Dentist: Oh, how are your wisdom teeth by the way?
Me: Guk g’huk guck, guckoo
Nurse: Much better, thank you.
Me (five minutes later, making things worse) : You see, I couldn’t speak with my mouth wide open, but I thought you were asking me about my wisdom teeth, in which case the answer would have been “fine thank you since you took them out a couple of years ago. But you let me keep them so they’re in a little wooden box with my cufflinks and my museum of human toenails. Someday I shall take them to the Manchester craft centre and have them made into earrings for Mrs Dr Brown and she will be delighted and appreciate the nature of true love!” But then I realized you were asking the nurse about hers. So that’s all fine.
Dentist: Please leave.
I don’t mind going to the dentist usually.
Even last week when I had a filling done.
Unlike the old-fashioned silver ones where they just stuff a torn off bit of crème egg wrapper into the cavity (chocolate – ironically both the cause and solution of so many of my life’s problems) this time I have a white filling.
It looks great.
In fact, it’s so good a match that I can’t even work out which tooth she’s filled.
Which makes me wonder whether she just numbed it then spent five minutes up at the head-end out of my eyeline playing sudoku and listening to Ken Bruce’s Popmaster quiz on Radio 2, then charging me sixty quid for a lie down (good value on a work day, but not so much on a day off).
Of course, there’s the issue of the Drool Event Horizon.
All the time I’m lying back with my mouth wide open I’m slowly filling up with drool.
On the one hand I could raise a hand and politely ask if she perchance has a spittoon to hand.
But this is a woman who has a syringe, a stainless steel hook and what feels like a mains-operated electric cheese grater in my mouth at any one time, so it’s in my best interests not to distract the woman and let her get about her business undisturbed.
And so, I toughen up and tolerate the drool event horizon. Until I hit the point where subconsciously – and I’m not proud of this – I find myself softly gargling along to the high bits of Harry Nilson’s power ballad “I Can’t Live, If Living is Without You.”
And then there was the time the hygienist was updating my file and I asked her if that was the same dental record as the police would use to identify me when my body is dragged out of a canal at the start of an episode of “Taggart”, and she looked at the record, then to me, then to the panic button, then back to the record and said that , yes, she supposed it was.
So I can’t really criticize her for asking me to leave.
Except that, whether we like it or not, I have to go back.
The boy currently has a grin like a bag of Scrabble tiles so we still need to keep him checked up.
And my smile still reminds passers-by of a romantic novel. Unfortunately, that novel is “Fifty Shades of Grey”, which shows that I am well overdue a scale and polish.
And so I’ll continue to turn up. Though with my wisdom teeth extractions a couple of years ago, I can now only afford to lose one tooth a year for the average British male life expectancy.
And my dentist has the dubious joy of opening a door on a truly macabre one-tooth-per-year dental advent calendar…of DOOM!