Friday, July 21, 2006



When Dan finally arrived he was twenty minutes late and more than a little bit irritated. He checked in, apologized, and sat down on the couch with a magazine. To his surprise it only took a few minutes before his name was called. The new girl Janice, led him through the maze of hallways back to room number 4 and helped him get settled in.
"Doctor Tee will be with you in a few minutes."

"Thank you", Dan answered with a smile.

Bonafacio Tee, was from the Philippines but had lived in the United States for most of his life. They had gone to school together and were fairly good friends. “What’s up A-team?” Dan greeted him as they shook hands. Tee has heard some form of this greeting hundreds of times since Dan introduced him to that show back in High School, still laughs and says “I pity to the fool!” After exchanging pleasantries, he tilts Dan back in the chair and reaches up to pull the light in for a closer look.

Over the years Dan had met lots of people through Tee from the Philippines. Most of them, like Tee do a good job of learning English even if they never quite manage to lose the accent. However, while they are learning and are in that transitional stage, they use what Dan calls PhilipEnglish. This at times produces results that are quite funny, especially to Tee. He refers to this hybrid language and the people who speak it as ‘pinoy’. As a big fan of horror thrillers and sitcoms Dan’s imagination often runs away with him. Even when his body is clearly in the real world his imagination is off in shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and Curb your Enthusiasm…….

Off in a horror movie like Christine, the exorcist……

Off in a book like Lord of the rings, the gunslinger, or whatever……

On this day as they tilt him back and shine that light in his eyes, it immediately makes him think of a German interrogator saying “veeee half vays of making you talk.” That and the impending fear of being asked the question, “is it safe?” His mind somehow takes all these ingredients, German interrogators, Philippenglish, horror movies, and sitcoms and jumbles them all together to make some sort of weirdo stew. With this light shining in his eyes he imagines Tee deadpanning “Vee half vays of making you to conversate.”

“What is so funny?” Tee asks. Dan shakes his head to say nothing and congratulate himself great poker face there Dan, no wonder you always lose.

Dr. Tee slides effortlessly across the floor on the stool, grabs something and returns. Dan watches this and doing so brings out the little boy in him.

Wow that’s a cool stool. I bet I could sit on that, spin and make 33 revolutions before stopping or falling off dizzy!…..

I bet he does that when his wife or staff isn’t around. 10 years of schooling would be worth it just for that benefit alone.

I wonder if they have stool races up and down the hall after hours……I want to work here, that would be a blast.

Dan and Dr. Tee make eye contact and in Dan’s imagination they hold a bit of a telepathic conversation. Dr. Tee looks guiltily at him, once again reads his face and sends:

Doc: okay okay, I ‘forgot’ that over there on purpose just so I could roll over to get it and come back wheeeeeee!!

Dan: I KNEW it!

Doc: These stools are the blast.

Dan: I think you mean bomb Doc, These stools are the bomb.

Doc: Damnit! Even in telepathic conversations of your mind I speak PhilipEnglish?

Dan: yeah, sorry but I find it funny.

Doc: (leaning forward and telling him to say ahhhh) “Is it safe?”

Dan: (eyes widening in fear) what!!????

Doc: (laughing) “See? You no be the only one that can be a smartass.”

Dan: touché’ Doc, consider us even

His assistant is to Dan’s left, in charge of the water pick and the vacuum straw. Dan thinks, not for the first time, that these things are being seriously misused. Have someone passed out on the floor and not breathing? (Enter shimmering lighting effects of imagination here)

(Nurse runs up to doctor pushing the big bulky machine) “Here you go Doc want me to charge the paddles?

Doc: “No no, get that out of date piece of crap out of here! This is a bad one, time to bring in the big guns.”

Nurse: “you mean?”

Doc: “yes, get the Dental vacuum straw thingy! Quick! We are losing him!”

Nurse inserts straw into patients mouth, Doctor grabs his lips, begins to close them around it and out of old habits screams “Clear!”

Nurse: “Doc, you know you don’t have to ‘clear’ with this thing. It is the T7400!

The doctor closes the patient’s lips around the tube. The patient’s body convulses like it has suddenly been possessed by the demon in the exorcist. Heart, liver, kidneys and various body parts cling to each other trying not to get sucked out like spaceships into a black hole……..

A few terrifying seconds pass in utter silence. Then the heart monitor begins to beep yet again. Doctor, patient, nurse and on lookers breath a huge sigh of relief. The T7400 has come through yet again.

Back to reality:
Doctor Tee, Dan sees is on his right and presumably is handling all the important tools. The lovely Janice, is still on his left assisting when necessary. Hmmm no ring he thinks, I wonder if she would be interested in me?

The Novocain has set in completely by now. Dan is not sure where exactly his bottom lip is, but last time he felt it, it was hanging down around his nipples. Janice hands Dr. Tee the tiny metal pick that reminds him of Doctor Hook’s prosthetic hand from the old cartoon. He must have flinched a bit because Tee asks him if he is alright.

“Yeah I am fine” Dan tries to say.

Between the Novocain, having his mouth open, and squirts of water threatening to drown him at any moment, it comes out more like “ahhhhhh imbbb bind. They begin drilling, cleaning or whatever it is they were doing at that moment. Dan has no idea, since his eyes have been closed for the most part and he is trying and failing to get his imagination to take him somewhere like a beach to relax. He doesn’t want to open them for fear of seeing them coming at him with the actual Sears and Roebuck circular table saw that the evil part of his mind insists on producing. Screw you Stephen King I will never buy another of your books!

Sensing a brightening sensation, he opens his eyes to see they have pulled the light down even farther and are both peering into the depths of his open mouth. Damn, she IS cute. He fights the urge to laugh as something he has never considered before pops into his brain. Ahhhhh crap, I hope I don’t have any boogers in my nose. Nothing ruins the chances quicker than that.

He thinks of all the times as a bartender or waiter or on his blog he has wondered something along the lines of ‘why don’t people use a little courtesy and all ask for a refill while I am at the table? Why do they wait till I get back with one before the other pipes up, ‘oh I will have some more tea too?”

Great, she will be posting on her blog called ‘dental rant’ about the Jackass with the boogers who made it into the chair today! She will be asking her readers why people don't make an effort to avoide that since from their perspective they have a total view of the nostrils when someone is in the chair.

He is shaken out of this reverie by Janice who squirts a bit of water into his mouth with the water pick and then uses the T7400 to suck it all right back out. Leaning back in the chair he wonders if anyone has ever drowned while in the dentist chair.

Wonders if she ever sees just how far she can push it before saving someone with the straw.

He considers swallowing but that bastard Stephen King warns him not to or it will cause his tongue to come into contact with the whirling gadget in his mouth, and surely lop it off. The sound of this whirring mingles with the sound of squirting water, the straw sucking, and his own attempts at breathing.

Dr. Tee(I pity the fool!) presses a button and the whirring begins anew as Dan feels something press against his tooth. The result isn’t quite dark enough to be burning rubber. Nor is it quite light enough to be fresh sawdust either. It does however, have the taste and or smell of something in between those two extremes. Dan drags himself back to that sandy beach, back to waves crashing in the sand. He even sees Janice there in the lounge chair beside him sipping on a pina colada with one of those frilly umbrella straws. The booger incident has apparently been overcome but when you get her drinking she won’t hesitate to tell people at parties all about it.

Dan is enjoying this daydream when his face being pulled to the right shakes him out of it. He opens his eyes to see Doctor Tee on his right and is stunned to realize he is staring directly at his crotch. Great, from one extreme to the other, come back Janice come back! His eyes are only open for a brief moment but what he sees he knows will haunt his dreams this evening. His imagination takes yet another leap. He pictures Seinfeld doing the beginning of another show.

“What is with people forgetting to zip up? I mean that happens to the best of us right? Have you ever walked around all day and found out three hours later your zipper was down?”

“Can you imagine being at the dentist and realizing in the middle of the exam that your Dentists zipper is down? Can you imagine that to make things worse, he has apparently decided to go commando on this of all days? How brutal would THAT be?”

Pretty damn brutal Jerry, pretty damned brutal thank you very much! he answers.

Dan winces at the thought and tries to turn away. “No, stay still” the doc warns.

“your pants” Dan tries to protest but it comes out more like “oaahhhhh annnnthhhh”

“what about your hands? are you okay?”
Dan darts his eyes over to Janice. He doesn’t want to embarrass his friend Tee(I pity the fool indeed!),in front of her but doesn’t see much of a way around it.

He takes a moment to beg his bottom lip to come back just for a moment. He begs for a chance to get the straw and vacuum out of the way so he can talk normally. His begging goes unanswered. He motions tee in close.

“your pants” he tries to whisper. “Oahhhh anthhhh, oahhhh annthhhh ahhhh ohhhfen”

“what? I am sorry, but I can’t understand you.”

This clearly isn’t working so he tries another approach. “ennnithhhh!”

A confused look crosses their faces and it is clear this may be hopeless.


“eggs?” Dan shakes his head in frustration. By the grace of God Janice is called to the front desk. Tee tells her to go ahead and see what is going on. As soon as she is gone Dan tries again, finally at least not having to be quiet about it.

“eddddttttttth, iiiiiiiiiiiiiii,,,,,,,,,thheeeeeeeee”

Taking the straw and the drill out of Dan’s mouth, Tee still looks at him totally confused.

Finally in exasperation, Dan sits up and shouts, “XYZ you bastid, XYZ!”

Vee half vays of makin you conversate indeed!



susanna said...

Yes, dentist visits can be very strange. We're put into awkward poses, our mouths are forced open and then we're tortured for 15 to 20 minutes. And then we pay for it.

PS: Thanks for visiting my blog. My sister had a hoot reading your comment. She completely agreed with you that I had written a crabby post and should look back to brighter days. It was like a little, swift kick to the pants! :)

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heather said...

i still think you should have teased us with this one and broken it up into 2 or 3 posts. one of my favorite posts of yours though.