I was trying hard to think of what I could give you for my homework tonight, and I was going to write a post called Me and my dog, but then I realisedI didnt have a dog. I decided that, since I didn’t have a dog to tell you about, I would have to eulogise my dentist instead.
My dentist: a plain spoken man, and stocky.
He told me today, as he was digging out the remnant of a crown with a specialist tool called, I think, a ‘rusty spoon’, that he was thinking of going to Italy on holiday. I told him Italy was nice.
That’s a lie. I told him ‘Ih-ah-ee’ was ‘ih’. He gathered the rest while gouging my gob. He’s an astute man, my dentist, and spectacled.
I think of him fondly. I even thought of him fondly when my crown chipped, the first night I was in Las Vegas of late. I was eating a slice of pizza and a salad, which I thought was hardly a fair thing to chip a crown on. It wasn’t a toffee salad, for example, which I would understand, or a pepperoni pizza with extra granite, which would be perfectly excusable. It wasn’t even a nice dinner, which is annoying, as I wouldn’t have minded standing up and feeling that sharp-edged gap so much if it was the best meal of my life. It would have seemed like tipping fate.
But no, cheap pizza and floppy salad, and as we left the restaurant, I felt the breeze tickle the corner some porcelain had recently been, and mourned it.
Then I thought of my dentist fondly.
‘Ah Graham’ I thought. “There he was, bidding me affectionate farewells, and here I am, about to storm back into his office my first day back in London, and demand my crown replaced, and tell him I’m not bloody giving him any more money.
It’s alright though, because he didn’t want any more money. He’s a reasonable man, and smiley, my dentist.
I never had thought there was a time when I would think even vaguely well of a man who spent his afternoons boring into my face with sharpened points and carving at my root canals with things named ‘the extrapolating pull-fiend’ and ‘the no.1 blade serrated-bladed fucktard-pliers. But I do.
My dentist, you see, he’s a patient man, and thorough. Well, thorough apart from the crown.
But I don’t care about the crown, because the last time but one that I visited, he gave me a sticker for being brave.
It’s true, I’m thirty this year, but after putting the crowns in, he remarked how far I’d come since I started visiting him, nerves-wise. I agreed. He said I should have a sticker for being brave. I laughed, and said I should.
Ten minutes later he saw me outside the torture chamber, as I stood at the receptionists desk.
He’s a receptive man, my dentist, and friendly.
“Where’s my sticker then, Graham?”
My dentist: Hes happy and also laughy.
“Seriously, Graham, I just gave Tracey here several hundred pounds and youre not getting the balance next time unless I get a sticker. Right now.
I realise my dentistal-fondness may sound like hard-love, cold business and barely contained fear and loathing but take my word, its difficult to start admiring a breed youve likened to the drill-happy spawn of satan for most of your life.
Cautious jokes are the nearest I can get to full-hearted love at this stage. Im like an abused schnauzer cautiously sniffing at the rear end of next doors pet shark that chewed both its rear legs off so it now has to go round on two wheels.
Tangent: I saw a dog once with two rear wheels in Kensington Gardens. Thing was, it had a handle as well – not a lead, a handle – screwed to wherever the wheels were connected. I assume so you could chivvy along if it was pulling its wheels too slowly for you.I worried for a moment that that if you pushed its handle too hard you might wear its front legs down as well.
But then I realised you would just use the handle to tip it backwards a bit so the wheels were free to move faster and the legs were free to kick about in the air, exercisingly. You would do a wheelie.
You would do a wheelie with your doggy.
I have a sticker.
I like my dentist. Im paying him to be nice to me and my teeth and he is, and I like him. And I also like my dental nurse who had no eyebrows at all during the month of October for no reason I was ever brave enough to ask about.
And I have a sticker but I am not as happy as that fact should make me, because it is a Pirates of the Caribbean sticker, with a picture of Johnny Depp with a beard.
I was hoping for a happy tooth.
So heres the thing: my shiny bright new macbook, which is enabling me to get all talkative on the train and write posts that are nine times to long and go off on unabashed tangents, has a shiny red clip-on protective cover. The protective cover now has protective stickers on, of Miffy, and dinosaurs, and whales and the like.
But there is a space reserved for a happy molar. I would very much like a happy molar for my pooter. Or even just something that says Youve been brave. As maybe if I had one, I could be. But also because in my long-enough life, I have always been terrified and rubbish at the dentist, and for the first time, in this little area of my life – I HAVE been brave, and also, thank you to the magic Graham, I have happy molars.
Apart from the chipped crown, but thats a work in progress and no, Im still not giving anyone any more bloody money.
Anyway. Apart from that Im a brave little molar-soldier with happy happy teeth.
So. If you have a Nice and Friendly Dentist who happens to carry Happy Tooth stickers for his bravest young (I am only 29) patients, then, you know, can you snaffle me one next time youre there? Or in fact, if you ARE a Nice and Friendly Dentist – and Im beginning to believe that you exist, as a party, as a people – then
Can I have a happy tooth now?