In my version of this story is that i was driving a friend who was on the edge of a manic break down to an all night place to get food. It was about 4 AM and he had been up all night for at least the night before. Without warning, while i am driving, he punches me in the face. Fortunately, there was no traffic, because your reflex when someone punches you while driving is to slam on the brakes.
A couple years later my dentist tells me that my front tooth is dead and asks me about shocks to my face. I get a bridge installed, but the teeth that it is attached to are hurt as well. Last Friday while eating a carrot at Acorn i hear a very disturbing sound and feel sharp pain in my bridge. My dentist confirmed that i had broken the root of the tooth the bridge was attached to and that i would need to get a temporary bridge to replace the one i had and that i would not be able to fly out to San Francisco when i had originally planned to.
I asked my dentist if he could write a letter for me to the airlines. He reluctantly said yes. I offered to draft the letter for him, which he found an exciting prospect. I write lots of letters like this, and was up for the challenge of this one. He gave me his email, and when i inspected the signed letter this morning, i noted they had not changed a word from my draft. Quite satisfying. The airline changed my ticket with a most minimal fee.
This is not the first time i have wanted a doctors note, though previously i did not have as good an excuse (from the airlines perspective) to change my flight. In 1990, i was working for an ocean engineering firm in Hawaii. I was supposed to go back from San Francisco, but i got a wonderful offer from David Solnit to travel to 45 cities and do support for a native peoples tours to stop nuclear testing. The only thing which was stopping me from joining was this airplane ticket back to Hawaii.
So i went to a recently graduated doc who i knew and asked for help. She said “well i could write you a letter saying you had an ear infection and thus could not fly.” Ear infection, i thought, anyone can have an ear infection, i was hoping for something more exotic. My doctor friend was amused and was curious what i had in mind. “Can’t we say i was shot?”
So the letter was crafted, the airline was informed and when i turned it in to the woman at the airline counter, she was suitably aghast. Wanting to know that i was okay, i assured her that my recover had been complete.