Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Clockwork Dentistry

In my continuing quest to plumb the very depths of dental anguish, I visited my dentist to get three more fillings this weekend. Somewhere between novocaine shot 7 and 12, I noticed that the dentist was chatting with the dental assistant about music.

Apparently, the receptionist at the office had made some musical choices that were driving the dentist to distraction. He was telling the assistant how music these days is just noise, but he was quick to add that when he was a kid, his parents hated his music too. I thought that was well and good. After all, you want a rather staid, unhip dentist, don't you? I mean, you don't want a dentist who's going to be rocking out while he's repeatedly jabbing high-speed rotational devices into your gumline.

"Yes," he said. "The surest way to drive someone crazy is to play music they can't stand."

The assistant laughed.

"There was even a movie where they drove this kid crazy with music. He was a hoodlum. In a gang. And they drove him crazy by strapping him into this chair and playing music he hated. Beethoven. It's called conditioning. This gang kid would just freak out every time he heard Beethoven."

The dentist chuckled.

I was about to correct him, in spite of the fact that the right side of my jaw, my entire tongue, and pretty much all of my nose were completely numb. But, again, who wants a hip dentist? I don't want a dentist who understands Kubrick movies, or calls me his droog. I just want a dentist who's absolutely, and with no questions asked, going to stop drilling when I make a piglet sound.

That's the sum total of my requisites for the dentist-patient paradigm. Just stop drilling when I make the piglet sound.

Then, he dropped a drill on my head, and we all had a good laugh.


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