Nevertheless, I went to see him despite my misgivings.
I have to say, they didn't keep me in the waiting room for very long. I was in there just long enough for a woman to come out of the bathroom which I needed, do my business, and come out again, before they sent someone out to get me and drag me to the back.
The first thing they did was to force me to stand in some sort of space alien detection machine. I had to bite on a plastic handle while they spun an X-ray around my head and made a screaming sound. I mean, the machine made the screaming sound, not the dental people. For some reason they felt it very important that I put my feet totally together and keep them that way. I thought this odd, but I suspect it was a crude attempt at protected my testicles from the X-rays so that I am less likely to one day sue them for giving me testicular cancer. Actually, if they gave me that, suing would be the least of their concerns. I have a gun, dammit.
Anyway, after the space alien torture, they put me in a chair and began trying to prying all my teeth out of my gums with a small bent ice pick. None of them came loose, so they told me I need to floss more. Yeah, I totally forgot to do that since my last visit, like at all.
After carving their initials into my teeth with the ice pick, they polished my teeth. At first I thought this was a very nice thing for them to do. I was remembering when I was a little kid and I would see those ads for Pearl Drops Tooth Polish. Everyone in those ads had Donny Osmond white teeth. For those of you who don't know who Donny Osmond is, just imagine the whitest teeth you have ever seen and then brighten them by about 10 percent. That's Donny Osmond's teeth.
But getting back to my own teeth which do not look like Donny Osmond's, I quickly realized, and by quickly, I mean it took me awhile, that the real reason the dentist always has to polish your teeth is because they've carved them up with those torture devices they use to dig things out of your gums and pry things off your enamel. Carved up teeth are like a rock climbing wall in a gym for bacteria and plaque and if they just left them all carved and initialed without polishing them, the next time you came in for your visit you'd have so much plaque attached to your teeth that they'd need a jackhammer to get it off. Probably.
I'm not a dentist, but this is my best guess.
Also, I'm pretty sure that the person who invented dental tools was some kind of satan-worshipping sadist who probably tortured animals as a child.
After my torture session was over, and I am proud to say that I did not cry, the dentist came in and looked at my X-rays. He said my teeth were great and showed no problems. Then he began discussing my sinuses and allergies. I don't know why. I think he was just making small-talk from all the extra stuff in my head that was showing up in the X-ray. He even mentioned my jaw and nerve canal and things that may have related to fishing, or perhaps they were dental terms I am unfamiliar with. I just nodded.
So now I have grit in my teeth which has stayed with me all day long. Every time I visit the dentist I spend the rest of the day with grit in my teeth. It seems ironic to me that my teeth feel cleaner going into the dentist's office than they do when I come out, all gritty and scraped and polished like they are.
I have a vague memory of having made an appointment for sometime next year. Most likely I will forget all about it. And then a mysterious phone call will come and leave a message on my machine, "it's time for your check-up. Come see your dentist."
Scary damn message.