I have a dentist’s appointment tomorrow. I hate the dentist. The thing I dislike the most about going to the dentist, aside from the dentistry, is that I learn unpleasant things about myself. Like the fact that, apparently, I never floss. And that if I were to be captured by The Enemy and tortured, I’d confess everything inside of 60 seconds.
The Enemy: Where are your loved ones hiding?
Me: I’ll never tell!
The Enemy: Okay. Before we begin I’m going to put this tube in the corner of your mouth; it will gently vacuum up any excess saliva that —
Me: Basement of Pizza Hut, 65th and Harrison Ave.
At least in the old days I would get prize for making it through my visits without shrieking. Did you? The “Children’s Dentist” I was dragged to as a child had two big things going for it: (1) the dentist would wear a surgical mask which made the lower half of his face look like a big cartoony basset hound (this was a lot less nightmare-inducing than it sounds), and (2) after all the unpleasantry you would get to root around in a big cardboard treasure chest and pick out a toy — a small plastic sword or a fake hook-hand — from amongst the hundreds of previously passed-over packages of sugarless gum. (I’m not sure what the deal was with the pirate theme; perhaps because, at this point, all you could say was “Arrrgh arrr arrrghr.”) Sure the toy was inevitably some cheap piece of crap that would break the first time you hit your sister with it, but even that would be better than the “Remember to Brush!” emblazoned $0.65 toothbrush they give me now.
The first person who starts an “Adult’s Dentist” practice is going to make a killing: knowing there’s a treasure chest full of Nirvana mix tapes, Warcraft III demo disks and girlie magazines (or IKEA catalogs, for the ladies) waiting for you at the end would make any dentist visit more bearable for we Gen X’ers, where X > 29. Million dollar idea, right there. I’d do it myself, but becoming a dentist would leave me with no excuse not to floss.