Drooling on the Pillow

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Some People on My Side of My Gums 

You get to a certain age and, man, things start giving way like you were a $1000 car. In the past six months my teeth have been blowing up like the warrenty gave out six months and one day ago. They're like firecrackers with damp fuses going off in my mouth. Pop, pop, fizzle, fizzle, pop. Three root canals and two in the last month, right next door to each other like they're discouraging each other from holding their crap together. Oh, the hell with it. Pop.

I got bad teeth from my mother. That and poor hearing. Otherwise we get along great.

Dentists have always been a problem for me. I once got a front tooth knocked out rehearsing a scene for Mr. Roberts. The tooth sheared away but the whole nerve was still there, dangling. The guy who knocked it out took me in his car to the nearest dentist, which I thought was nice since I was covered in blood down to my waist. We went in, the receptionist looked at me and goes "Do you have an appointment?" The son of a bitch wouldn't take me.

A few years later the same crown fell out while I was doing a show in Little Rock. There was a dentist across the street and I had to get it fixed by 7:30. I get in the chair, the doc seems okay, but as soon as he gets his hand into my mouth he says "Any nigras in that show of yours?" I was in that chair for most of an hour and that cracker-assed moron didn't let up for a second. Jews this, homos that. I never ran into anything like that in the south before or since and it has to be a guy with a high-speed drill halfway down my throat.

Another time I walked into a dentists office in Bayonne for a root canal. I don't know why I picked the guy. I'm pretty sure it was for no reason in particular. I knew the second I walked in it was all wrong. Shabby office, incredibly hostile receptionist, no assistant. He would stop in the middle of working on me, go to the shelf, pull out a book, consult it for ten minutes before returning to me. "Just want to make sure" he'd say with a grin. You're probably a lot smarter than me, but sometimes I find I cling to my bad decisions with a tenacity lacking in defending my best interests. It's why I'm not such a good poker player. Come to think of it that one turned out pretty well as this guy did a good job. Or not so well if you concider it reinforcement for my bad decision management.

My daughter's dentist is a babe and a doll, naturally. Wouldn't happen to me in a million years. I brought Grace in a week ago Saturday and she saw I was suffering from one of my firecrackers and wrote me an Rx for Tylenol 3. Didn't help, but in this case, I did appreciate the thought. The dentists I've had have been typically lacking in that sort of compassion.

I like the guy I have now. He's good, but the main reason is his office handles all the insurance business with no fuss and he lets me pay him off as slowly as I want. And at $1600 a root canal that makes for a very loyal customer.
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