the King and the 3 crowns
Every 3 or 4 years, whether I need it or not, I go to get my teeth cleaned. I’m good like that. Like clockwork. I don’t mention this lightly, I hate getting my teeth cleaned so the fact that I step up to the plate with such regularity is something I’m pretty proud of. Sort of gives me that adult shine.
My dental hygienist takes her job seriously so when I sit down I know I’m on for the long haul. I’m never sure if she loves or job or hates it, but once that chair gets tilted all the way back, my feet are high and my head is low, she is all business. I always think it’s strange how much I want her approval. When she tells me to open a bit wider you’d think I was a snake unhinging its jaws. She tells me to move a little to the left and I practically break my own neck as I hurl my head leftward. I swear, if she brought a donkey over and had it place its balls in my mouth I doubt I’d utter a peep in protest. I guess when someone is wielding a sharp object in your mouth, you aim to please.
So she starts in cleaning, adorned with her bib and safety glasses. Apparently, she’s not very good with blood because about two minutes in I feel her forehead hit mine. Rather hard actually. Obviously I’ve had my eyes closed as she’s been working, otherwise I’d be staring right into her face for the entire appointment and that would be creepy so that explains why I wasn’t ready for her head smashing into mine. Her nose ends up in my mouth and I guess the wetness of said mouth brought her suddenly to because her head pops back up and she acts like nothing happened. Clearly it did, because it’s either that or her red nose indicates she’s gone and joined the circus since she started my cleaning. But I let it slide. Again, she’s the one with the sharp metal thing in my mouth.
Unfortunately this little scene continues to replay itself every few minutes. After every tooth she asks me to rinse and every 3 or 4 teeth she excuses herself and walks outside for some air. I can watch her right out the window and I see her bending over and taking a knee and swinging her arms around like she’s either building enough nerve to return to her post or about to pinch hit in the bottom of the 6th. I rarely use baseball terminology as I find the sport crushingly dull, so make sure to enjoy that little nugget as you won’t be seeing another for quite awhile.
Finally she’s back, wrist-deep in my orifice and with all the scraping and chiseling I expect two Venus de Milo’s where my front teeth use to be, but a quick once-over with the tongue confirms that they are still intact.
I should point out at this time that during the entire appointment she’s had the radio on and it’s been tuned to Radio Margaritaville. I wasn’t aware that Jimmy Buffet had a radio station that plays only his songs or songs that he feels inspired him. This radio stations answers the age-old question, “What are they listening to in hell?”. Finally after hearing him cover Jimi Hendrix’s The Wind Cries Mary, I spluttered and gurgled out that she needed to either change the station, turn it off or take the radio and club me over the head with it until I’m unconscious.
The whole ‘clean a tooth, pass out and recover’ routine had my appointment pushing two hours and I wasn’t even half done. My jaw ached and I was sick of making that little gagging sound every time I tried to swallow with my mouth wide open which apparently is impossible, but you have to try otherwise you feel you’re going to drown in your own spit. My mouth was so wide open that one time she dropped the little metal thing and then there was a pause and then you heard this little splash like when you throw a coin in a fountain. Lightheaded from the significant blood loss I was experiencing at the hands of Madam Scraper, I was overjoyed to see her eventually reach for the little floor buffer thing and start to apply the finishing touches.
Finally the sun was low on the horizon and my day at the dentist was almost over. Now that his opening act was finished, the dentist strolled in like the dental rock star he is in his white jumpsuit, announced my x-rays look fine, threw his sweat-soaked scarf on top of me and told me that I only need 3 crowns.
Thank you. Thank you very much.