This morning I received the phone call from Hell. You know the type. You know that it's coming, but you're still shaken when it does-
"This is Dr. Zambito's office, calling to remind you of your 6-month dental cleaning and checkup, today at 2:30."
"Fine, we'll see you later. Until then, have a good day."
"uh, you too."
Sure, have a good day. Like I'll be having visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not afraid to go to the dentist. I'm just not very keen on somebody probing around in my mouth, and expecting me to carry on an intelligible (let alone intelligent) conversation during same. The blisters on the roof of my mouth from a late night pizza slice weren't really enhancing my mood, either. I stick with the 6-month appointment plan for a reason. If I wait a full year for a checkup, there's always the possibility that something will come up that will invariably lead to the admonishment "if this had been caught earlier, it wouldn't have cost quite so much". Yeah, like dentists want to save you money. Anyway, today I knocked off earlier than usual to prepare for the chair. Arrived a few minutes early to case the joint and to secure a seat in the waiting room, just a few paces from the exit (hey, you never know). Ever notice how relaxing the dental waiting room can be? WHUD-FM playing soft rock, comfy beige tweed lounge chairs, plush mouton lamb carpeting, and a corner table covered with at least seven years worth of New Yorker and Highlites magazines, all tied together by the conjugal-visit green walls and cathedral ceiling. Add to this mix, the soothing whir of a not-to-distant air drill, and I was borderline comatose, so relaxed was I. Perhaps there is a method to the madness of inducing dental patients into a zombie-like state (no, not California). See, zombies, as a rule, have bad teeth. (ever see one that couldn't benefit from White Strips?) Dentists thrive on bad teeth. You do the math.
"Mark, walk this way, please."
Difficult to comply, as she was in heels, and I, topsiders. We successfully traversed the maze of hallways and anterooms that led to the examination room, and "the chair". I was speechless, staring with childlike wonder and amazement at "ol' sparky", the (who's yo') grand-daddy of dental chairs. Its gleaming white porcelain pedestal, sumptuous black naugahyde upholstery, rich Corinthian leather ankle and wrist restraints, polished brass spittoon, and flickering (mirrored and magnified) migraine-inducing fluorescent examination lamp, fairly daring anyone to cross it. I had come to accept this as my destiny. I was the true macho adventurer, Indiana Jones. I had entered the temple of doom, and I was not to be denied. Nostrils flaring, biceps bulging, sphincter puckering...
"Your bib, Mark." (reality bites)
I'm amazed at the number of metal utensils that someone can coax into my mouth at any given time. I mean, I thought that 4 McNuggets and a wad of french fries were pretty much the limit of my oral capacity, but I have been proven wrong. About the only things that didn't make it into my mouth were the hygienist's neck chain and cleavage-enhancing pendant (though not for lack of trying).
No x-rays this visit, which was disappointing. I had been so looking forward to having the lead apron knock the wind out of me. (not that wind ever needs to be knocked out of me)
There was good news, in that I don't need any work done for another 6 months. However, the bad news is that I have to go back in another 6 months.
I hope everybody else had a better day than I.