Copyright © 2008 D. Eric Williams
A while back my Family and I were enjoying a scrumptious meal of pecan and macaroni casserole when I remarked to my wife,
I murried my cousin!
"Wow, Hon, this pecan and macaroni casserole is really ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!"
Thinking that I had signaled a game of Alien Slaughter, everyone at the table began to throw ice cubes at me while crying out "Galactic Retina, Galactic Retina!" My wife - keen observer of human nature that she is - realized that there was something else on my mind.
"Hold it kids" she said. "I don't think Dad wants to play Alien Slaughter just now."
"What makes you think that?" I whimpered.
"Oh, I don't know - except that you're on the floor in a fetal position with tears running down your face."
She was right of course. The cause of my sudden outburst was the pain of a broken tooth. It was not as if the tooth had suddenly given way - not at all. Indeed, I had been suffering with a bad tooth for nearly a year. But like many of my fellow Americans a trip to the dentist does not appear on my top ten list of fun activities. Indeed, I would rather have my foot run over by a lawn mower than allow a masked man to probe my mouth with shiny, sharp weird shaped metal things.
"I'm going to make an appointment for you at the dentist" said Hon as she helped me off the floor. "There's no reason to - - Archibald! put that ice cube down! - - wait any longer."
"I beg to differ" I said. Bad teeth are in fashion around here. Why, just the other day I overheard an interesting conversation in the check out line at the grocery store."
CLEVE: "Hey Spindle, yer missing another front tooth!"
SPINDLE: "Yep, busted it right off whilst I was munching gravel at my cousin's wedding last week."
CLEVE: "Yer cousin? I thought you got murried last week. "
SPINDLE: "Why you dumb -- course I did. I murried my cousin!"
Hon scheduled the appointment and I dutifully arrived at the dentist's office at the arraigned hour.
In the waiting room I nervously flipped through the latest issue of "Mediaeval Dentistry Review." I paused at the article concerning the use of dental procedures during the Spanish Inquisition as a means of interrogation. Then came the fateful summons.
"Mr. Williams, Mr. David Williams?"
I rose slowly from my chair. "Yes" (I struggled to control the tremor in my voice), "that's me."
"If you will follow me please."
I glanced at the exit; unfortunately an elderly woman was just entering the waiting room. I hesitated, weighing my chances. I let out a shuddering sigh; with my luck I would become entangled in her walker and fail to clear the threshold. I glared at the old lady and then turned away, resigned to my fate.
I settled into the exam chair just as the dentist be-bopped into the room.
He had ear buds in place and I could plainly hear the selection from AC/DC that was playing.
"WELL MR. WILLIAMS - YOU HAVE A BROKEN TOOTH HUH?" the dentist
yelled. "I'VE BEEN GETTING A LOT OF BROKEN TEETH FROM UP IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS" shouted the good doctor as he inserted his arm in my mouth up to his elbow. "WOW - WHAT A MESS - LOOKS LIKE YOU'VE BEEN CHEWING GRAVEL. HA, HA, HA. CHEWING GRAVEL, GET IT?"
"Ah, oh, ah on't uneran -"
" - GOOD THING YOU CAME IN WHEN YOU DID CAUSE YOU REALLY NEED THIS ROOT CANAL BAD."
All at once the chair dropped and shifted to a 45-degree angle. The blood rushed to my head and saliva began to accumulate in the back of my throat. The dental dam previously inserted merely served to restrict my breathing.
"IF YOU FEEL ANY PAIN LIFT A HAND AND WE'LL SHOOT YOU UP SOME MORE. WELL, LET'S ROCK AND ROLL!"
The dentist leaned on the drill. Smoke and dust billowed from my gapping mouth like effluence from a furnace. Lights burst before my eyes and pain coursed through my body. I gagged, fighting for breath, fighting for life - I was unable to lift my hand - for heaven's sake - why didn't someone help me - anyone - please - help me!
At that point I must have passed out because the next thing I remember is stepping through my front door.
"Well, how'd it go" asked Hon.
"It was nothing" I said as I retrieved a plate of pecan and macaroni casserole from the fridge. "Like chewing gravel."