NOT ONLY DO I TELL myself what I should do. My wife tells me I should do better. But it is my children who are the most demanding of all. I have two of them. One is a princess.
The other is autistic. He is seven and doesn’t speak which means he will never talk. He communicates by grunting and using the most rudimentary gestures of American Sign Language. He has yet to sign “thank you.” He rocks and “stims” constantly.
I also have two hundred consumers with whom I do dental work. In fact, it was I who crafted and fitted the last set of dentures on my beloved Uncle Seymour.
Dentistry is a tiresome and exacting vocation in which I clean and excavate the gutter that is in everyone’s mouth. I navigate torrents of blood and saliva. I withstand the stench of the last meal you ate.
Lately I have been gravitating toward the supposed Houdini strait jacket and longing for an escape.
I Googled Houdini and read the Wikipedia entry. Born in Budapest in 1894, his father a rabbi, Henry was fascinated by magic and mysticism. He cooked up an act that he performed in Europe and the States. Married a fellow vaudevillian who worked as his assistant. He was famous for escaping out of seemingly impossible situations: from a web of chains and locks, a sealed giant milk can, a Chinese water torture tank. He made some movies. One stunt documents him going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. He believed he was a medium who could communicate with lost spirits. He died of complications from a McGill University student sucker punching him.