Last Wednesday was a very hot day in this country, with temperatures hovering around a hundred degrees. Haying is just around the corner, so we took an opportunity to have a yearly dental checkup before life gets hectic. The rigors and discomfort of sitting in a dentist chair were offset, because at least the air conditioner was turned up to a cool comfortable level.
Our long-time dentist has moved to a distant town, but because he is trained to my ways and he "caters to cowards" (I qualify), we still drive the extra miles to have him work on us. It is an hour for us to drive to any dentist, so we just drive an extra hour and a half to go see him.
The dentist runs a successful business, and has an attractive dental hygenist in his employ. This was my first encounter with this particular lady, and she did an efficient commendable job cleaning and polishing my teeth. As she worked, she commented, "Do you try to brush your teeth at least twice a day?" My garbled reply was, "Try to." Next she queried, "Do you floss your teeth?" "I did today," was my answer.
Then I couldn't help but chuckle and tell her, "It's nice to be an adult. Things are inferred and suggested, but a guy doesn't just get chewed out and the law laid on the line like a poor kid does." She smiled and agreed.
I then told her about the old grouchy dentist that handled our teeth troubles when I was a kid. He was intimidating and (at least it seemed to me) sadistically cruel and not very "user friendly" to youngsters. One time he threatened to put a stick in my mouth to make sure it stayed open wide enough for him to work. It took quite a bit of convincing on my part to head that deal off at the pass.
By the time I was eleven or twelve, I was starting to think of myself as more a "young man" than a kid. That particular day, the appointment had gone better than usual, so I was trying to make intelligent conversation to end the experience on a positive note. In as dignified a way as possible, I asked the dentist, "What kind of toothpaste do you recommend?" He gruffly replied, "Hell, it don't matter what you use. Just use something."
Another time he kept reprimanding me about all the "groceries" between my teeth. He suggested, "You should take care of your teeth and brush them regularly like your dad does." Being a smart aleck kid, I quickly said, truthfully but to dad's chagrin, "Yeah, the only time he brushes his teeth is when he comes to the dentist."
It was with great relief one day about forty years ago, when I heard that this particular 'tooth-slayer' had run off with his receptionist and skipped the country. He left a lucrative dental practice and a wife and kids, but at least my troubles were temporarily terminated.
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