How Do You Self-Publish a Book? (62/365)

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I’m serious.  How do you do it?  I’m looking into this option right now for my first effort, and my head’s about to explode.

Does it need to be edited by a professional?  What about proofreading?  What does a copy editor do compared to a proofreader or an editor?  How much money should I spend on this option?

Should you get a professional cover?  What size will your cover be?  Who designs high quality covers?  How much should you pay?  What cover looks the best?  What looks the worst?


Here’s my three efforts, and I’m not sure I like any of them.  I think I need someone to combine covers one and two together because I want the reader to see the illustrations, but I also want the reader to know his name is O.K.

How do you format it?  Should I release it just as an electronic book?  Should I print several copies and sell it myself?  What are the advantages of printing it on demand?  How many can I expect to sell?  What programs are the best for formatting the book?  How do you format the interior of the book?  Should I make an audio version?

What will the target audience like?  The book is for middle grade students, but I think it has universal appeal, so how can I market it as a Middle Grade/YA/Illustrated/Realistic Fiction/Comedy.

Speaking of marketing, what strategies work?  Should I target librarians?  Should I contact book bloggers?  How can I sell to the YA audience?  What should I do on social media?  Will other people help me market it?  How can I help facilitate spreading the message?  Word of mouth works best, so I’ve heard, but how can I get that ball rolling?

Social media is a large component of letting people know the book exists, but what site should I focus on?  Is Goodreads the perfect group to target?  Should I focus on social media that a younger demographic uses?  Do people take selfies as they are reading a book on Instagram?  Should I Tweet about it?  I don’t want to spam my Facebook friends, but I’d like them to know about the book.  How do I do this in an appropriate way?

To those who have self-published, you are amazing.  I hope to join your ranks soon.  I just have a few questions that I need to work through first.

Am I Hurting The World or Helping It? (57/365)

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I’m really not sure if I am helping the world or hurting it.  Before I begin with my personal analysis, when I say “the world” I really mean humanity and the Earth.  Am I helping out humanity and the Earth with my lifestyle?  I think it’s a great question to ask of oneself.  Think of the world as a giant bucket with some water in it.  Are we a bucket dipper, meaning we take things away and are bad for the world, or are we a bucket filler, adding more good to the world?

On the way home from my job, I’m a middle school teacher, I was listening to a conservative radio show talk host.  He was talking about how a high school French teacher made her students do an assignment on conservation.  I won’t get too much into the details, but basically, the host was ripping this teacher a new one.  Yes, the teacher had her heart in the right place, but the execution of her idea was flawed.  However, the radio show host is most definitely hurting the world, not only by what he says, but also in his view of the world.  He’s a bucket dipper.  Basically, he said, we should consume as much as we want because we can.  I know that’s wrong.  Just because we can do something doesn’t make it right for the world.

But what about me?  I’m not perfect.  Far from it.

So, I made up three categories where I’m going to judge if I am helping the world or hurting it.


That’s supposed to be a picture of the Earth.  I’m from the western hemisphere.  West Side!  Back to the story.

Consumption of Goods 

PRO – I recycle most of the bottles, cans, and paper products I consume, but probably not everything that I could.  I made a little vegetable garden in our backyard, and grow lots of potatoes, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and onions.  Our family eats it all up, but I’d say all together they provide enough food for maybe two out of the 365 days in the year.

CON – We’ve built a house.  That used up a lot of materials from the Earth.  I live in Wisconsin which means we burn off a lot of natural gas to heat our home.  My wife and I both own cars that aren’t hybrids and drive a significant distance to get to work everyday.  It’s pretty safe to say, my carbon footprint is rather large.  I haven’t done anything to our home like adding geothermal heat, solar panels, or wind turbines.  When I purchase food, some things I buy are organic, but the majority isn’t.

OVERALL =  D- grade for my consumption of goods.  My veggie garden saved me from a failing grade.

Professional Life

PRO – Specifically, I am a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher.  On a basic level, I teach students how to read and write, but my ultimate goal is to help students become critical thinkers.  The school district I work in performs well, but I think that’s just a product of the environment.

CON – To make a bigger impact, I should probably teach in a school that needs more positive male role models.  I’d better serve the world by teaching in Milwaukee instead of the suburbs.


Family and Community

I’m married and I have three children.  My wife is a high school math teacher, and my children are all in Elementary school.

PRO – So far, my wife and I have managed to stay out of jail, and my children aren’t much trouble at their school.  I’m projecting here, but I imagine my children will all become productive members of society.

CON – It would probably be better for the world if my wife and I had only one child, seeing as we wouldn’t be using up as much resources.  My wife and I thought that wouldn’t be fair to our first child because he should have people to play with.  However, we think we’re good people, and we will hopefully do a good job raising our children so they can grow up to help out the world more than they hurt it.  We aren’t very active in the community outside of me being a T-Ball coach and a soccer coach for the teams my children play on.  I’ve only kicked the soccer ball and drilled a kid in the face a few times.  They were accidents, I swear!

OVERALL = C   This one is hard to say.   I think it is up to others to judge if we are good for the community or not.  Maybe I’m a real lousy coach and all the kids hate me?

I can do more.  We all can.  I’m trying to change the way I buy food, and I want to grow more vegetables next year.  Also, I’d like to look into some ways to outfit my home so it can generate some renewable energy.  Hopefully the kids I coach in my community have a good experience this year too.  I’m not going to kick the ball at kids faces anymore.  I swear!

Now, I ask you.  Are you helping the world out or not?  Are you dipping into the bucket or are you a bucket filler?  Is humanity or the Earth a better place because of you?

David Tiefenthaler Word Cloud (54/365)

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Writing a journal entry every day is a beast of a task.  I’ve been reading a book about blogging as an author by Kristen Lamb, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, and one of the things she suggests is a word cloud.  Basically, it’s a brainstorm about who I am, what I’m doing now, and where I would like to go.

David Tiefenthaler

Husband, father of three boisterous children, son to two of the best parents a child could ever have, middle child between an older brother and younger sister, extrovert, creative creator, reader, writer, author, loves to draw, illustrator, middle school teacher, dreamer, loves a good time, former athlete, amateur wood floor installer, terrible drywaller, cat lover, makes random sound effects during conversations, admirer of stand-up comedians and secretly wishes he could do that, The Walking Dead fan, collected comic books as a kid like Wolverine, The Punisher, and The Uncanny X-Men, wishes he lived on a lake, brain always running in circles, only finds peace and calm in his head when he’s fishing or when he can hold a baby, listens to techno, alternative rock, hard rock, old school rap, but not much country, loves seafood but lives in a house with no seafood lovers, hates the cold but lives in Wisconsin, favorite teams in order are Wisconsin Badgers Football, Badger Basketball, Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, and the Milwaukee Bucks, loves playing baseball, no better feeling in sports than swinging hard and hitting the ball square, cross country runner, track runner, coached high school baseball and high school track and cross country, coaches little kids soccer and t-ball, needs to workout to get in shape, Tough Mudder, anti-bully, Minecraft player, perennial flowers, little vegetable gardens, built a playground for the kids, but made the monkey bars high enough for him to cross, desperately wants to move to Hawaii, producer of several YouTube videos from running informational videos to outdoor adventures, scared of fire, hates heights, raised Roman Catholic, middle name is Thomas, needs to be in nature, wants to do some kind of survival challenge, gets bored doing the same thing for too long, taught math, social studies, chorus, biology, special education for cognitively disabled, and now teaches English Language Arts, prefers shade over sun, comfortable with moderate discomfort, balding white guy, spends too much time on social media, wants to walk into the room like a WWE wrestler when he does an author talk, the sound of a purring cat makes him smile, wants to catch a 50 inch musky, lost his wedding ring years ago and is still upset, competitor, wants to find a good group of guys to play cards with, champion level sheepshead and euchre player in college, two time fantasy football champion even though I put minimal effort into it, afraid of international travel, never been outside of North America, vacationed in Canada, Jamaica, and spent one afternoon in Mexico, allergic to ragweed like something fierce, restless, determined, committed, honorable, friendly, worker of several different jobs before teaching like bus boy, roller rink attendant, lawn boy, landscaper, janitor, video store worker, grocery shelf stock boy, corrugated cardboard box plant worker, radio station producer, night club DJ, a fan of talking on microphones, need my slippers in the winter, chips and salsa, I like to pretend I can rap at talent shows and have the video to prove it, horror films scare me so I don’t watch them, does high school math with his wife for fun, and that’s about all I can think of for now.

Here’s a picture of me with my children, because family is probably the most important thing of all for me.



I don’t really like putting my kids out there on social media or on my websites, but I love this picture of us at Al’s Run in Milwaukee.  It’s a run walk that my wife and I always take the kids to because it benefits the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Drugs Make Good People Bad and Bad People Worse (51/365)

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Drugs are bad.  I think we’ve all heard that message over and over.  My motto about drugs is this:  “Drugs make good people bad, and bad people worse.”

I live in a fairly affluent suburban/rural area about 30 miles outside of the city of Milwaukee.  Over the past five years, there has been a spike in the use of heroin.  My wife, who’s a teacher in a high school recently had a speaker visit her high school to talk about the dangers of drugs, specifically opiates.  Here’s a video she shared with me about what is going on in our county.

Now, I don’t have my head in the sand.  I know people use and abuse drugs often.  I had good friends in high school that used drugs often, and our friendships dissolved because I didn’t feel comfortable around them anymore.  Thankfully, there wasn’t a tragic ending, but those people aren’t the same people I once knew.  Drugs changed them.

Sometimes, I don’t think the media really portrays drug culture correctly.  I just came up with a movie idea that would be excellent as far as highlighting WHAT happens.  Take any teen comedy where there is a big party at the end.  The main character gets the girl in the end or the girl gets the guy.  It doesn’t matter exactly who, but at the party everyone gets what they wanted, and all is super happy.  The only added element is people are popping prescription pills and drinking.

The next morning, the main character doesn’t wake up.  He or she died because of a drug overdose.  The End.

Just imagine the movie Super Bad.  The two main characters, (the actors were Michael Cera and Jonah Hill), have this raging party, and then they go home.  They go to sleep in the basement, and the next morning, one of them doesn’t wake up.

That would be a punch in the teeth for the viewer.   I think this would work because it shows the shock of what a drug overdose or something like that really is.  The typical Hollywood plot involves this terrible downward spiral.  That happens, no doubt, but I’d really like to give the viewers that “high” where all is well.  Everything is great.  Then they get hit with reality.  No preaching. No nothing.  Just a sudden turn of events.  It probably would be awful to watch if the audience really connects with the character that dies, but that’s the point.

I Don’t Want to Spam my Facebook Friends (50/365)

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Of course, I analyze the traffic stats of my blog, like a red-tailed hawk stares at the slightest movements of grass in an open field.  That was a great simile because there is very little to no action on this blog/journal.  In my Wordpress Jetpack Site Stats I usually get about 1.5 visitors per day.

I’m tempted every day to post a link to this website on Facebook.  When I do, I get some more traffic, but I don’t think that’s polite.  I don’t want to spam my Facebook friends.  I’d like it if they would become fans of this page, but if I push the limit, I just end up as another annoying person screaming into the void.  Look at me!  Look at me!

I must remember the goal.  The goal is to improve my writing skills.  When I do, I create just amazing similes about hawks and blog traffic.  Riveting!

Remember the first Star Wars. Well, actually, it was the Episode IV: A New Hope.  The X-wing fighters were flying in a trench on the Death Star and they were going to fire these torpedo things to blow the Death Star up.  At one point, this one X-wing fighter says to the other, “Stay on target!  Stay on target!”   Yes.  I must stay on target.  I must write because I want to write, no matter who’s reading or not.


Did I mention that the pilot that was supposed to stay on target got blasted to death?  The picture above is from my second book in the O.K. series.  Otis built an X-wing fighter out of cardboard boxes.

On the bright side, this is the 50th day in a row with a journal entry for Project 365.  I’m going to try to do this thing for the whole year, and after 30 days, they say you develop a habit.  I feel like I have done that, because multiple times during the day, I’m thinking about what I should write that evening.  That’s a start!

I Wrote My Third Book! (47/365)

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I don’t feel like writing much.  I’m too busy celebrating!  I just finished the first draft of my third book!  There is much hard work to be done, as finishing the book is the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another, but the story is all there!  I’ll have to fix up my map and such.  That’s one thing I know I have to do.

Map2 2Either way, now I’m leaving this computer and having a drink.  Cheers!


The Jack of All Trades is Dead (29/365)

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As I am getting deeper and deeper into the blogging world (I’ve only been at it for a month), I’m beginning to realize that my blog is pointless.  There isn’t any real reason to keep reading it because I don’t focus on one topic.  This journal is just a collection of my inane ramblings, and that really has no place in our world of hyper specialization.  I don’t want to find a niche.  I hate the word niche.  You have to pronounce it all weird like it’s some sort of French cuisine.  Have some quiche and make sure to focus on your niche.

But, I don’t want to write about one thing every day!  I like food, but I don’t want to have to take 46 pictures of my bowl of ramen noodles while I blog about the secret splash of soy sauce I put on it.  I like sports, but I don’t want to break down the shot selection of Kobe Bryant at home games against teams with a center that is over seven feet tall.  I like traveling, but I don’t want to visit Brazil and fish for peacock bass in the Amazon River.

Wait a minute.  I actually would like to try the last one.

What I’m getting at is the Jack of all trades is dead,  or at least he doesn’t live on an internet website.  If you want attention, if you want success, if you want money, find one thing that you are good at and then do it over and over and over and over again.

Think I’m lying.  I did specialize in something for a while.  I wrote vacuum reviews for a couple of years.  I’d get a new vacuum shipped to my house every couple of weeks, I’d run a series of tests on it, write a review, make a video, and post that article.  I got paid well, and it drove me absolutely insane.  Here’s an excerpt from the review of Dyson DC41 Animal Vacuum.

The “Root Cyclone Technology” is combined with the HEPA filters to eliminate any dust from coming out of the vacuum exhaust. The particle scanner detected no dust over 0.3 microns coming out of the Ball vacuum.

Hot damn, that’s some awesome writing!  I’m raking in the page views with my great keyword selection and SEO friendly content.  Now, fork over my money.

Take that same advice and apply it to our economy.  Refine that hyper specialized skill so you no one else is as good as you.

Maybe you’re a welder.  That’s not good enough.  Maybe you’re a scuba diver.  Not specialized enough.  But if you can weld underwater, BAM!  Success.

I got a question for ya.  How’s that chicken taste?

I'm a one day old baby boy chick, and I'm about to die!

I’m a one day old baby boy chick, and I’m about to die!

You can thank the graduates of the Zen-Nippon Chick Sexting School for your juicy chicken.  At this school, a student is trained how to squeeze a day old chick and look at it’s cloaca (the chick’s private parts) and determine if it is a boy or a girl.  It sounds easy, but apparently it isn’t.  When a chick is a day old, “there are as many as a thousand vent configurations that a sexer has to learn to become competent. The job is made even more difficult by the fact that the sexer has to diagnose the bird with just a glance.” Excerpt from Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. (Affiliate Link to Amazon).

See, the females can lay eggs, and their meat is tender, so we keep those ones.  The males aren’t so nice, and their meat is tougher.  Most of those boy chicks are killed off.  Hooray for hyper specialization.  If we had to wait six weeks to look at their feathers to determine the boys from the girls, that would waste a lot of feed, because those cocks have to die right away.

Alright.  That’s enough from me.  Enjoy this YouTube video vacuum review of the Dyson DC41 Animal.  I’m the producer, and my wife is the on camera talent.

Don’t worry if you didn’t like this post.  I’ll write about something different tomorrow.

Movie Idea for Chris Rock (25/365)

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Here’s a good idea that I have for Chris Rock.  I’m not going to get around to writing this for a little while because I’m working on a different middle grade book called “The Axe” as of right now, but I wanted to jot down my thoughts quick.

Working Title: The White Standards (Not the best title, but it’s all I could think of).

Tagline: Teach the white out of them (Once again, not the best tagline, but it’s a start).

Elevator Pitch:  A liberal black teacher leaves his job at his city school and takes a job in a very conservative, predominately white high school.

Hi. I'm Chris Rock, and I want to work with Tiefsa!

Hi. I’m Chris Rock, and I want to work with Tiefsa!

Premise: Chris Rock is a high school social studies teacher in a city.  The charter school he is at closes due to mismanagement by the principal.  The principal was embezzling public funds, and the school was not performing well academically.  An old friend of Chris Rock’s learns about the school closing and contacts Chris (Let’s say his friend is played by George Clooney).

Clooney is the superintendent of a very successful public high school in the suburbs.  Because he needs the money, and because Chris Rock wants his own high school age kids to experience school in a predominately white conservative suburban school, Chris takes the job.

Here’s an example section of dialogue (Sorry if it isn’t formatted correctly, but it’s hard to do it right on the inter webs).

So you want me to teach in your school?

Yes.  That school desperately needs some different perspectives.

You know you don’t have to hire a black guy.  Just find some Asians, or Mexicans, or maybe a Canadian.

We have a teacher who is Chinese.

Let me guess.  They teach kids how to speak Chinese.

Well, technically he’s teaching Mandarin.  That’s the official language in China.

I’m so sorry for not being politically correct.  Do you have any Mexicans teaching Spanish?

No, but one of our Spanish teachers is from Columbia.

Are you sure you want me to teach Social Studies? Maybe I should be teaching Ebonics.

Once Rock starts teaching there, he immediately runs into some resistance.  The ideas he presents to the high school social studies students are too liberal.  A few of his students have parents on the school board, and they want him fired.  Also, Chris Rock’s kids aren’t adjusting well in the new school.  His kids are great students, but the white students are always bothering them with stereotypical expectations  (They think his kids should be great basketball players, love rap music, be in a gang, etc.).

Clooney supports Rock at every turn.  Clooney has kids of his own at the high school, and they become friends with Chris Rock’s children.  Rock’s daughter also starts dating Clooney’s son, to the dismay of both parents.  Towards the end of the school year, Clooney offers Rock a permanent position at the school, but Rock declines.  Instead, he pitches the idea that Clooney should start his own charter school in the city.

After much consideration, Clooney ends up resigning as superintendent and joins forces with Chris Rock.   The movie ends on the first day of the next school year at the new charter school that Clooney and Rock founded.  All of Rock’s children and Clooney’s children attend the new charter school.

Sounds hilarious, right?  I do think there would be several opportunities for levity in this movie.  I think it would fall somewhere between the drama/comedy umbrella.  So, it’s a dramedy.

If any of my three readers know Chris Rock or George Clooney, let them know of my script idea.  I wouldn’t mind working with them.  I do have one asking price.  They have to babysit my kids, so I could actually go to the movie theater with my wife to watch the movie.

The Fastest Way to a Woman’s Heart is with a New Toilet Seat

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One annoying thing about toddlers is that you have to strap a “potty seat” to your toilet when they transition from diapers to going pee and poop on the potty.  For the uninitiated, let me quickly explain a potty seat.  It’s a smaller toilet seat that snaps onto the regular sized toilet seat.  The hole, for lack of a better term, is much smaller on the potty seat so your toddler doesn’t fall into the toilet when they are doing their doody.

There is a little less than a four year gap between our oldest and youngest child, so for several years, we had a potty seat that was contantly being snapped on and popped off of the toilet.  This put an excessive amount of wear and tear on the white seat we had.  After years of putting the seat on and pulling it off, four brown spots developed on the toilet seat.  All that happened was the white paint wore off, exposing some sort of wooden composite material.  A less technical explanation would be the potty seat made it look like there were permanent poop stains on the toilet seat.

Those aren't poop stains

Those aren’t poop stains

My wife hated it.  She constantly bugged me to replace the toilet seat.  There was nothing wrong with it.  No one was getting splinters in their butt cheeks on the rubbed down spots, so I didn’t see this as a pressing issue.  This weekend, my wife ramped up the intensity of her nagging.  It was quite impressive.  Some of her best lines were, “I’m embarrassed to even have my mother over,” and “Bacteria is growing on the seat.”  She’s dead on about the bacteria growing on the seat.  The two boys spraying urine everywhere except into the toilet bowl makes sure of this.  Seeing that the nagging was getting her nowhere, my wife appealed to a stronger urge.  My wife said, “If you go to get a new toilet seat, we can stop and pick up some bagels on the way.”

After I agreed to get a new toilet seat, I realized this meant I had to remove the old one.  This was the real reason I was dragging my heels on switching the toilet seat.  I knew this would be a brutal job.  With my oldest son, Bob the Builder, serving as a plumber’s assistant, it was time to get down and dirty.

There are two flaps at the base of the toilet seat that I had to lift up to expose the screws.  Underneath that flap was a pile of crystalized urine.  I was able to get the screws loose, but there were two wing-nuts underneath the toilet lid.  Like an idiot, I reached underneath to hold them in place while I unscrewed the bolt.  My bare hands came in contact with a greenish yellow gooey substance.  The urine was somehow melting the metal.  GROSS!

Once the seat was removed, two amber colored crystalized urine spots where the lid was attached were exposed.  I had to use the flat head screwdriver to scrape this stain off because industrial strength cleaners didn’t work.  After the base of the toilet was finally cleaned off, I took the old seat and made my way to the hardware store.  My oldest son, Bob the Builder, assisted me on this journey.

I felt a little awkward carrying around the old toilet seat in the hardware store, but Bob the Builder strutted through the aisles with purpose.  He was a little man on a mission.  We located the toilet section and quickly matched our old toilet seat with a new, pristine seat exactly the same size.

When Bob the Builder and I returned home, my wife made sure we reported immediately to the bathroom.  Quickly, Bob and I installed the new seat.  My wife was beside herself with joy.  With the exception of the birth of our three children, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her happier.  The whole day she bounded around the house talking about the new magnificent toilet seat.  She celebrated as each child broke the seat in.  My daughter took the first poop on the seat.  My youngest son was the first one to lift up the seat and pee into the toilet.  My oldest son, Bob the Builder, was held in high regard because he was the one who picked out the magnificent, glowing white toilet seat.

The Sparkling Throne

The Sparkling Throne

Maybe in a new relationship, flowers, chocolate, or diamonds are the way to impress a woman.  After ten years of marriage, the fastest way to a woman’s heart is with a new toilet seat.

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.