Gee, it’s great to be alive. You’re thinking that’s because the market is 7500 on the Dow, give or take, and — like the odometer that finally turns all its little dials to 00000.0 when you go those last 170 yards beyond 99,999.9 . . . delicious . . . the market is going to 0,000 just as the calendar is going to ,000 — it’s all coming together, in other words, neat and well organized, like the strands of a complicated plot.

But no, this is not what has me excited, although it certainly is fun to see one’s net worth inching up almost every day. Likewise, I’m happy to see the crime rate, welfare rolls and unemployment rates coming down, the AIDS virus yielding to science, the days getting longer and longer (if it keeps up this way through Thanksgiving, we’ll have nothing but sunlight), cigarette advertising under attack, decimal stock-market pricing on its way (it will shave transaction costs) — all that.

But the immediate cause of my good cheer is my root canal. I have wonderful news. It turns out — in the hands of a really good endodontist, anyway — root canals are just no big deal. All my life I have dreaded the possibility that one day I might need one. But having managed to avoid it until last week, I lucked out. I skipped the century or so when it was a procedure just this side of agony. Technology saved me, and just in time.

Seriously: this is one fewer thing for you to worry about. If you ever need one, take the time to find someone who specializes in root canals and then figure it will be only a little less convenient and comfortable than going for a haircut.

Tomorrow I’ll get back to money. But aren’t you relieved? Soon, I’ve read, they may be zapping tooth decay without need of drilling. Ah, brave new world. It’s stuff like this that makes you think the market’s not so overpriced after all. (And talk like that that makes you think it is.)

There is no connection here to sushi, but I had to find a way to get you to read a comment about root canals. (But if you happen to be on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, stop in for some sushi to go from Mr. Cho — the little hole in the wall on Columbus between 72nd and 73rd. "Hello, Mr. Cho," I say whenever I’m in town. He bows, I bow. He makes very good sushi, and if you live in the neighborhood, he delivers.)

Tomorrow: Poison Pills


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