ira c

hung up

i was attending dental school during the late 70's and was then driving a gold (although my wife called it piss-yellow) 1968 camaro. it had taken me months to convince my father to buy it and it was special because it was the first car my family owned that had air conditionong. i remember the first extra hot day of the summer, we drove it and sweated merrily along as usual until we arrived at our destination; only then remembering that we could have closed the windows and put on the a/c.

at dental school, i had pulled up in front of the clinic as i usually did. as i was parallel parking, the shift lever for the 2 spped powerglide transmission came loose and would not do anything to the transmission as it slid back and forth uselessly in it's slot. undaunted, i slid under the car and ascertained that a retaining pin connecting the shift lever to the internal workings of the transmission had failed. i had to come up with a way to get my car at least to a shop without having to call an expensive towtruck.

as i looked around for something i could use to connect the two parts together, i noticed the pants that we had picked up from the dry cleaner on the way to school. i had basically grown up in a dry cleaning store, as my father had owned one since the end of world war II. i had been responsible for the maintenance of the dry cleaning machine and had always been good with my hands....hence the choice of dental school. i had my wife carefully remove the pants from the hanger and hand the hanger to my now black, greasy hands. i managed to align the parts and slip the hanger between them, looping it a couple times for extra strength. bingo! it worked!

now the only problem was my hands. they were covered with black grease and i was due to see a patient in only 10 minutes. this was in the days before we wore gloves, so had to get my hands spic and span a.s.a.p. fortunately, it was a dental school, and so i went into the laboratory and grabbed a few handfuls of pumice, which we used to polish dentures. i went into the bathroom and scrubbed my hands with a combination of pumice and soap until they were clean. i like to think that my touch was extra sensitive that day, because i had surely removed several layers of skin along with the grease.

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