Friday, November 16, 2007

The Silver Lining

Lois here.

Maybe you’ve heard the one about how dental practices have made astounding advances in the past decade or so. Maybe you’ve even fallen for that ‘pain free’ line they toss out with such glib cheerfulness.

But I had a root canal today and I’m here to tell you--it’s all lies. In my humble opinion (with the left side of my brain still half numb) dentistry remains in the dark ages. Instruments of torture are still strung out before one’s terrified eyes. Unfeeling practitioners still gleefully torment the unsuspecting. Moments of horror in an otherwise civilized world.

But…and here comes the clever portion of this blog…while I was sitting there, staring up the endodontist’s oversized nostrils and trying not to yank out his nose hairs, I thought of a mystery plot for a short story I promised to write. In the story…you guessed it… the endodontist is mysteriously…and probably quite painfully…killed.

Do you love it?

See? There is a silver lining to every cloud just like your mother told you. In fact, during my early days in the business…before I’d ever sold a single word…when I was gnawingly frustrated by my growing mountain of rejections, I used to give my vegetables editors’ names. Then I’d chop them up and cook them.

Anyone seeing a vengeful and perhaps demonic side of me? Or…are you just now beginning to realize the genius of my system? Huh? I’m just looking on the bright side. Seeing the glass half full. Squeezing lemonade out of the fruit of my… Well you get my drift.

Anyway, maybe you’ve recently discovered an upside you hadn’t noticed earlier? Or maybe you’ve learned to sew your own silver lining in the suit coat of life. Work with me here, people; I can’t feel my left eyeball.


Betina Krahn said...

LOL, Lois, you're a hoot! Great post. Now if only I could come up with something insightful or amusing to say. Hmmmm.
Too early, apparently.

Oh, yeah. . . I just got a copy of the book "The Secret" and while I was not overly impressed at first, I decided to sit down and give it a real chance. And it's having an impact on me. I find myself translating it into terms I am comfortable with, but I agree with much of what it says and it's making me look at my life and career and reality itself through a new lens. Guess I needed a shot of optimism and a way to link together some of the things I've been learning and pondering on my own.

That whole silver lining thing is one of life's greatest (but most underrated) truths. There is something positive (dormant, yes, but positive!)in every bad or painful situation. We usually can't see it at the time, but if we have faith and persevere, we'll discover it.

Maybe the real Secret is that we have more control over "our" reality than we know. And we can make good come out of bad things. Silver linings. I'm all about 'em.

Helen Brenna said...

I can't count how many things have happened to me through the years that seemed devastating at the time, but in retrospect were for the best. You'd think I'd have figured that out by now!

I've read we can train our brain to think in patterns much the same way we can train our muscles to learn moves of a dance, or Tai Chi, or whatever.

So there must be hope that we can get stuck in a positive thoughts process, rather than a negative one. Being delusional isn't such a bad thing, is it?

And, Lois, I'm hoping you don't have a banana at your house with Helen carved into the peel! LOL

Playground Monitor said...

Everyone calls me Little Mary Sunshine because I'm always trying to find the positive side of something. It's like the "Glad Game" in Pollyanna. Boy, that really tells my age, doesn't it.

I'm with you on the dental thing. Basically they still do dental work the same way they did it when I was a kid 50-odd years ago. Granted they don't do as many extractions these days but I honestly thought by the time I was an adult, they'd have an alternative to that damn drill. I hate dental work but go for my check-ups religiously. Heck, I even wore braces for 28 months as an adult. They only came off 18 months ago.

God bless nitrous oxide!


Michele Hauf said...

Eeewww, even reading the horrible word 'dentist' makes me want to pass out, or yeah, do harm to others.

We all have people who enter our lives who irritate, jib, and generally drive us nuts. I've learned to ask 'what are they hear to teach you'. They would be pushing your buttons, unless you have buttons to be pushed. So that helps me a lot around 'those sorts of people'.

That's my positivity for the day. Now I can go sulk before the current work in progress. :-)

Michele Hauf said...

Oh man, never type without your glasses. 'here' not 'hear'. And: They wouldn't be pushing your buttons...


lois greiman said...

I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone for not having pics of hot guys in underwear. I'll do better next time. Less introspection and murder...more, or maybe less...underwear. :)

Debra Dixon said...

Lois! Now all I can do is picture my dentist in speedoes! LOL!

Betina Krahn said...

Have I confessed this to you before? My all-time scariest, creepiest movie is called "The Dentist." Honest. I mean it. It stars Corbin Berenson as a dentist who's on the edge and loses it when he sees his wife and the pool boy together. He starts murdering people WITH DENTAL TOOLS AND PROCEDURES!!!

As somebody who has to forcefully talk herself through anything other than a routine cleaning, I found myself submerged in the victims' points of view and in full blown TERROR before the thing was over! I've since seen it again (I couldn't believe it had such an impact on me and thought I'd teach myself it wasn't so bad)and it was not much better for me the second time! Even though I knew what was going to happen and the ending.

Then I saw they made "The Dentist 2" (with Corbin again!) and I confess, I've been tempted to rent it sometime and fast forward through the gory stuff. . . but haven't been able to make myself do it yet.

Dental fear. I think it's universal!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I've probably mentioned this before, but "Marathon Man" with Dustin Hoffman features the ultimate terror scene in my book. Anyone remember your theater seat turning into a dentist's chair beneath your very derrière? I did the very thing I do the minute I seat myself beneath that horrible spotlight--grip the ends of the chair arms and do a full-body tense-up for the duration.

Betina, I've avoided "The Secret" because I'm pretty sure there isn't one. But I like what you say about the way you're using it, probably taking a different look at things you already knew but haven't been using lately. It's what 12-step programs are all about. God grant me the wisdom to get in touch with my hard-earned common sense and the courage not to be too hard-headed to use it. Take that step and silver linings about.

Lois, how soon can you get that story into print? Sounds like great reading for post-dental trauma. A nasty twinge tells me I might be in for a round of same.

flchen1 said...

Lois, so sorry about the root canal! Hope you'll be feeling better soon! In the meantime, milkshakes and chocolate mousse!!

Haven't read the Secret, but haven't heard tremendously positive reviews from people who have.

And can't wait to read about what happens to your endodontist ;)

BTW, yuck ick, blick--no images of my dentist in Speedos, please! Aack! (Maybe I need a different dentist...)

lois greiman said...

Thanks for the condolences.

I remember Marathon Man as being really traumatic too!!

Dentists are way too scary. They're like drill sergeants with power tools.

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm hearing you loud and clear on this one. Many bad things that have happened in my life have shifted into 'good' things. I think they're called unanswered prayers.
Case in point - once upon a time I pitched a story to a publisher that I'd written several books for. they loved it - but wouldn't buy it. I was devastated. Fast forward a couple of years - that same story morphed into 6 for a new publisher and put me on the NYT.
Unanswered prayers. Gotta love 'em.
Hugs on the root canal. Never had one. don't want one. Suggest lots and lots of chocolate.

lois greiman said...

I just don't see this root canal putting me on the NYTimes list, Cindy. But I'll try to think positive.