Thursday, November 04, 2010

Toothless In Seattle

I still have nightmares from my first extraction; I was a poverty-striken graduate student and a filling gone bad was giving me plenty of grief During this period of my life I had several part time jobs, one of which was at a gas station. When the owner heard of my desperate plight, he told me that his daughter worked as a receptionist for a local dentist, Dr. Phineas Mendlesohn. As Merv (his name was Mervin) had more fingers than teeth, I should have known better than to accept his recommendation, but, pressed by pain, I made an emergency appointment.

I drove my 1962 Chevy Nova convertible as fast as I could to the small professional center where my oral savior awaited.

Upon entering the office I noticed that the waiting room was empty. A small, closed coffin surrounded by candles was in one corner and the coat rack held nothing but pointy hats and long, heavily stained black robes. The reception desk was situated in the midst of an ornate, inlaid ceramic pentagon.
The room's only light came from the coffin display and a half dozen or so candle sconces mounted on the walls. They were crafted apparently from ram's horns.

Merv's daughter was a very attractive, well-endowed blonde who quickly urged me into the the examination room. As I settled into the worn leather chair, I wondered at the sturdy five point harnass that she secured around my waist, neck and chest. Distracted by her considerable physical attributes (I was a young, lusty buck), I failed to notice the long, bloody scratches in the arm rests until too late. But before I could question her about it - she was gone. I then made another unpleasant discovery; I could not move from the chair.

Suddenly the door burst open and Dr. Mendlesohn appeared. The only way I could place him as a dentist was the reflector on his forehead and glistening bands of retainers strung around his neck and biceps. He was naked save for a black leather banana sling and he reeked of sulphur. As I recollect these distant events, I realize now that Dr. Mendlsohn bore a strong resemblance to Barney Frank. His dental asssistant, a tall, sternly visaged matron with "Fannie" printed on her breast name plate, was clad entirely in a heavily starched, white nurse's uniform.

The last words I heard were spoken in a heavy lisp, "Fannie, May I please have the needle?"

What followed was beyond description. I will spare you, Gentle Reader, from the horror of these long-repressed deprivations.

But, lo, as I fast forward these many years, I find myself once again confronted with the consequences of inadequate dental hygiene. Despite flossing and brushing and biannual cleanings, another extraction is scheduled for next week. The pain is not as excruciating as it was nearly forty years ago, but I will not wait for it to progress. To prepare myself for this procedure, I have borrowed from the Stones.
Out of my gum
The tooth who once ... had me down
Out of my gum
The tooth who thought ... he'd get a crown

You're hurting me
The difference is in the Novacaine
Can't you see? I'll soon be numb
You're outta my gum

Aint it the truth tooth?

Out of my gum
The tooth who's full ... of decay
Out of my gum
Two more shots and... you're on your way

Can't feel my lips ... no I can't
I just bit my tongue and I feel nothing
Can't you see? I'm now all numb
You're outta my gum


Anonymous said...

My father was one anxious to save a penny whenever possible. He learned we could receive free dental care by volunteering our bodies to the local dental school. I will relate absolutely none of the experiences.

I also got my teenage haircuts at the "barber college". Bastards!

sig94 said...

My mother used to cut our hair. She found a set of hair clippers at the Goodwill Store and that was the end of my brother and I as far as scar-free scalps were concerned. We started getting offers for bit roles as child concentration camp inmates. We just missed the casting for Stalag 17.

Thank God she never found a pair of pliers else she would have tried her hand at dentistry.

Fredd said...

Nice Nova, Sig. Makes me wonder how a toothless, broke grad student ends up in wheels like those....

sig94 said...

Fress - easy peasy and a little cheesy. The car was ten years old and badly maintained when I bought it for $150. After I had it a few months it was stolen from the downtown campus where I attended grad school. The State Police recovered it a few days later.