August 22, 2014
Have you been to the dentist recently? It sure is fun. I would say that on a rating scale from one to 10, where 10 is the mostest fun and one the least, I would rate dental work as a minus 13.
Nothing personal about this statement. I have the best dentist in all of the Muncie-Yorktown-Normal City area. I will not mention his name because he is totally booked up now and doesn't need any grouchy new clients with lousy teeth, such as you have.
Oh, well, I'll tell you his name. It's Dr. Tom Clark.
Also, his technicians — dental hygienists — are the best on this side of the state.
So, why don't I enjoy going to the dentist? Well, they lay you down on a rigid couch, take away your spectacles, take away your fake dentures and your dignity and shine a bright light in your eyes so you can't see.
I always ask them if I should take out my hearing aides. Could their machinery burn them out?
"No," they say, but now since my last trip to the dentist my hearing aides play rock and roll music all the time, and I prefer symphony and jazz.
Then they put all kinds of tools in your mouth — tools that buzz and beep and grind and squirt and pick away at unseen debris. "How are you doing?" they ask. "Oh, just fine," I say, "couldn't be happier!" What a lie!
I try to hypnotize myself when I go the dentist. It doesn't work. The dental technicians nearly always manage to find a cavity or two. I tell them that if they won't tell the dentist, I will slip them a big tip. They always welch to the dentist.
They ask me if I "floss." This seems important to them, so I always say "yes."
Whatthehell is flossing? I don't know. I remember that in high school, they had us read a book called "The Mill on the Floss." I didn't like this book, and what does it have to do with your teeth? I don't know. They ask if I brush three times a day. Are they talking about my hair? "No, your teeth, dummy!"
They ask if I brush for two full minutes? Look, I just brush till I get bored and tired. Do they want me to get a stop watch? Yes!
They ask if I use an "electric tooth brush?" No. I don't want to get electrocuted! What will they think of next? An electric back scratcher? An electric can opener?
I went to a swimming pool with my great grandson. A sign by the pool said, "No running or jumping. No diving in the shallow end. Take no food into the pool. No playing of water tag, water polo, or Marco Polo." What did that leave for him to do? Not much. So, he pushed me into the pool at the deep end, and I can't swim. The life guard in the bikini got me out. OK.
When you get old everything seems to be a problem. My automobile has a control switch on the steering wheel that says "Cruise Control." What is this? A switch to start a Tom Cruise movie? A switch to get you to slow down? Anyway, I don't cruise, I drive.
I'm still trying to find the horn button on my four-year-old car. My wife pointed out a symbol of a bugle on my steering wheel. "Press that," she said. For crying out loud, if I wanted a bugle concert, I would turn on the radio. Only problem, I don't know where the radio control is.
Passed by an auto service place. A big sign read, "Have you flushed your radiator recently?" No, and I don't want to. Furthermore, is there a chrome-plated flush lever — like on a toilet — on the left side of my engine cowling? Not that I can see.
I'll let the guy who buys my car worry about that, but I'm not planning to sell it any time soon. My car is an old-fashioned gasoline job. If I buy a new one, I'll have to worry about whether to get a flex-fuel or an electric car or a hydrogen cell job or a hybrid. What's with this hybrid? Are they cross-breeding cars back in Detroit?
Don't give me the lurid details. Cars of different makes copulating in a big company parking lot to make a hybrid? What is this world coming to? What happened to common sense?
Whatsamatter with doing things the way we used to do? Gimme the good old days. Come to think about it, they weren't too good, either.
Phil Ball is a retired Muncie physician and contributing humor writer to The Star Press. This article was originally published on The Star Press website.