Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The parting of the teeth

"That's aces"

After a lifetime of dodging the bullet, to the dental hygienist, where I am ushered into a room full of torture equipment and advertisements for electric toothbrushes.

On the hottest day of the year, I am confronted by a small man with wispy hair, his smock done up tightly to his neck, looking for all the world like one of those small men with wispy hair that star as demented surgeons in slasher horror films about unnecessary surgery. In front of him is a tray of torture devices, all hooks and picks, fastidiously sorted – I note – by size, the sure sign of a demented surgeon with a byline in unnecessary surgery, for which people pay £47 a pop.

He has a radio in the corner of his tiny room, not playing Radio 1 or 2 or Heart FM like the other surgeons in the practice. This is playing Wagner, music to scrape teeth by.

"Do you floss?" he asks.

"Yes," I lie, but he sees right through me, and prepares his implements.

I take myself to my special place – a beach on a Pacific island where I once sat and escaped the madness of the world for one beautiful afternoon – and only emerged once he had done his worst.

There was mercifully little blood.

For the first time I notice that there is rather less teeth in my mouth than twenty minutes' previously. In fact, he has scraped off so much tartar and associated crap from my mouth that there are actual gaps between my teeth where there were none before.

"Mur?" I ask, not quite knowing how my mouth works now, but inside I am all:

 "You really should floss," he says to me, pointing a hooky thing at my face as if to say "This can go up your nose and whip your brains out like a dead pharoah, no problem at all."

"Sell me some floss," I say, not wanting my brains whipped out of my nostrils like a dead pharoah. "Do you take a cheque?"

"Yes, make it out to Dr Lecter."

I flee.

"See you in six months?"

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