September 19, 2018

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan


The small crowd gathered in front of Jenkin’s drugstore waiting for it to open had found a source of amusement, and as I approached, I could see that the fun seemed to revolve around a neighbor and friend of mine, John Wetzel. For some reason, John was holding his hand to his face, and I at first thought he must be trying to dull the pain of a toothache, but I shortly learned different.

It seems that, unknown to most of us, John wears a bridge, and, on a recent trip to Fort Lauderdale, one of the two teeth on the bridge fell off. He reattached it with carpenter’s glue hoping his dentist could complete a more permanent job. But that gentleman was himself on vacation, so when at home the tooth fell out again, John glued it back in place using super glue and managed to glue his finger to the tooth in the process.

He was hoping Mr. Jenkins had something that would work to free his finger Ben Cramer’s voice rose above crowd noise, “I’ve got a great idea, John, We’ll scout up a boulder, then you can take off your clothes, put your fist under your chin, and pose au natural’ just like the guy in Rodin’s “The Thinker! We’ll make you famous fellah!”

John had to laugh, both at the allusion and his own plight.

“Hey, if John’s gonna pose, we need an original title,” said Wally Madison, “How about, “The Adherent?” The crowd was enjoying itself.

“John, the only thing out of your mouth in the last thirty minutes has been that tooth. Did it take the bite out of your conversation?” asked Dane Mangum, wryly. “No Dow Jones averages? No market correction notices? You know, it’s hard to put much stock in the sudden reticence of an up-till- now loquacious stockbroker!”

“Kind of gives new meaning to the old description of somebody stuck on himself, doesn’t it!” Kitty Kilpatrick was not to be outdone by the men.

Now group sentiment turned to a problem-solving mode, and suggestions on how John could free his finger without also loosening the tooth began “I’ll tell you what,” said Stony Summerall, “several of us will take your arm and jerk!”

“If we’re gonna do that, give him a shot of Tequila,” said someone.

“Before or after?” a voice asked.

“Both!” Came a chorus of voices, but in the following laugh came the restoration of judgment. “We can’t be jerking him around, we might jerk out the whole bridge!”

“How about a strong solution of boric acid applied with an eye dropper?” said one.

“Well, we don’t exactly want to take the enamel off the false tooth, do we? So, maybe we ought to at least use a weak solution.” said another.

“If you two amateur chemists don’t mind, I’ve got the perfect fix. We’ll use my new chipping saw, and if that don’t work, I have a hammer drill that will.” Standage Amboy was the picture of confidence..

Talk about using a baseball bat to pick your teeth,” retorted his wife Myrna, “Leave it to you to find new uses for those power tools you’re always buying! Do you remember the time you nailed your hand to the ceiling joist in our house?”

Of course, Myrna’s comments were more a matter of expressing a vexation with Standage’s willful spending than a help in the present situation. Nor was anyone surprised at the outburst. She was known for lying in wait for such public opportunities.

Remedies ranging from vinegar to sugar water, and from tooth paste to canker medicine were suggested, and for a time a sizable number settled on the use of a water pic utilizing equal parts purified water and hydrogen peroxide. They agreed that when the drug store opened they would urge Mr. Jenkins to try this method, but just about that time John’s hand came away from his tooth leaving little more than the residue of the glue itself and two layers of skin. Saliva had done the trick.

The crowd reacted in frustrated disappointment. The thing had had a near circus-like cast to it, one to be savored and enjoyed. Its sudden ending was tantamount to attending a Shakespearian tragedy that stops in act IV. There was no reconciliation, no justification, no opportunity for heroic redemption.

Shortly, people just melted away, and, to make matters worse, most couldn’t remember the mission that called for them to be there in the first place!

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