On the Okey Dokey Trail: A Smart-Aleck Perspective On the Give and Take of Life.
On the Okey Dokey Trail is a collection of humorous stories about relationships, work, parenthood, plastic surgery, bad car karma, photography, weed, golf lessons, serendipity, popular culture and its connection to tarot cards plus so much more.
This book WILL NOT help you find or keep a love relationship, grow the perfect rose or child, make dinner, surmount life’s inexplicable tragedies, fix a car or parking ticket, reinvent yourself, have a career in Hollywood or extract the cream filling from a cupcake without it crumbling.
This book WILL make you laugh and offer a perspective on all the above and whatever life serves up.
We are so sure of our ability to entertain you that in this one-time limited offer we will guarantee 1-3 LOL’s or your money back, no questions asked. Well, we may question if you have ever had a sense of humor, but it will be largely rhetorical. We would never post your name anywhere, pinky-swear.
I've worked with writers (TV) throughout my career. It looked like so much fun that I thought I'd give it a try.
So far all of my early reviews (Amazon) have been 5 star, and some are even from people I do not know.
In case you're considering a little plastic surgery...
On The Okey Dokey Trail: A Smart-Aleck Perspective on the Give and Take of Life
MS. POTATO HEAD GETS A NEW NOSE
After having recently completed some major home improvements, I decided I would be next. I’m not sure who needs more maintenance, a (more than) fifty-year-old house or a (more than) fifty-year-old woman. At any rate, it was time to put myself in the fix-it shop. I had a few things on my list mostly from the neck up, but I was open to suggestions.
First priority was my nose. I couldn’t breathe. I saw this as a metaphor. I had broken it sixteen years earlier when my then two-year-old daughter hurled her 8-ounce bottle filled with milk at me. She swore it was an accident. I’ve never liked milk. After this incident, I now had a badly deviated septum coupled with age related cartilage disintegration. My nose was barely functional. To add insult to injury, my nose traveled east to west from the middle of my face. Since the prizefighter look was not one I was going for, without a doubt, Ms. Potato Head would have to get a new nose. Check box #1.
Next on my list: my teeth, specifically my two front teeth. Over the years, they began to overlap. Again, this was not a particularly good look. While the thought of adult braces wasn’t terribly appealing, worse was the constant refrain I began to sing to myself: “… all I want by Christmas are my new front teeth.” I had to get that stupid ditty out of my head. Check box #2.
It was late August to early September when I decided to check both boxes at the same time. I figured by December I’d be good to go. After all, I had been consulting with experts—kids with braces and young girls who recently had nose jobs. I had also planned a family trip to London over Christmas, so time was of the essence. Piece of cake, I could get this done, or so I thought.
I made an appointment with my ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) to move forward quickly. Imagine my surprise when my long-time ENT said, “You’re going to need a plastic surgeon, I wouldn’t touch this.” “Oh great … and where am I going to find a plastic surgeon in LA?” I was trying my very best to charm him into changing his mind. “Hello, the N in ENT … did you miss that day in med school?”
He just ignored me and went on to explain how it would likely be a three-hour procedure with some grafting necessary. I didn’t really stop to think deeply about the details he described. I was stuck on the word procedure. What exactly happened to the word operation? He gave me what seemed like two hundred names and started to outline the benefits of one over another. At the rate we were going, I didn’t think I’d get out of his office by Christmas; let alone get the operation done in time. There were too many names to remember and they all sounded alike. Thankfully, I recalled that I had a distant relative by marriage that was a well-known and highly respected Plastic Surgeon in Santa Monica. I’d start there.
The plastic surgeon’s office was very familiar—he shared it with my kid’s dermatologist, also a well-known and highly regarded doctor. I too had been a patient. I went to see her years ago for a baseline full body scan. I remember it fondly: “You have a lot of nerve … I haven’t had many people come in for a full body exam after having obviously been out nude sunbathing. Are you here for a lecture?” Note to self: don’t do that again. I was happy to learn that all that time spent dipped in baby oil and tanning at high school and college did not produce a giant freckle or mass of mischief.
Back to the plastic surgeon:
Immediately following all the usual pleasantries, he quickly let me know that he would not be the guy. It would be an involved surgery (Note: he referred to it as surgery). It would be approximately three hours, and he suggested that it was better left to someone who specialized in reconstructive rhinoplasty.
Reconstructive that was the first time I had heard that term applied to my procedure/operation/surgery. At any rate, I had known that this doctor was more of a breast man nonetheless; I thought it best to speak with him and figured he would have definite opinions as to who should make me a new nose. He gave me two names: both in Beverly Hills. As he was mentioning a city I did not care for, a city I loved popped to mind: Rome, as in, when in.
“Since I’m here …” I didn’t even have to finish the sentence … when he said, “take your shirt and bra off, I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.” This was, after all, my time to explore various home improvements. He and his nurse walked back in, and he immediately began to speak into a tape recorder. As if I wasn’t attached to the boobs he was inspecting, he began to describe them using terms I had never heard a man use when talking about breasts. “Are those fancy words and terms for lift and make bigger?” I asked. He intelligently ignored me and began to outline what he described as a simple augmentation.
Here’s what really caught my attention, “Were you aware your left breast was ever so slightly lower than your right?” Everything from that moment on went dark; I began fixating on the notion of Asymmetry and my own. This revelation was guaranteed to drive me crazy. Now and forever more, I would look in the mirror and instead of seeing a small Rubens, a Picasso would be staring back at me.
How can this be? Balance and symmetry are so important to me. For sure, this would be my third box. Could I get it done before Christmas? If only I had kept my mouth shut and my shirt on. I spent the better part of that afternoon trying on and considering various boob sizes. All I really wanted to do was to go back to BC, Before Children. The consultation ended with the doctor’s business manager who let me know that he had generously extended a thirty percent reduction in fees for his services. A thirty percent reduction for about a thirty percent enhancement … ah: balance and symmetry—I would need to give this serious consideration.
I was still reeling from my last doctor visit as I sat in the waiting room of one of the nose docs recommended by the breast guy. His office looked like a Four Seasons, which worked for me at that moment, since I really wanted to order a drink. It was only 10:00 a.m. Ok, I could do a Bloody Mary—I was a little tense.
Every morning since the meeting with Dr. Tits, all I was able to see and think about was Picasso’s Seated Woman (Marie-Therese). Damn, pull one thread … Ok, concentrate. “I’m here to talk to talk about my nose, breathing, Christmas.”
The doctor quickly took command, a good trait in a surgeon. He briefly examined my nose and mentioned that it would likely be a three-hour procedure. I was happy for the consensus on the time required, but less so with his use of the word, procedure. I would be mature and look past it.
Just as I was beginning to relax, I noticed his hands. Damn, damn, damn … his hands. I have always had this thing with hands; blame it on Michelangelo and Sherwin Anderson. He had thin pointed fingers and he was wearing NAIL POLISH! In my twisted little brain this was a non-starter. This was not going to end with his hands in my pocketbook or up my nose. I quickly got out of there and went straight to the Four Seasons for a Bloody Mary.
I ended up being referred by yet another doctor to a head and neck Plastic Surgeon in Westwood with whom I felt immediate comfort. Mercifully, this doctor had good hands. He was around my age and we seemed simpatico in many ways: he felt that drinking too much before operating was not good, he too thought the word procedure, while au courant, was stupid and misleading, he greatly appreciated balance and symmetry and agreed that gray hair in LA would soon be a ticketed offense.
I kept my boob issue close to my vest, but I did share with him that I would soon be fitted for Invisaline braces. As it turns out, his wife had been thinking about Invisaline as well. I liked the way he talked about her, “She picked the right guy to keep her young.” Indeed, she must be a smart girl, marrying a plastic surgeon, that’s planning … I should have considered this. Next, he took pictures of my face and played on the computer drawing my new nose, which looked remarkably like my old nose before time, gravity, and my malicious two-year-old had their way with me. We spent quite some time spinning the wheel on many subjects from the serious to the seriously stupid. Clearly, he was going to be the guy to stick some silly putty up my nose and to engineer a permanent Breathe Right.
As an added bonus, my guy, the guy, had an equally colorful office manager. We just clicked. She understood the importance of having Christmas tea with the Queen and squeezed me in his busy schedule to help accommodate my travel plans. December 4th would be my day with infamy, leaving enough time to heal so I could get on that plane twenty days later.
She assured me, a couple weeks rest, a push broom of Bobbi Brown, and I’d be good to go. I signed a bunch of papers and took out my Amex card (it helped that he was thousands of dollars less than Dr. BH Shiny Nails). As I was leaving, my guy, the guy, came over for a few final words, all very reassuring. Somewhere in all our banter he used the word harvest. My only association with that word was with Neil Young. Cool. I left feeling like I was in exceptionally good hands.
I woke up from surgery with Dr. Nose’s face in mine. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” WTF, did he have a little oops with the scalpel, did I still have a nose, a third nostril, what? It was more complicated than I thought, I needed to take my time, and the surgery took seven hours. WTF … did he say SEVEN HOURS? Was that with a lunch break? Seven hours, a heart transplant takes less time. Ok, maybe that’s the median time, but still, seven hours! “Will this affect my recovery time?” “YES.” He was very apologetic and sympathetic saying that my trip was definitely off the table since I was on his for twice the expected time, and then some.
I didn’t feel any pain from my nose or face, but my head was killing me. My grafts were extensive, from the base of my ear covering several inches along the left side of my head. I now have a very different association with the word harvest. He soon left and in walked Nurse Ratched. I am not kidding—she was so mean and abrupt. I had barely gotten my blue bonnet off before she hustled me out of there. Then with an accusing tone she said, “That was a crazy-long surgery, how much cocaine did you do?” Coke? WTF, was I in Westwood or Nuremberg? What had I done in a past life to deserve her? Then came her warnings: “Follow all your post-op instructions, don’t blow or touch your nose, and don’t wear glasses for a year.” What? I live in LA!
I was so happy to get home. I have no memory of how that actually happened.
The next month I spent under a rock, or more specifically, burrowed in my daughter’s bedroom popping painkillers and rediscovering television shows, I mean, content. Like with the word procedure: I’m not sure what was wrong with the terms programs or programming. Was this renaming or re-appropriation of terms really necessary? I’m not averse to progress or change, just the opposite. It just needs to make sense and/or be additive. Another case in point: Asian vs. Oriental. I’m sorry but Oriental is so much more evocative: filled with mystery, romance, allure—The Orient Express? Did anyone change this to The Asian Express? The Orient Express inspired great authors and filmmakers, The Asian Express … what would that be, fast food? Oriental carpets, beautiful, majestic … try substituting Asian. Ok, maybe it’s a little colonial.
I really have got to discontinue these painkillers.
Anyway, while I loved discovering Netflix and as brilliant as some of these shows were, this was a very challenging period of time in my life. I yearned for the days of just being preoccupied by my lopsided boobs. Instead, I looked like someone had taken a snow shovel to my face. Every few hours, I jumped out of bed to see, as if by magic, if my face had reappeared, and instead, all I got was this distorted reflection accompanied by a dialogue loop, mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the dumbest bitch of all? After all, I did this to myself. It was elective, sort of.
On my first post-op visit, I walked into a packed office filled with young girls all dreaming of a perfectly chiseled nose and the perfect life that inevitably awaited them. If you could see the look of horror on their faces when they saw mine, I felt like The Elephant Man. I kept saying to them, “It was massive reconstruction from a life long abuse of coke.” I figured I might as well scare them straight. “Really, he’s a great doctor, compassionate, believes in balance, symmetry.” My new friend, sensing my discomfort and not wanting to lose business, scooped me up and took me by the hand into a small side office away from the horrid stares.
In walked my guy. Not only was Christmas off the table, but the timetable of total recovery where all of the swelling would be gone and when I would see the final result would be more like eighteen months; not six months to a year. He was confident, happy with his work, and felt that I would have a perfect outcome: functionally and cosmetically. I totally trusted him. I did turn out to be a slow and stubborn healer, no surprise to anyone who knew me. That was Box #1.
As for Box #2, Invisalign works, but they are hardly invisible. Orthodontists don’t tell you about these little stubs they need to weld to your teeth; that make it really easy for green shit to hang off of them. So yet again, I did not sport a very attractive look. Theoretically, checking both boxes at once made sense … theoretically. After a few months, I found myself whimpering in the orthodontist chair pleading with him to: “Take these fucking things off.” I thought my teeth looked straight enough.
Against his better judgment, he agreed to remove them; I’m sure he just wanted me out of there. Within a couple of months, I returned to show him how my teeth were once again on the move. In all the years of practice, he had never agreed to take anyone’s braces off prematurely. I would have to get them on again for another few months. He didn’t charge me, saying that it was his mistake and he would never again succumb to pathetic groveling. I appreciated this, and promised there would be no more crying in big girl land—so much for my timetable.
It’s been almost a year. We had tea in London over the summer: Christmas in July. It was a good trip.
I recently bumped into my guy with his wife months later at a local farmers market. Her warm smile shimmered with her new Invisalign braces. As if by reflex, my doctor immediately started to touch and examine my nose in the middle of the crowded market. I turned to his wife, “Aren’t you glad he doesn’t do tits?”
Would I do it all again? I wouldn’t want to, but … yes I would. I can breathe, my nose is straight, my teeth are straight … my head? Well, that’s a work in progress. And as for Box #3, now, after showering and looking in a mirror, I just tilt my head ever so slightly and it all seems ok.