Do you think that gem was crafted by:
A) my dealer
B) my dominatrix
C) my psychiatrist
D) none of the above
If you answered “D,” give yourself a sloppy kiss.
Let me backtrack. I was having a little trouble with bleeding gums. By little, I mean that when I brushed my teeth, I looked uncannily like an extra from Dawn of the Dead. My dentist sent me off to “a gum man.”
Doesn’t that phrase make you think of Willie Wonka? Of a friendly guy, maybe in clown shoes, who hands out sticks of Juicy Fruit and makes balloon animals? You don’t picture a unibrowed, hairy-fingered schlub in scrubs who licks his lips shiny while injecting you with novicaine, do you? Because I certainly hadn’t. I also hadn’t anticipated that he’d try to pull a tooth before the novicaine kicked in, especially since I had just told him it took extra time to work on me.
I felt immediate, electric, eye-watering pain. My body went rigid and the dental/torture scene from Marathon Man flashed before my eyes as his fuzzy caterpillar fingers squeezed the clamp around my molar.
I stared up at his unibrow in shock, then tried to Vulcan mind-meld him into remembering the “Signs that my patient is in agony” lesson from whatever Caribbean dental school he’d barely graduated from. No luck. In desperation, I pulled the saliva-sucking fish hook (I hate that thing; we send crawly things to explore Martian craters, can we not apply a little technological savvy to upgrading the saliva-sucker? ) out of my mouth and yelled for him to stop.
He asked me why. I mentioned searing pain.
And that’s when he said I was confusing pain with pressure. Has anyone not suffering from major neurological damage ever, in the history of humankind, ever confused pressure and pain? What kind of unbridled arrogance does it take to try to rip a molar from my skull with pliers, then assume I’m wrong when I say it hurts?!?
The kind of arrogance that takes balls. Literally. I don’t think a female dentist makes that mistake, but maybe I’m just confusing the memory of blinding pain with feminism.
I told him I had been through 31 hours of labor with my daughter, and I damn sure knew the difference between pressure and pain. If he were confused, I’d be happy to tighten the dental pliers around his balzac until the distinction was clear.
I took his silence for a “no,” and got the hell out of there. I think I still owe the Dope of the Day a co-pay, but he’ll have to settle for this award.
K A B L O O E Y is a 47 year old non-practicing filmmaker who lives with Phineas at an undisclosed suburban location. Their three kids are Moochie (6), Lonzie (20) and The Big Puppy (22). She (who am I kidding, I’m writing this myself) tweets @kblooey and has two goals: 1) To make creative work a central part of my life, and 2) To keep my family from needing the services of the Supernanny.