Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Chair

            I have no interest in discussing capital punishment for two reasons.  One, I never know how I feel about it.  Philosophically, I am opposed to it.  But if someone hurt my wife or my daughter, well, I would probably take the burden off the state’s hands.  Or at least throw a party when they flipped the switch.  Two, I am not interested in that kind of chair.  You get in there and your pain is immediately followed by the sweet release of death.  The chair I refer to resides in the offices of dentists across the country…dentists who provide a noble service.  I am not ragging on dentists.  I do not think they are sadists.  I do think they are out of their freaking minds, but we’ll get to that.  First, I have some whining to do. See, I just went to the sadist yesterday.
            I am 33 years old and, up until yesterday, every dentist visit I have had has consisted of them asking me if I floss.  No.  Brush?  Yes.  They clean the teeth.  “Well, you got lucky, you have good teeth…carry on.”  Not this time.  Ironically, I do floss now.  Not every day.  But sometimes.  My wife and I decided to go together with our 2 ½ year old daughter.  I mention this because we had to pretend the whole time that the dentist is AWESOME.  Like Disney land, but cheaper.  Anyway.
            So, they put the uncomfortable little plastic things in my mouth and covered me in a lead vest and took their damn pictures.  Big smiles…this is FUN, honey.  Then we wait.  Then I play I spy for an hour while they clean my wife’s teeth.  Then they get to me and we pass the child like a baton.  Then they tell me (ME!) that I have two cavities.  This hurt me far deeper than you will ever understand.  But they did the cleaning, I scheduled an appointment to come back and get drilled (gonna be hard to make that sound fun).  Blah, blah, blah.
            Now, onto the more important consideration.  Why in god’s name would anyone want to be a dentist?.  I don’t buy the ‘couldn’t get into medical school’ explanation.  It sounds mean.  And unlikely.  Dentists make OK money, but nothing spectacular as far as I know.  I can understand why you would want to be a plumber…even though you might get sprayed with sewage.  The money is great for the level of education and initial cash outlay necessary.  But you have to do some serious schooling to be a dentist.  And there is one even more important reason I think they are crazy.  No one hates plumbers.  Plumbers are like superheroes.  Sure, the time the main line backed up and the guy wearing rubber gloves covered in slime asked to use my cell phone I was less than stoked.  (You’ve never seen a sanitation job like I did on that phone).  But everyone, unless they are weird fetishists, dislikes the dentist.  Maybe I am wrong.  But if there are dentist fans out there, I have never met one.  It’s like deciding you want to grow up to be the grim reaper. 
            So, why do we hate the dentist?  Well, because going to the dentist royally sucks.  It’s like being in A Clockwork Orange.  Horrorshow.  They put you in a chair and shine a bright light in your face.  They put a bib on you.  They put their hands in your mouth and take all kinds of liberties with your tongue, teeth, and saliva!  There is a spray of plaque and water and ??? clouding the office.  Getting on you, getting on the dentist (they don’t seem to mind?!?).  They often make you bleed and don’t apologize.  Even the polishing sucks.  Fluoride sucks.  Granted, they have made some improvements since I was a kid.  But it still sucks. 
            So, what’s in it for the dentist?  They get sprayed with saliva/plaque juice.  They make you feel small for not thinking about dental hygiene all the time…which is a big reason we hate them.  They have to look at people’s teeth.  They have to put their hands in your mouth.  I don’t get it.  What kind of person signs up for this?  Who goes to college and says, “hmm, I want to infantilize people and be hated for the rest of my life…I want to make children cry and then try to make it OK by letting them pick some cheap toy from a ‘treasure box’…damnit, I want to go home covered in other people’s plaque!”  Who?  Why?  It is one of the great mysteries.  It makes me look for ulterior motives.  Do they like nitrous oxide that much?  You can buy it at head shops if the sound of helicopter blades and dying brain cells is your thing.  Do they enjoy the crying of children?  Are they really making millions and I don’t know it? 
            So, I went to the dentist.  He gave me a hard time about not seeing him for over four years.  Why, he asked?  REALLY?  Why?  Why don’t you take a guess, nimrod?  And keep both your hands where I can see them.
            I’ll go get my cavities fixed.  And then I will wait another four years.  Because the dentist sucks.  I don’t care if they seem nice…it’s like a ‘serial killer’ nice.  And I take back what I said in the beginning when I had lofty aspirations about being “fair”.  I think there is something up with them.  I don’t trust them.  I don’t like people’s hands in my mouth.  And I don’t think there should be an age cut off for hitting the ‘treasure box’ on the way out.  I didn’t even get a free toothbrush.

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