,

for my own good…

I had the kind of baby teeth that needed to be pulled out…

Or so they said…

Perhaps my teeth just needed more time,

to break through on their own…

The day I got my two front teeth pulled out,

my father had to drag me out from behind the woodpile…

As I recall,

my mother said she has never heard a scream,

like the one she heard,

in the reception area,

down the hall,

from the chair…

A scream followed by the silence,

of a broken little pony…

My mother always said that I only remember the bad things…

I don’t believe that to be true…

I believe that I remember exactly what I need,

to do things differently…

When I was in high school my mother no longer wanted to drive,

to an armpit strip mall in Burnaby,

where my father’s university buddy,

held his office,

so she found a dentist in riding distance,

so I could get there on my own…

This doctor had wicked coffee breath,

that he tried to mask with a piece of institutional green foam…

He cut my gums so that my molars would come through,

like The Shining…

A few years after that he went missing,

and his body was found floating,

at the mouth of the mighty Fraser River’s,

middle arm,

out by the airport…

A mysterious case of disappearance,

and cover-up…

Once you move out of the house,

you are finally free to find your own dentist…

I looked around,

and the dentist I’ve had for the last fifteen years,

is the first one with whom I felt my anxiety level drop,

to a reasonable level…

I don’t do everything she tells me to do,

and she knows that she has to be pretty convincing,

to bring my alongside her evidence…

If I haven’t had a cavity in more than twenty-five years,

why do I need flouride???

And just how strong is that link between flossing,

and reducing the incidence of heart disease???

I feel incongruency when she makes comments about THE Chinese,

and their shopping cart driving skills at the Costco in Richmond,

as I look up into her Chinese eyes,

while she has her instruments in my mouth,

and I have no where to go but into silence…

Or when she moves with her wide paint brush onto the Sikhs,

and how they give their children sugar before bed…

Tsk, tsk…

I don’t tell her that I give my children Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast,

and that I’m an irregular flosser,

because I might get tossed about,

in low talking,

with her other patients…

I have this Whitey and you wouldn’t believe what she…

She made me a tooth to replace the one that got hit,

by a tap shoe,

on the day of my first communion,

by my godfather’s son,

after I threatened,

to kick him,

in the nutsack…

The kind of godfather who found it funny to tickle ’til it hurts,

in the dark,

while he told stories about leprechauns,

and pots of gold…

This tooth reflects cosmetic genius,

so I won’t take my business elsewhere until straw number three…

Today her dental hygienist told me,

while I watched sports on the television mounted in the ceiling,

I’m just going to finish polishing you up,

give you a quick floss,

and then you’ll be a free woman…

I told her,

You’re doing very noble work…

She was surprised…

She said that no one had ever said that before…

I said,

I couldn’t do what you do…

And you do it with such special care…

Alain Vigneault sees potential…

Obviously he’s not the only one in hockey who can,

but he’s my only local example so far…

And when you can see real potential,

you don’t give up on it…

I have seen a lot of potential in my time…

I’ve seen it walking in the door,

on the first day of Kindergarten,

and I have seen it snuffed out,

by the time it walks into the door of Grade One…

Seeing potential is one thing…

Re-activating it is another thing altogether…

And that thing takes a level of awareness,

and attention,

that isn’t located in books,

or game plans…

It is located in the heart…

And kids feel it,

even when they’re twenty-six years old…

What I’d really like Dad is to borrow the car keys…

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