The Arousing of Thought

After this silence, unusual for us “young rascals,” the usual hubbub broke out again, and in this hubbub it was decided to go immediately to the barber, a specialist in extracting teeth, and to ask him just why this tooth was like that.

So we all climbed down from the roof and went off to the barber’s. And I, as the “hero of the day,” stalked at the head of them all.

The barber, after a casual glance, said it was simply a “wisdom tooth” and that all those of the male sex have one like it, who until they first exclaim “papa” and “mama” are fed on milk exclusively from their own mother, and who on first sight are able to distinguish among many other faces the face of their own father.

As a result of the whole totality of the effects of this happening, at which time my poor “wisdom tooth” became a complete sacrifice, not only did my consciousness begin, from that time on, constantly absorbing, in connection with everything, the very essence of the essence of my deceased grandmother’s behest—God bless her soul—but also in me at that time, because I did not go to a “qualified dentist” to have the cavity of this tooth of mine treated, which as a matter of fact I could not do because our home was too far from any contemporary center of culture, there began to ooze chronically from this cavity a “something” which—as it was only recently explained to me by a very famous meteorologist with whom I chanced to become, as is said, “bosom friends” owing to frequent meetings in the Parisian night restaurants of Montmartre—had the property of arousing an interest in, and a tendency to seek out the causes of the arising of every suspicious “actual fact”; and this property, not transmitted to my entirety by heredity, gradually and automatically led to my ultimately becoming a specialist in the investigation of every suspicious phenomenon which, as it so often happened, came my way.