Thursday, May 9, 2019

Why having fun at the dentist is as easy as pulling teeth.

INSERT: Spittin'-image pun here
Had my teeth cleaned yesterday at my local, Pacific Dental.

I always look forward to those visits.

Everybody at Pacific Dental is talkative and interesting; they have very comfortable dental chairs and piped-in classical music.

The only downside is, at the dentist's -- for long moments at a time -- I have to do something I find quite difficult and that's not talk.

But otherwise? Those visits are little recesses from life.

I once asked Pacific's resident dentist, Doctor David Sacoransky -- when he thought a task was difficult -- if he described it as "like pulling teeth".

"No," he said. "I say something is like pulling teeth when it's easy."

Wouldn't you want a dentist who talks like that?

And yesterday ... yesterday ... fact is, I'd been looking forward to yesterday's visit since early March.

Because in early March, my wife Helena and I were lucky enough to tour -- I know  you're going to be jealous -- the Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland, and ever since, I'd been itching to tell everybody at Pacific Dental.

None of them had heard about the museum, so they were a great audience; I felt like one of those brave men or women long ago who'd travel to, say, Borneo, and then come home and wow the local Rotary Club with tales of their adventures.

One of the highlights of the dental museum -- but you already probably guessed this -- was the salon given over to saliva.

Did you know that every day, we each produce about six litres or maybe it's gallons of  the stuff?

At one point yesterday, the following exchange took place.

Me: "There's a part of one gallery in the museum devoted to George Washington's false teeth."

Dr. David: "They were wooden."

Me: "Nope! They were not! That was part of the mystique. Everybody thinks George Washington had wooden teeth but it's a myth."

Then I mentioned Doc Holliday, the famous deadly gunfighter who was supposedly in scores of gunfights in the old west, and who was also a dentist and whose picture hangs in Baltimore.

Dr. David was up on Holliday and had this to say:"Yeah he was also the sheriff and doctor I think. In Arizona in a town near Tuscon."

From the comfort of Dr. David's chair, I Googled Doc Holliday and learned that he never actually shot that many people; in fact maybe just two, tops.

Dr. David again: "So that's a myth, too?"

Pacific Dental: Educational and fun besides.

One time I was there talking with Paula the charming hygienist about how when we're kids we all practise saying our names backwards and we were laughing and in walks Dr. David. He asked what we were on about, I told him, and he was like, "You mean like yksnarocaS?"

Just like that as if he'd been rehearsing all afternoon, and names like his are no walk in the park frontwards or backwards.

They probably think I'm odd.

But yesterday, it occured to me why I enjoy the dentist so much.

INSERT: Me and my big mouth pun here.
Go back up to the first paragraph: Comfortable chair. Piped-in classical music. Cordial, fascinating staff.

Then there's this..

I was having my teeth cleaned. Not fixed; not removed or filled.

Cleaned. And polished. (Or, as I said to Paula, "paula-ished.")

Never, in any society in any period of time, anywhere on the planet, did regular schmoes like me actually have the time, resources or inclination to have their teeth cleaned.

Throughout all of history until, like, just recently, guys my age were lucky to have teeth. In fact, they were lucky if they got to be my age.

But me?

I was born in the most luxurious, convenient and healthy time EVER. As I said to my neighbour Bill who I ran into on my way home today, "If I wanted a kiwi fruit right now, I could get one."

Not sure why I wander around in this constant state of dumbass wide-eyed amazement but there you are.

Finally, speaking of saliva, sometimes, when I start listing all the reasons I'm lucky to be alive here and now, --"Crime rates are down! We can buy groceries in the middle of the night! None of  my generation got keelhauled off to war! World poverty is going down! (Look it up!!) We can Google historic data from the dentist chair!"--I get so irritating it's enough to make me gag.