Once, I Was A Zombie – Wisdom Teeth Story Time

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I know what it takes to turn a human into a zombie.  I’m speaking from experience because I was dangerously close to being “patient zero.”  All it takes is a mix of laughing gas, novocaine, and getting your wisdom teeth drilled out of your jaw, and you’ll be drooling blood in a Walgreens parking lot in no time!

Patient Zero

Patient Zero

Way back in ’93, when I was in high school, my stupid wisdom teeth decided to impact themselves under my current molars.  When this happens, there really is only one option for a dentist.  They have to drill into your mouth under or above your current teeth to break apart the wisdom teeth, and then pull the shards out of the holes that were just drilled.

My mother, a former teacher, made sure that this appointment occurred during winter break, so I didn’t miss any school.  She’s a thoughtful one.  I strolled into the dentist’s office on New Year’s Eve because I shouldn’t miss school when I can miss out on festive celebrations.

We arrived at the office and for the only time in my life, I was whisked into the dentist’s office immediately.  There was no wait once I sat in the dreaded dentist’s chair either.  First, they hit me with the laughing gas.  Dazed, but not totally disorientated, they went ahead with the novocaine injections into all four sides of the back of my mouth.  After my mouth was sufficiently numb, it was time to work.

I don’t really remember that much of the surgery except for the fact that I could feel warm blood pooling in the back of my throat.  In my drug induced state I also thought I smelled something burning when they drilled into my teeth.  That could be wrong.  Maybe the dentist or dental hygienist was on a smoke break before it was time to work on me.  I know the laughing gas had some effect on my cognitive abilities.  I had my eyes closed during the procedure and to keep my mind occupied, I tried to count how many people were in the room by the tone of their voice.  I got up to three when I had a revelation. Hey, I have eyes.  I can open them and see how many people are in here.

After who knows how much time, they stuffed some cotton balls in my mouth and sent me on my way.  My only instructions were to keep biting down on the cotton balls, and don’t spit.  I know there’s plenty of salty jokes I could work in this story right about now, but I’ll just move on…

On the way back home, my mother stopped at Walgreens to pick up some pain killers.   I was glad she decided to stop right away, because the novocaine was wearing off.   As I sat in the car, waiting for my mother to return, I could feel my pulse in my jaw, but what was even worse was, the cotton balls were saturated with blood and saliva.  The blood started to leak into my mouth.  I remembered that I wasn’t supposed to spit, but swallowing the pool of blood that was rising above my tongue was not an ideal solution.

I was left with only one option to rid myself of the rising tide of bloody saliva.  I stepped out of the car, walked between two mini vans, to give myself some cover, and scanned the area for any pedestrians.  Then, I leaned my head over and let the blood and spit drool out of my mouth.  The deep red viscous substance oozed onto the frozen concrete.  It took so long for all the blood to fall out that I didn’t notice a couple approach.  Before I could shut my mouth and turn away, they saw me.

Pale white face, glazed eyes, hunched over body, with a stream of blood pouring out of my mouth, I looked like the undead.  Thankfully, they didn’t scream.

Story Time – Don’t Take Your Kids to Fancy Restaurants

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You know what’s worse than sticking a fork into your own eyeball?  Taking three kids, ages four, six, and seven to a sit down restaurant.

We recently went  on a mini-vacation.  When we arrived at the hotel, my immediate thought was, hooray, we get to eat out for dinner.   There was a Taco Bell right next to our hotel, but we thought we should take the kids out to a nicer restaurant.  Right across the street was the Olive Garden.  My wife, Lisa, and I thought that the kids would love it there.  Salad, breadsticks, pasta.  These are all things that the kids think are delicious.

I don't think they like their food.

I don’t think they like their food.

Unfortunately, our three children were not impressed.  First, they didn’t like the salad.  Included in an Olive Garden salad is a peperoncini, which is a pickled hot pepper.  My four year old, Ivan the Terrible, bit into a peperoncini.  He obviously didn’t expect it to be hot because immediately after the juice hit his tongue he started howling in pain.

Yet another reason why my children were irritated with our choice of restaurant was we had to wait for the food to come out.  The salad and breadsticks didn’t do much for them, so they proceeded to whine about having no food.  The seven year old, Bob the Builder, kept repeating, “They’re way faster at McDonalds.”

Finally, the food arrived, but yet again, our children were disappointed.  We gave them all some calamari, and they didn’t take to it as much as we thought they would.   Lisa then made the mistake of telling our kids that calamari is actually squid.  “Eew, gross,” my six year old daughter, The Flower Child, complained.  The Flower Child hated her lasagna too.  She told my wife, “It’s not good like the lasagna you make, Mommy.”

I loved the food.  Since the kids didn’t eat that much, I was plowed through my plate and then theirs too.  Everything was great in my book until I got the bill.  That’s when I decided that taking the kids out to a nicer restaurant was a bad idea.  Food for five at the Olive Garden is a heck of a lot more expensive than eating fast food.

– Dave

What about your experiences taking kids out to eat at a nice place.  Did it go well?  Any horror stories?  Please share!

My Kids Play Dirty – Soccer Story Time

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I’m too competitive.  It’s something I have come to accept, and unfortunately this trait of mine is rubbing off on my children.  Here’s my story… This weekend, my three children challenged me to a soccer game.  We set up two goals in the backyard and started playing.  The first one to five goals would be declared the winner and grand champions of the soccer universe.

Get off me kids!

Get off me kids!

My oldest son, Bob the Builder, is seven.  He is ultra competitive, so I knew this would be a battle.  If he loses, he starts crying.  Then again, when I lose, I cry too.  He’s kind of like his father that way.

Quickly, I busted out to a two to nothing lead.  When I play, I play for keeps.  YOU KNOW IT!  No little crew of pip squeaks are going to keep me down.  Bob recognized that he had to change his strategy, or this game would be a rout.  He huddled up with The Flower Child, my five year old daughter, and Ivan the Terrible, my three year old son.

Bob’s plan was devious and brilliant.  Immediately after the huddle broke, The Flower Child sprinted right at me.  She then jumped up and gave me a big bear hug.  I put her down because Bob the Builder was coming to shoot on goal, but The Flower Child clung to my leg leaving me completely immobile.  Bobo scored!

The next time down, Bob sent The Flower Child and Ivan the Terrible to grab my legs.  Bob scored again.  The game was tied 2 – 2.

The rest of the game involved me dodging the munchkins, while trying to score goals and keep Bob from scoring.  When the score was tied four to four, things got intense.  As The Flower Child and Ivan the Terrible chased me, I would snatch them before they could cling to my legs, and I would toss them out of the way.  They didn’t get discouraged at all, and Ivan started diving at my ankles.  I tripped eluding Ivan’s attack, and then The Flower Child jumped on my back as I was trying to get back up.  Bob saw his window of opportunity and scored the winning goal.

Bob celebrated the victory by joining his brother and sister.  They all jumped on me repeatedly as I rolled around in the grass crying.

– Dave

How about you?  Are you competitive?  Do you play fair, or do you look for that edge, even if you’re cheating?


Nicknames – Why I’m Tiefsa

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When I write an article here, it says my name is “tiefsa” at the top of the post.  Obviously, that’s just a nickname.  Let’s get to the origins of this handle.

Your nickname is Lips

Your nickname is Lips.


In college, I had weird roommate once.  He was a complete and total idiot, but wicked awesome at the same time.  For the sake of this article, let’s call him Wally, because that’s his name.

My last name is Tiefenthaler – pronounced TEEF – IN – TALL – ER.  This long German name of mine always got shortened by my friends to Tief.

Wally always added an “s” to everyone’s name.  If you were Bob, you were “Bobs” If you were Lucas, I guess you were still Lucas, but you get the point.  Another one of Wally’s verbal tics was he said, “aaah,” when he couldn’t think of what he wanted to say.  I lived with him, and he constantly would ask me things.  It would sound like this.

“Tiefs, aaah.  Whatcha doin’?”

“Hey, Tiefs, aaah.  Did you eat my beef jerky?”

“Tiefs, aaah.  Check out these ostrich skin boots.  Aren’t they sweet?”

A cross-country teammate of mine picked up on the way he said my name, and this teammate started calling me Tiefsa.  Then everyone else on my college cross-country team called me “Tiefsa” too.  And there you have it.

Just for fun, here’s a list of the nicknames I’ve had throughout the years.  Technically, some of these are “monkiers” which are nicknames that you give yourself.  In my defense, I was a DJ, and I had to give myself a title for each different job.


Little Tief – My nickname in high school because my older brother is the original Tief.

Stinky Dave – I’d rather not share how I got that one.

Tiefsa – Read the story above. Stop scrolling down so fast!

Colonel Decker – My DJ name at WRST, the college radio station at UW-Oshkosh.

Lushious Dave – I also hosted a radio talk show in college, and originally I called myself Vicious Dave.  This got switched to Lushious Dave since I liked to have a drink or two back in the day.

Diamond Dave – When I worked at this boat shop, the lead mechanic called me Diamond Dave, but he said it so cool.  You know how people hollered, “Norm!” in Cheers.  He would shout, “Diamond Dave!” whenever I walked in the shop.

Dave the Love Slave – This was my DJ name when I worked at a night club.  My wife doesn’t like to admit it, but the first time I saw her was at this night club.

Mr. T – That’s what the students call me now at school.  It’s sad, but most of them have no idea who the original Mr. T is.

How about you?  What’s your nickname, and how did you get it?  Sharing is caring.

– Dave