Before we talk about
the Magic Eight Ball, you have to get introduced to my cousin Timmy.  Timmy was the only son of my favorite uncle.  Timmy was about two years older than me, and when you're in grammar school, two years makes a huge difference.  He may have well has been a different species.   

Timmy was also my dad's favorite nephew.  This did not please me as a child.  Dad always brightened up when Timmy came.  Apparently, dad didn't want to see how Timmy was just "playing him".  I knew that under the guise of "Oh, Uncle Art - could I just do this for you?" was just a way for Timmy to charm him and get his way.  I was on to him from the moment I met him.  I wouldn't see Eddie Haskill on TV for years - but I already had Timmy type-cast in the role.  

Timmy would come for a visit and say things like:  "Uncle Art - can I mow the lawn for you on the riding lawn-mower?"  THIS WOULD PRACTICALLY KILL ME because dad would always give in to him.  And I, two years the younger, wasn't allowed near the riding lawn mower yet.  And while Timmy was going back and forth with the lawn-mower, what exactly was I supposed to be doing?  Studying calculus for crying out loud????  "Jerry, why don't you go play with your ball" would be the suggestion from mom or dad, seemingly oblivious to the known fact that I was SEETHING at Timmy's existence. 

All the adults thought that Timmy was a little angel, but I had met the REAL TIMMY every time the adults were out of sight.  And he was NO ANGEL!  Here's some proof...

My mom would always insist that I share my toys with Timmy when he came to visit.  But my mom also knew that before Timmy left, he would make sure that one of my favorite toys was broken.  You may be thinking - oh - that's just a coincidence, but you'd be quite wrong.  Case in point:  Jerry gets a new plastic toy guy for his birthday.  Timmy visits same day.  Mom insists that I let Timmy play with gun.  Timmy plays with it for a while but won't give it back.  Timmy then holds said gun to a floor lamp's extremely hot light bulb until toy gun melts.  Timmy laughs.  Jerry cries.  Adults shrug shoulders.  You get the gist?

The breaking of toys didn't happen SOMETIMES - it happened EVERY TIME.  It got to the point that when the announcement came that my uncle and his family were coming for a cookout or family gathering I would PLEAD with my mother to call and have them LEAVE TIMMY HOME.  I would try my best to present my case, but the verdict was always:  "Just try your best to get along."

One of my skills at an early age was learning how to hide my very best stuff in obscure places throughout the house so that NO ONE could find them.  Mom suggests that I show Timmy my new toy?  Gee mom - I can't find it!  I haven't seen it in days!  Said toy would magically reappear AFTER Timmy and his entourage went home.


In case you don't know what one is - here's your primer:  Plastic ball - filled with inky substance.  Window to see into ball.  Ask ball question (verbally or mentally), shake and turn ball so that window faces up.  Truth magically appears in the form of sayings like:  "YES"  "It is decidedly so"  "Very Doubtful" "Signs Point to Yes" "You may rely on it" and "Reply Hazy - Try Again"  

I think that the Magic Eight Ball was a birthday present of mine.  I loved it!  It had escaped being broken immediately since I had ditched it in some sock drawer for "HIS" birthday visit.  But at some point, I had relaxed my vigilance on this particular toy, and Timmy grabbed it.  At first, he/we played nicely with it.  But when it was time for him to GIVE IT BACK - he refused.  I got mad.  We did the typical kid dance of him pulling it close and then turning his back when I tried to grab it.  He would even say:  "Just one more time, then I'll give it back."  More Lies.  

Somehow, I managed to get my hands on it, and it became a tug of war between Timmy and me.  I was not letting go.  I had a STEEL WILL on getting that toy completely in my possession.  I want you to imagine the back and forth as the ball was clutched and tugged between the two of us.  And just as I pulled my hardest.....
Timmy completely let go of it.  Said Eight Ball was now flying back at my face with incredible force.  

The thing hits me right in the mouth.  PAIN ERUPTS as my permanent front tooth (left side - top jaw) breaks in half.  I spit it out and start screaming.  Timmy is laughing his maniacal laugh until the adults arrive.  "WHAT HAPPENED?" they say over and over again.  I'm pointing at Timmy who shrugs his shoulders and says that I did it to myself.  Somehow I made it through the rest of the weekend until I could see the dentist on Monday morning when it was fixed with a crown.

This is the first story about me and dental work.  The other stories could fill a book.  

Why this story this week?  One of my crowns (oh yes - I have many) got pulled out of my head this week by a FIBER GUMMY.  Yup - just another day in paradise!