Well, in about six and a half hours, I'll be experiencing my first ever surgery. Intravenous stuff goin' all up in my arm, electrodes stuck on my trunk, reciting up to "E", maybe "F" before I pass out. An then they're gonna cut my head open and pluck out all four of my crookedy wisdom teeth. Funny that wisdom teeth should try to come in sideways. I gotta say it; I'm a little noivuss about this whole scalpel and pliers business. When they start going over all the possible flubs, bloopers, and too-hot-for-TV accidents that might happen as I lie oxygen-drunk under a towering pavilion of dental enthusiasts, it's starting to sound less and less like the Vicodin-motivated skip across the park I'd been hoping it would be. They could puncture through to my sinus, they tell me, and I could have snot dripping out of a hole in my mouth. They could puree my nerve-endings, and I could lose all the sensation in my jaw and lip. Excuse me, but Mister Philip Jones Hart has some out-making to do before those crooks take his feelings away. And then there's always the risk of cardiac arrest and death.
My surgeon is a hairy Republican. I ask him how long till I can smoke and he says "oh, about fifty years". Ha-ha-ha very clever, but really now, how long I says to him. "Oh, about fifty years." This wiseguy thinks he's gonna lord his homefield advantage and his little plaque that says he's certified to put holes in people's skulls over me; like I need a doctor to tell me smoking's bad, you should quit. So now, because this jokester won't gimme an answer all straight and hippocratic-like, I gotta turn to a less scholarly pool of knowledge on the subject: my friends. I guess I could smoke through my nostrils?
I gotta eat a lotta mashed potaters and applesauce in the next coupla days, and after that I can't drive till I'm off the opiates. Not that I'd wanna drive anywhere lookin' like a big pink chipmunk with a cigarette hangin' out of his nose. I dunno if I should go back up to Minneapolis, where hardly anybody knows me, where I don't gotta impress anyone, and I don't hafta leave the house for days, or if I should stick around be bored with my mom and be a swollen, drugged-up chump in front of my friends. Some of 'em I don't know if I'll ever see 'em again, and I don't want this to by their last impression of the old codger. Of course, I could die this morning and not have to worry about any of that. If that's the case, well color me deceased. N' if I don't make it, all you folks mourn me real good, hear? In the likely event I do pull through, though, I'll likely be back and eager to write under the influence of prescription cures.