Weather Forecast


Chuck Brooks' column: Summers get expensive when you're a teacher

Each week, when I finish a column and send it to the paper, I begin to think about my next topic for the upcoming week. To be honest, I’m often at a loss as to what the topic will be until I begin to write. Unless there’s an event coming up like last week’s column about the Leprechaun Days parade, I sometimes panic I’m not going to be able to dig up a new topic for you each and every week.

When I sat down to write this week’s column, I had one thought on my mind.

Why is summer so incredibly expensive?

It started nicely enough back in June. Life was rolling along smoothly. I got it in my head, actually, that I needed to get myself a laptop computer since writing in my life has ramped up. And I like to write “on location.” For example, right now I’m writing to you from the confines of the friendly Caribou Coffee. Normally I’m a Starbucks man but I need to mix it up from time to time. Back to my laptop, however. I ordered a MacBook Air with a little helpful guidance from outside sources. If you know of this laptop, you know it’s not the $199 special at K-Mart. I felt I was investing in an instrument that would perhaps have its own return financially.

Then the world began to change. Via my mouth. I had a tooth issue which sent me to my dentist. It would be helpful to know I’m one of those people who truly despises this necessity of life. I’ve never grown up about it either. I will avoid it until it’s no longer possible. And guess what. I could no longer avoid it. Trip number one prompted an entire set of x-rays since it had “been awhile” since I was last there. Based on that, trip number two was slated for five days later.

In the meantime, I discovered I needed Microsoft Word for my new laptop. What was another $150?

My dentist, an old college buddy of mine, wanted me to return for trip number three to try to “fix” an issue we discussed during visit number two. His first thought was that I’d lose the tooth in question. However, he had a change of heart and said a root canal might be in the future. He was, though, going to work on it at the “cavity” level to see if he could appease the issue that way.

When he was finished, he literally crossed his fingers as he said he hoped what he had done was going to take care of the problem (a problem I’d avoided for several years, mind you), but in case, when the Novocain wore off I’d be in pain, he gave me a referral to the specialists who do root canals. You need to also understand this next bit of information. Our dental insurance leaves much to be desired. I won’t go into it here, but realize my yearly allotment was nearly gone. A root canal would empty the coffers. I was ecstatic when, hours later, the numbness wore off and all felt fine.

For three days. Then the achiness returned. Sort of with a vengeance. It even woke me Monday morning at 3:30. Consequently, when the office opened, I called. They happened to have a cancellation that day at 1 p.m. Otherwise, it would have been two weeks later. I had little choice to begin with, so I figured I might as well as go in and make this a summer to remember. To give you an idea how long I’d put this off, once the specialist went into the roots, they were so enflamed he had to medicate them and seal up the tooth temporarily for a few weeks before returning to the task of finishing the root canal. What fun.

And so goeth the summer of my financial discontent. I’m thinking once I write my memoir of a teacher, I’ll be able to pay off the laptop and my dental needs and maybe have enough left over for a mocha and a new book.

Ok, so much of this column is tongue-in-cheek, but it’s all true. Summers always tend to be like this. The fact there’s additional free time where a person can spend money might also explain summers being more expensive. Glad I decided not to get a new car as I normally am accustomed to doing after four years. At this rate, I’ll have all new teeth before I get a new car!

I’d love to stick around and chat more, but I should really run out and deliver my newspapers now. Then I have to get ready to babysit tonight. One can never have too much money.

I’m kidding! Really!