We learned that Ella needs dental work to correct problems with her overbite. No, this does not involve her lowering herself to the counter and gnashing her jaws like a parasitic worm, devouring all of Amy’s latest snickerdoodle muffins before anyone else can get a bite; it involves bone growth, or, rather, improper bone growth. Sorry, Ella, but Mom and Dad are taking away your dream of being a circus freak and paying for the work that needs to be done.

We’re blessed to have good insurance, but as many know, dental insurance is the neglected spare tire of insurance products. It might perform okay for simple flat tires, but if you ask it to step in after the Glass Recyclers Annual Convention came to town and drank all the beer just so they could recycle the bottles, and they pre-smashed most of them in the street, your spare will fail like your next doctor’s visit after you, after the previous doctor’s visit, added more color to your diet, per doctor’s orders, and took a daily shot of Runts along with your coffee.

Some of the procedures Ella needs involve anesthesia, and hooboy, that’s expensive. Again, we’re blessed to have the resources to cover these charges where insurance bags out.

But what if we didn’t? What would we do?

Here’s a possible, though not ideal, solution.

* * *

Short on money for anesthesia for your operation? Visit the Punch Club. We have an MMA fighter who will knock you out cold so the docs can reset your jaw. If you happen to be of the hardy variety, he’ll follow up the punch with a headlock, squeezing the air out of you like a punctured balloon, until you can’t breathe. Then with you unawares, the doctors at Punch Club will go to work.

TFF: Mr. Prizefighteronsky—

Pyotr “Punchy” Prizefighteronsky: Call me Punchy.

TFF: Punchy it is. I’m short on cash, need surgery—sounds like you offer a fix.

Punchy: You don’t have enough cash in your wallet? That’s okay. I’ve got what you need right here. [holds up right fist, turns to fist, kisses fist, turns back to you, smiles with rotten and broken teeth]

TFF: That’s fine, but I’ve got what I think may be a controversial question, so please don’t punch me. I don’t need dental work. Looking at your teeth, one might conclude you’ve had less dental work done than maybe should have been done.

Punchy: In fact, I’ve had none done.

TFF: None?

Punchy: None.

TFF: Not a single appointment?

Punchy: No.

TFF: Not a cavity, cleaning—nothing?

Punchy: I said nothing. I meant nothing. You said you had a question?

TFF: Yes. Well, I did have a question. I was going to ask what anesthesia methods you used. Specifically, I was going to ask if you self-administered—you know, punched yourself—and if so, given the poor health of your teeth, how anyone seeking your services as an anesthesia alternative could have any confidence that your services worked. But now I see that question is moot.

Punchy: It is, indeed. I deny myself proper dental care so that I can save all of my punching power for the mouths of those who need my services. To date, I’ve saved my customers over $1m in anesthesia fees. All they had to do was stand their ground and accept my flying fist. I am 1,000 for 1,000 on first punch knockouts.

TFF: After you administer the [vocal air quotes] anesthesia [end vocal air quotes], the Punch Club doctors take over?

Punchy: Yes.

TFF: You’ve never had any adverse incidents?

Punchy: I wouldn’t say never.

TFF: Oh?

Punchy: Sometimes I get a little worked up and swing my left in right after my right. The clients never know because they’re knocked out from the first blow, but when my second backs the first, my clients might wake up with a new nose. But, hey, can’t complain about that, right?

TFF: I’m going to ignore that and ask you this: you said you’ve saved your customers over $1M, so did that money go in your pocket?

Punchy: No.

TFF: Where’d it go?

Punchy: Nowhere. It stayed with the clients. I do what I do for free. Imagine, if you will, the people in your profession whom you would like to blast in the face with a punch like a battering ram. Are you thinking of anyone?

TFF: I’ve got some names.

Punchy: Okay. Names [turns word into two syllables]. That’s good. But you can’t do anything about it, can you?

TFF: If I did, criminal charges would be filed.

Punchy: [nodding] But I don’t have to worry about that. My clients come to me asking to be punched in the face.

TFF: What about choking them out? I’ve heard that’s a necessary second step.

Punchy: Yeah, not anymore. Too many weirdos into S&M. I make sure I have a referral from a dentist before using this [kisses fist again]. I do this because I’m passionate about saving people money and about hardening my fists, not hardening—

TFF: Got it. On that, have you found that punching anesthesia seekers has improved your MMA fighting?

Punchy: Does a dark, empty parking lot gather parties to a drug deal?

TFF: Yes?

Punchy: You can say it with confidence. It does, and so does punching savers help me to prepare for the warriors in the octagon. A cubic inch of human bone can withstand a stress load of almost 20,000 pounds before breaking. Before I started helping the cash-poor dental consumer, my bone stress load factor was 30,000 pounds. After helping said consumers, my factor has increased five-fold.

TFF: Five-fold?

Punchy: Yes.

TFF: As in your punches are stronger than a swinging titanium beam?

Punchy: I haven’t seen the metallurgical analysis on that. I also don’t know the physics. Would have to study the amperage effect. But, yeah. [stroking chin, duck face, nodding, looking up] I’d say that’s about right. … You okay?

TFF: Yes, sorry. [shakes head to clear thoughts] I was just thinking about a procedure I’ve got coming up—actually, it’s my daughter, and I’m short on cash. Would you consider … ?

Punchy: Punching a kid? Sure. Kids are tougher than you think.

* * *

Let me remind anyone reading this that this site publishes humor and hyperbole. No children have been or will be harmed because of what I’ve written.

But times are tough in the U.S. economy.

Might need some punching up.