Musings on Mormonism

A personal loss, and other assorted happenings

A piece of me died yesterday. Yes, I am talking about my lower left molar. After a year of neglecting my damaged tooth (out of lack of funds and insurance), it finally started to really hurt this past Monday, thus necessitating an urgent trip to the dentist. Now, I count it a matter of divine providence that one of my home teachers* just happens to be a dental student who was able to connect me with a fellow student who was available to help me out on short notice for a reasonable price**. Well, as it turns out, I need a root canal, which they started yesterday by removing most of the soft tissue in my tooth (the technical term used was “scoop out”), and temporarily capping the gaping hole until we can schedule another appointment. I left feeling relieved, groggy and ugly (anesthesia and lying at an unusual angle for hours leave you feeling and looking like Quasimodo), and very grateful. I do have regrets, however:

1) I wish I had somehow addressed this sooner so that I could keep my tooth alive (a root canal basically kills all living tissue in the tooth and turns it into a dried out husk which retains its chewing ability). I prefer my body parts to be living, thank you very much.

2) I wish I had had some way of watching what they were doing in there! It’s not every day you get to see the inside of a tooth – I wonder what the nerves look like?

In other news, I took the GRE on Monday, and it went so much better than the first time (also, it was thankfully after the GRE and not before that my tooth started hurting). It leaves me much more competitive for getting into the grad schools I’m looking at, George Washington being my top pick. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball on applying to Georgetown, whose deadline is very soon – it occurred to me this week that they require 3 letters of recommendation, and I only have 2. Boooo!  Even now, I’m debating whether to try and find an emergency recommender to make my application complete. On the other side of the debate, however, I’m trying to console myself with thoughts like “you didn’t want to go there anyway”, or “it’s really expensive there”, or my personal favorite, “the location is really inconvenient”. Still, I am no quitter, and I have a hard time just rolling over and accepting defeat (admittedly largely self-inflicted defeat).

Anyway, one more topic, and then I’ve got to get going on those grad school apps. Last night, I was quite fortunate to go to a Rock Band 2 party, and it was awesome! Family, you’d better believe I played “Carry On Wayward Son”, although with the throng of people there, I didn’t get a chance to try some old favorites (“That means no Rush,” Bob nods knowingly). The emergence of Rock Band and Guitar Hero have been a big boon in my life; they channel my nerdy love of  music and video games into an outlet which is not only more socially acceptable but also tons of fun! But you know, it also gets me thinking about whether party games like these are merely “childish things” which I will have to give up when I eventually get married and start a family. My money is on “yes”, and if so, I’m certainly willing to do it. Nevertheless, I often wonder how marriage will affect my lifestyle, specifically my approach to fun (which I think is more important to me than most – as discussed previously, it is an important recreative outlet for me). But who knows? Until I have to cross that bridge, I guess I’ll continue to enjoy Rock Band parties.

One more thing: I’m unable to attend the Sunstone Symposium this weekend (Sunstone is an organization which does scholarly work on Mormon thought and culture – not officially affiliated with the Church, but at least intriguing to guys like me). If anyone reading this attended the symposium or has thoughts about Sunstone, I’d like to hear what you have to say. I mean, Sunstone ain’t General Conference, but I’m interested to know what thoughtful people in the Church are discussing (I’m guessing I would have a lot to disagree with, but also surely many points of agreement). Also, I really wanted to see the documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons; perhaps I’ll have to wait until it’s on DVD 😦 

Like an ugly Senate bill***, I’m attaching one more thing to this post – a video of “Limelight” by Rush. They rock!

*for those unfamiliar with the LDS Church, home teachers are the first line of support and assistance provided for each family, even families of one like mine.

**as an aside, have you ever noticed how a larger than normal proportion of dentists are really, really nice and pleasant people? A profession that requires digging around in people’s mouths must favor a certain easygoing, pleasant temperament. It gratefully makes dental work relatively less unpleasant.

***According to a friend of mine who works for a Congressman, the recent stimulus bill for which none/almost none of the Republicans voted contained lots of pet projects attached, such as spending $60 million to re-sod the National Mall. I suppose it needs to be done some time, but $60 million, in a stimulus bill? It will stimulate the sodding industry, I suppose.


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  1. * Elliott says:

    Congrats on the GRE! I know how much a relief it was to get that competitive MCAT score and know that I wouldn’t have to go through the test again.

    And I say go for Georgetown, if you can get the recommender in time…for no other reason that its in the same city and will make interviews, etc. convenient.

    What grad programs are you looking into? (Email me if you want to keep it private.)

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Elliott says:

    P.S. I was just thinking about your subtitle (which I like I lot) “Where faith and reason are friends.” Have I referred you to my former professor’s blog? He just put up a GREAT article that addresses reason and faith and fundamentalism:

    (I was halfway through it when YOUR post came through my reader, so its on my mind right now…and I’d be curious your take on this subject, as you and I have different views on a lot of things…but have a lot of mutual respect.)

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  3. * Jessica says:

    So you posted this to make me feel bad about not seeing the dentist huh? It was on my list of things to do for the year 2008! But time and money just didn’t push me there. Now Eric has been on my case to get William in for a cleaning. But seriously who wants to force a 2 year old to sit still while someone sticks their hands and other pointy things in their mouth?! So yet again I have “going to the dentist” on my to do list. Maybe I’ll remember your story and make more of an effort thise year. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  4. * Eleesha says:

    My favorite line: I prefer my body parts to be living, thank you very much.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  5. * Tammy says:

    Sorry about your tooth! Sorry about the Georgetown deal. I’ll write a letter for you =)

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  6. * Tammy says:

    I just realized my comment was pretty sorrowful…=)

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  7. * Bryce says:

    Wow, so many comments, so little time! Elliott, I intend to email you back. Also, it’s sobering to think that we have “different views on a lot of things” – I bet we agree on more in substance, but differ mainly in intensity and style. Hm.

    Jess, my story was not motivated by the ill will of having everyone experience painful trips to the dentist 🙂 Truthfully, I’d still be avoiding it now if it hadn’t suddenly become a problem. You’re right, no 2 year old wants pointy things in their mouth, no matter how nice the dentist is, but on the other hand, William is such a cute kid that it would cheat the rest of humanity not to preserve his beautiful smile. Life’s full of dilemmas, huh?

    Eleesha, I’m glad you liked that line. However, a veterinarian friend of mine pointed out that actually we have lots of dead stuff on us: hair, nails, outer layers of skin, etc. I can’t tell if that’s consolation or not 🙂

    Tammy, I appreciate your offer! If they knew that you have an honorary doctorate in awesomeness, your letter would carry a lot of weight in my application!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  8. * Emily E says:

    Oh Bryce… if you only knew the extent of the pork projects. Talking about the stimulus bill makes me hungry for sweet pork sandwiches.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  9. * Bryce says:

    Mmmmm, sweet pork sandwiches…..

    You know, Emily, I was actually reading the bill yesterday (I stopped after skimming the first 100 pages or so), and, while I didn’t see the part about Planned Parenthood, the proposed spending targets which I did see looked pretty reasonable on the surface (the actual expenditures proposed sounded decidedly less reasonable, however). It seemed like a lot of infrastructure-type spending, as well as spending on more luxury-type things like parks and conservation. Frankly, I was expecting more extravagance. Still, it did not seem very focused or well-planned – really, it had the look of a shopping spree: “Hey, that looks good, let’s get 10. That? Well, I don’t strictly NEED it, but it would be good to have around, so why not?” It will be very interesting to see how and if the gov’t is held accountable for this spending, and to see if it actually helps the economy.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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