The South Side of Chicago is a violent place and I have the scar to prove it.
Maybe not a scar. More like an owie.
Over the weekend, I was roughhousing with my dog in an effort to entertain my five month-old child who’s going through a growth spurt and is therefore crabby as all get out. It was largely a successful effort – smiling baby! happy dog! – until the head of our adorable but large canine connected with the bottom of my chin and I bit the side of my tongue. As the initial pain subsided, I knew the relief would be short-lived.
Fast-forward two days and I’ve spent all of this Tuesday feeling the small-but-powerful, trauma-induced ulcer that formed in the wake of our re-enactment of the heyday of the Roman Colosseum rubbing against my teeth whenever I speak, eat or otherwise move my mouth. It feels as if someone is pinching my tongue. With their fingernails. And when I do speak, I’m unsuccessfully trying to move my tongue in a way that avoids the pain so my speech is either slurred (and accompanied by a little drool) or overly enunciated so I sound like this guy.
So I’m trying to keep my mouth shut as much as possible. I’ve got a light day as far as meetings go so this shouldn’t be a problem. The one wrinkle in this plan: I’m meeting a friend I haven’t seen in a while for drinks at Keegan’s on Western. It’s probably rude to suggest we text each other instead of talk, right? (“What does our new car look like?" "Uh, I’ll send you a Twitpic…”)
The metaphorical lesson here - expect some form of physical hardship to come from doing what’s best for your child and know that you will inevitably do something stupid in the process - is something I live with every day so I hardly need a constant painful reminder. But a suggestion to be quiet and see what else I can learn? That’s one I need a little more often.
Dear Universe: Next time just hit me with a CTA bus. It will be less painful.
About the author: Scott Smith (@ourmaninchicago) is a digital guy at Chicago magazine. He lives in Beverly with his wife, daughter and dog (who will be on WWE’s Raw next week).