Gummed Up

The most important thing about going to the dentist is underwear selection. I thought of that today after the x-rays but before the cleaning with the little screaming air drill started. I thought of how much worse it would all be if my underwear bunched up and I had to readjust myself, as men say, I love that, I need to readjust myself, just when some vital scraping is occurring.

You can’t just hold up a finger and mouth ‘wait a minute’ at the hygienist and then tug at your jeans. It’s not befitting as people used to say, not befitting someone of my station. I’m not nine. Sit still, I tell myself. Stop fidgeting. Stop thinking about your underwear. Don’t second guess yourself.

They make me wear sunglasses at the dentist. The first time I joked that they made me feel like Ray Charles and their big ‘oh dear we shouldn’t say such things’ looks were searing. Ray Charles wore sunglasses, okay? It’s not some huge racist thing to say I felt like Ray Charles when I was wearing sunglasses. Jesus, I wanted to say. Don’t you know who I am? I’m way ahead of you on this being on the right side of everything.

I was supposed to get a crown replaced today in addition to the cleaning but they screwed up on time and I got to reschedule. It was an enormous gift that made me happy the entire day, my escape from all the whirring and little sucking up hoses. Laying there during the cleaning, I remembered dear Dr. Potter, my dentist from long ago when I was divorced and making $5 an hour. He sang to me. She broke her tooth on a gummy bear and now she knows life’s not fair.….and he let me pay off the $250 charge for a crown over the course of a year. He retired and I stopped going to the dentist for a long time which was a mistake but one that got lost in a forest of mistakes.

Today I asked my current dentist, the one with a butch cut and 3 day beard, if anyone liked coming to the dentist. He said, “A few people do but it seems weird to me.” He should try singing.

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