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The Observer, June 24 

The Observer has had some close calls on the road before. Recently, though, we had one without even leaving the house.

Weekend before last, Mrs. Observer decided to head to the wilds of far North Pulaski County to visit our auntie, who has a palatial spread (and an always-welcome pool) out there in the sticks.

Spouse always stays late when she goes visiting, and coming home that Saturday night around 11:30, she was motoring through North Little Rock, following along behind another car. In an instant, the taillights she was following swerved away, and The Love of My Life was confronted by oncoming headlights.

Thinking quick, she dodged just in time. Instead of a head-on collision, the drunken fool at the wheel of the other car managed to scrape down the side of her poor little Honda, mangling a hind wheel and spinning her around in the street. As far as anyone could tell, the guy never touched the brakes until a nearby curb brought him to a stop.

No wonder. He was so drunk that he couldn't even stand for the sobriety test when the cops got there — another idiot who thought a pre-midnight beer run was more important than the lives of others.

Yours Truly doesn't want to know just how close we came to dealing with the funeral home instead of the body shop, but it sure got us thinking about these fragile lives of ours. These bodies are slight vessels in the grand scheme of things; naked, unprotected, not too much more corporeal than the souls they contain. Add to that our nearly-unique quirk for loving others — some of them more than ourselves — and it's a wonder that any of us can function at all. Even so, most of us do. We go on in the face of fear, understanding that without love there is no humanity, and that the price of love is potential agony.

The point, friends, is: Tell those you love that you love them. Do it. Do it now. Things break. They fall apart. They come at you like oncoming headlights, faster than you can make a phone call.

The Observer has always had crummy teeth. Though we brush and floss and do all the other preventative stuff that doesn't seem to prevent anything where our cranial jewelry box is concerned, our choppers keep right on in their steady march to hell. We blame genetics.

Speaking of hell, The Observer had one of our famous, Defcon 1-grade toothaches last weekend, the worst yet.

We'd had a back molar with some troubles for awhile, but hoped we could stave off getting it fixed until the bank account had a little more substance.

Obviously, we let it go too far. It went nuclear on Friday night, long after the dentist was closed — starting as an ache that soon progressed into a knife-in-jaw twist worthy of the Seventh Circle.

Pulling a John Wayne and poo-pooing the Missus' suggestions that we call one of the pricey emergency dentists in the phone book, we simply doused the tooth with loads of ice water to keep it hovering at "mind-numbingly painful" instead of "Saw IV." Problem was, once we quit drinking, it blew up again. Problem with THAT was: we couldn't sleep.

Bleary-eyed by Monday morning, we called our dentist, only to find that he was out of town.

He did, however, call in some scripts, assuring that the antibiotics and goofballs would help us out in short order. They didn't, something that only dawned on your old pal after the other dentists in town were closed, again.

Long story short: By the time we came home on Tuesday at around 1 p.m. with a big wad of gauze in our mouth and hit the hay, The Observer had been awake for 74 straight hours – a new personal record for us, even from back in our party-hardy days. Trust us when we say: things get a little "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" when you've been awake that long. Further trust us: When you've been awake for 70 hours-plus, your pillow will be the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. Yes, even more beautiful than that. And that.

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