Tooth and nail(s)

I hate the dentist. I’d rather eat dirt than go to the dentist. Of course, if I ate dirt, then I’d need to go to the dentist more often. It’s a vicious circle.

I had a dentist appointment today, and I suppose it went OK. The dentist was generally pleased, but then they always are. After all, I’m the one with a drill in my mouth, not him. I’ll be blunt, I am a dental weenie. An absolute coward and crybaby. (My previous dentist in Connecticut had even put a note to that effect in my records when he sent them to my new dentist here. I was warned on my first visit about biting, and was told that under no circumstances would he tolerate being grabbed by the throat.)

To keep from panicking and running out the door screaming with the little paper bib they give you flapping in the breeze, I try as much as possible when I’m in the chair to focus on something else. Anything else. This trip, I focused on the tools.

It’s amazing, and more than a little disconcerting, to realize that there’s a tremendous similarity between their tools and ours. We both have power drills, we both have hammers (ours are bigger), we both have hand tools, chisels, knives and files. The main difference, of course, is that we woodworkers never put our tools in our mouths. Well, not intentionally, anyway.

So as I’m undergoing my torture, the dentist is chattering away as is their habit, and I’m doing my best to ignore him as is my habit, when he says, “I bet I could cut some great dovetails with this thing, don’t you think?”

Now, my dentist isn’t a woodworker, so I’m guessing he Googled some woodworking terms just to toss at me and get me off guard. And as he’s chattering, he tosses in a comment about using some 120-grit sandpaper to smooth my filings.

I was really touched that he’d go to all the trouble to make me feel comfortable, and as I started paying more attention to what he was saying, responding occasionally with a muffled, “Gerfmizzle blss thagfuss,” or something like that (even I couldn’t understand what I was saying), my dental work was suddenly over. He was done and I could go home.

Can’t say I enjoyed the trip to the dentist, but I have to admit that it could have been worse. Thanks to his looking up a few woodworking terms to toss out, I actually did relax in the chair a bit more than usual.

More importantly, I never grabbed him by the throat.

Till next time,

A.J.

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