Teeth aching for a month or two
haven't been to a dentist for probably ten years
I take care of my pearlies, though.
35 years ago my brother
the Vietnam vet dental tech
bloodied my gums
showed me the contents of the spaces between my teeth
as a wedding present.
I have not missed flossing a single day
flossing is a fucking religion to me.
I also use one of those pulsating toothbrushes
rinse with organic minty stuff from Whole Foods.
When my mouth started bothering me,
I thought ok,
the gods are not happy with me—
they've sent this pain to remind me that I am mortal.
Internet research matched my symptoms:
That is somehow more bearable than thinking
my oral luck had run out.
Treatable by aspirin and saline.
And it buys me time to revisit a task at work.
I am a self-made wage slave
at my present location in a small company
started with slicing up note paper
my colleague needed half-sheets with logos
graduated to verifying light bulb wattages
and front-load washer model numbers
setting print areas in Excel
redefining Invoices in Quicken.
formatting tables of contents in Word—
turned full time
gained a 'mentor' as well as a 'supervisor'
the first half my age
the second more empathizer than overseer
admin assist has remained at one
the rest of the company has gone from 13 to 26
doubled and shows no signs of stopping.
There seems to be a direct correlation
between this surging in staff
and the ebbing of my career as an actor.
They have become habituated
to the sight of someone in the far corner of Admin
to whom they may complain
there are less than presentable towels in the bathroom and kitchen
'we could use something nicer'
or the mailing must move out today
'I know, I said end of the week—
but Thursday would be better'.
I am head of Production on proposals
another way of saying
bind this pile of paper with wires,
make sure it doesn't go Page 3-4-2-5-1
I am the Voice on the answering machine
and must re-record the staff listing
when a new person comes on board
this takes knowing how not to fuck up
an entire insane phone system.
As unofficial coordinator of staff birthday parties
when I unintentionally asked one of the celebrants
if she wanted to make a cake for her own happy Occasion.
Convulsed with work
15 hour days and nightmare deadlines…
teeth could wait.
The pain in my head
put Group Dental Coverage back on top.
Somehow my lack of enthusiasm let it slip
unnoticed to the bottom of the pile.
How to manage my colleagues—
convince them spending some of their
hard-earned wages on their mouths is a good thing
that it should commence at this instant—
and get all my ducks in rows that they
as engineers and statisticians can value.
Clearly not by auditioning.
Yet that is precisely what I have done.
Almost a year of no action on stage and I'm back in it.
The play was too new to be
available ahead of time.
No chance for anything but a quick google
character run-downs and plot references
Director 'loved' my audition
(I'm hungry enough to buy that)
I'm in, I've agreed.
Getting cast is almost always the sucker punch.
Already got a scene or two in my head just from the callback.
I can run with that,
got the pictures going up on the screen in 3D, man.
Costume ideas, bits I could try.
Fear of others in the cast fucking it up for us all
(not me—I wouldn't do that.)
director's an actor, too—good!
hasn't directed anything for 20 years—not so good
has an immoderate laugh—
six weeks of rehearsals
I could learn to dig that laugh