A Lighter View Who is that masked man?
By Karen M. Morris, Humorist
I carry three things in my purse: needle-nose pliers, scissors to cut my kids food (the 19-year-old is starting to complain when we eat in public), AND floss. When it comes to my teeth, I have a severe case of separation anxiety…I dont want to lose them.
For years, Dr. Moe Lars was my dentist. He had a spit bowl that looked like a miniature toilet constantly flushing, and his hygienist was also his receptionist, and accountant. Dressed in colorful alpaca sweaters, Dr. Lars hummed show tunes while he worked. The man was a genius; he knew the songs to every Broadway musical.
During a routine amalgam filling, Dr. Lars told me I was a tooth grinder and said that at the rate I was going, my teeth would be the size of Tic Tacs by the time I was old enough to vote. Overwrought, I missed the spit bowl. Karen, he said wiping my drool off his shoe, dont neglect your teeth.
Ive never forgotten what Dr. Lars told me. I have every flavor of floss except low-cal chocolate. I get my teeth cleaned three times a year and demand a full set of mouth X-rays, even if Im only stopping by to pay my bill. At my wedding, I wore a plastic mouth guard. My tongue hung out and I whistled when I said my vows but I still had all of my teeth.
When our family moved, the first thing I did was look for a dentist to get my teeth X-rayed and measured. Id heard about a man with a reputation for being on the cutting edge and the best in the tooth biz a Dr. Whitey Choppers. We had a get to know you appointment, and I was impressed. He had everything you could want in a dentistcomfortable waiting room furniture, current issues of People magazine, and small hands.
Weeks later, I woke up with a sick tooth. She was all achy, refused food, and screamed when anything touched her. By all appearances, I had either lockjaw or mercury poisoning. In a state of panic, I raced to Dr. Choppers office and told the staff my diagnosis. They told me to take a seat and the doctor would see me shortly. So, I curled up in a ball and moaned. Then, I laid across three chairs and thrashed. Finally, I kicked the gentleman next to me and whispered, Help me to an elderly woman across the room. The other patients insisted the doctor see me next.
A hygienist named Lisa called my name and had me follow her to a small cubicle with a motorized chaise lounge. I hopped aboard the leather bull, and tried to start it up. Before I knew it, the chair was spinning.
Please dont do that, said Lisa. Why dont you lie back and get comfortable while I get your chart?
I liked Lisa. She had great hair. When she came back, Lisa found me hovering near the ceiling. She slowly lowered my chair and smiled. Here, she said, handing me a paper cup, swish this around your mouth. I swallowed it and handed her the crumpled cup. That was mouthwash; you werent supposed to drink it. I told her I was hypoglycemic and consumed it for medical reasons.
Next, Lisa tried to put a bib on me. I grabbed her hand and yelled, I cant breathe! Its choking me! She pointed out that she hadnt hooked it up yet and I could resume breathing. Everything was going well until she lowered my head. Being short and slightly overweight, I started slipping down the chaise lounge. I tried to stop my descent, but, within five minutes, I had skidded out of the chair and back out to the waiting room.
Lisa retrieved me and put me back into the chair. Before I let her look in my mouth, I asked for a shot. She said it wasnt routinely done for a visual exam, but shed mention it to the doctor. When she tried to pry my lips apart, I started to gag. I told her I had a trigger throat and asked for a shot, again. Lisa smiled and said she would get Dr. Choppers.
I was trying to access my Hotmail account on the cubicles computer when I heard raspy breathing like Darth Vader. I turned and saw someone in more protective gear than a Mercury astronaut. He had booties, a plastic face shield and glasses with magnifying tentacles. Frightened, I pointed and screamed, Who is that masked man!
Dont be a fop, replied Lisa, thats Dr. Choppers.
Choppers discovered a hunk of floss embedded near a molar. Lisa gave me some mouthwash in case my blood sugar dropped again. And I went home with all my teeth.