Remember last week when I got a midnight message, reportedly from God? If not, go read it really quick. It's short and relevant to today's post.
Yesterday I went to the dentist after an over four year break. I'm not one of those people who fear the dentist or feel like it's the equivalent of a mini-trip to hell. Mostly I just couldn't be bothered with it. But after dealing with a sensitive tooth for a couple days and making the realization that I don't want my teeth to fall out my head, I took my recently acquired dental insurance and went on the hunt for an in-network provider. Not knowing anything about anyone, I just picked a guy near my mom's house so I could drop Anya off there.
I arrived early, anticipating paperwork and filled out the necessary information. I declined to give them my social security number and asked about what kind of x-rays they did, digital imagine or standard? The receptionist said they use the standard ones and after I made a face, she continued with, "The doctor says he can't really read the digital ones, anyway." Um, I've seen the digital ones (that's what my kids' dentist uses) and even I can read the damn things. This should have been my first clue.
I got settled into the chair almost 40 minutes after my appointment time, but since I had a book to read and nowhere to be, I didn't care mush about the time lag. The doctor came in and introduced himself, looking like he could be perfectly cast into a commercial featuring a cheesy used car salesman. Except for his smile, which I could not see; he was already masked. Anyone else find it disturbing when you can't even get a look at your dentists' teeth?
He points at my book and asks, "What's that?" I tell him the title and he says, "A novel?" Yes, it's fiction. "I don't read fiction," he proudly proclaims, "I only like to read things that are real." That's when he asked me what I do for work.
"I'm a writer." I laughed. "I also work in theatre."
"AH, theatre! I love theatre!" Maybe this guy can save himself if he truly loves theatre until, "I love that kind of theatre that the kids do with all the singing, you know, like the Christian Youth Theatre they got out there."
His idea of theatre is musicals. Sung by mostly untrained children. I should have gotten up and left the room.
"Theatre is mostly fiction, you realize?" I point out.
"No it's not. It's real. I can see the people right there."
There is no answer for that.
Then he came at me with the pick. I know that scraping teeth is not meant to be an enjoyable experience. I get that. But I have never, in my whole life, been treated so roughly by anyone. He dug the evil tooth torturer under my gums and with a quick and violent motion, yanked it forward over and over again. There was blood all over his freaking hands. He then made a comment about how close together my molars were and switched to a tiny electronic tool that made high pitched tones bounce off my jaw bone and made me think he must have learned his craft from the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. As performed by an adolescent. Who was tone deaf.
When asked at the end of my visit if I'd like to set an appointment for six months from now, I replied in the negative. I was too sore and chicken shit to tell them that I would never be back, not even if they paid me. And I was still bleeding some when I woke up this morning.
So tell me, my friends. In light of my divine message about taking care of my teeth, why did it go like that? What's the bigger message here? Is it simply that even though I thought I'd been taking horrible care of my teeth, the fact that I got out of there with nary a cavity (and alive) means that I'm taking better care of myself than I even realized? Or was it something simpler, like God has a sick sense of humor?