I have always wondered how much money I refer out the door. Between the orthodontist, periodontist, endodontist, and oral surgeon, I'm sure it's at least triple what I make myself.
Especially ortho. I'm sure I've made my orthodontist a very wealthy man. But what has he done for me lately??
I know, I know -- he provides a service that I can't, and everyone deserves to make a living. But fruit cake at Christmas and Olive Garden lunches don't cut it. That's right, I said it!
Although there was that one time, back in the fall of 2001 ...
I was living in Arizona then, and our baseball team, the Diamondbacks, had made it to the World Series. Everyone wanted the New York Yankees to win (this was, after all, right after 9/11) -- except for me, my 3-year-old son, and pretty much the rest of Arizona.
I was with my family in Las Vegas, visiting my parents and watching game 6 of the series, when my cell phone rang. It was Dr. X, the orthodontist we always referred to.
"Hey, Jimmy," he said. "I have an extra ticket to the D-back game tomorrow (game 7!). I'm sitting somewhere else, so this ticket is by itself next to strangers. You interested?"
Talk about the ultimate fruit cake! I wanted to crawl through the phone lines all the way to Phoenix and plant a kiss of thanks on his cheek. I'm a big sports fan, and for the chance to watch game 7 -- well, I would have traded my KaVo handpieces for that chance.
But before game 7 could happen, the D-backs had to win game 6 -- which they did, 15-2. Randy Johnson pitched a gem: 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and 7 strikeouts.
As soon as it was over, I scrambled to make flight arrangements. But I was agonizing over whether I should gamble and take my 3-year-old with me. It was another dream of mine: to share a moment like this with my son. I only had one ticket, but the policy at the ballpark was that kids 2 years old and younger could get in free because they could sit on their parent's lap. But he was almost 3½!
I rolled the dice, and we flew back to Phoenix. The only flight we could get got us to the ballpark during the second inning.
If the dudes at the front gate wouldn't let my son in, that meant I couldn't go in either. I mean, I couldn't just leave him outside the gates, all alone, while I enjoyed the game ... or could I??
I remember just standing there for a couple minutes and staring hard at the gate. I think my son thought I was praying.
Finally, the moment of truth.
"Evening, sir. One?"
"Can we check your bags?"
"How old is your son?" (OK, so I lied!)
"Enjoy the game."
In the bottom of the ninth, the score was 2-1 Yankees. Mariano Rivera, New York's best closer, was on the mound, but with one out the D-backs score two runs to win it, 3-2.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were the 2001 World Series champions!!
To this day, my son says he doesn't remember any of this -- but we were there together, and that means the world to me.
All thanks to my orthodontist, who I have let referrals flow like water to ever since.
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