I haven’t been to a dentist since I was 18-years-old. I’m now 41-years-old. For those of you bad at math, I haven’t been to a dentist in 23 years. The last time I went was at the urging of my parents before I went off to college. I was still on my parents insurance and they paid for the whole shebang. I remember it being painful, full of screeching drills and the smell of smoking teeth. I remember shots (notice the plural) in my mouth that didn’t seem to numb everything the way they were supposed to. I remember thinking to myself that the dentist was a skinny little preppy dude, and my 18-year-old body, fresh out of four years of high school football, could kick this jerk’s ass. I’m pretty sure that dentist was about one drill insertion away from having a little dental work done himself… at no charge. That was then.
This is now. I no longer fear the pain. The thought of having some dude sticking his hairy fingers in my mouth is unsettling, but it doesn’t prevent me from having my oral orifice examined. I don’t go to the dentist for the same reason that I don’t see a psychiatrist (of which I am plenty in need of seeing), I don’t go to a chiropractor, I forgo the use of an attorney, and I seldom set foot in a doctor’s office; I hate senators and school superintendents and city managers and CEOs and Hollywood actors and rock stars and successful entrepreneurs.
I have a severe case of class envy.
I hate people who are successful and make a lot of money. I don’t hate them for what they have… I hate them for making me realize what I do not have. I don’t hate them for their outgoing personalities and successful traits… I hate them for making me realize how low my self-esteem is and how my traits all suck. I don’t hate their money… I just do everything I can to not add to their wealth by sacrificing any of my lower-middle-class income to them. That’s one of the main reasons I hate paying taxes… because I know part of what I pay goes into those $150,000 salaries of those morons in Washington who can’t pull their heads out of their asses for long enough to do what’s right for the country.
I remember when I first moved to Scottsbluff, NE. I was in my early 20s and pretty fresh out of college. I was an assistant manager at Sherwin-Williams… you know… the paint store. That’s right… first job out of college was in retail management. Explains a lot about why I think life sucks, huh? I remember my college professors all warning about jobs in retail. “Once you go into retail, it’s very hard to get out… or to do any better.” I was hesitant to go into retail, but after sending out hundreds of resumes with only a handful of resulting interviews and only one actual job offer, I didn’t feel I had much choice. I took what was offered. So, I end up in Scottsbluff, NE making a salary of like $17,000/year working 45 to 55 hours per week. I knew this wasn’t a lot of money, but I could afford a crappy, mildew covered, bug infested little basement apartment, and I could pay my bills and put food on the table. Not good food, mind you, but food. I was also able to keep up on the repayment of the thousands of dollars in student loans I had accumulated. College… funny huh? You spend thousands of dollars on an education that never really seems to pay for itself. Where’s the ROI on a stupid business degree? I guess if you’re a doctor or lawyer, you must finally realize some return on that investment, huh? Anyways, even though I was making pretty crappy money for a college graduate, I was still pretty naive and felt that life might still work out and that hard work would provide it’s benefits in the future. In other words, I was still stupid
I can remember when my attitude started to change… when I experienced my “awakening”. I was driving in downtown Scottsbluff (it’s about five blocks long, so it was a short drive), when I was passed by a car. This was not just any car, this was a fancy little BMW sportster. You know, a silver little two-seater convertible jobbie. And it had vanity plates.
And guess what vanity was expressed on those stinking license plates?
I crap you not. Some dentist was driving around town in a $40,000-plus sports car and was letting everyone know that he bought that car through the cavities of the little children. That is the exact moment that I decided that I was never going to go to a dentist again. I was never going to help some arrogant SOB buy his next Mercedes or Beemer or country club membership or vacation condo in Las Vegas or Miami. Thanks for the invitation, but I’m afraid that doesn’t sound like the kind of party I’m interested in attending. Gather your wealth through the teeth of some other miserable assistant manager at some other crappy retail establishment, I’m gonna peace-out on this one.
And I have been peaced-out ever since. My teeth, of course, are falling apart. They are stained and cracked and filled with cavities. I don’t think there is much enamel left, because sometimes too hot or too cold makes them hurt. One of my back teeth that was filled decades ago when I last visited a dentist has had a huge crack down the side of it for almost 15 years. Finally, a couple of nights ago while eating spaghetti (spaghetti, for crying out loud), that back half of the cracked tooth just disappeared. I must have swallowed it. Better I use it as roughage then let some dentist charge me hundreds of dollars to fix. I have a wisdom tooth that has been trying to come in for the past 20 years, and it’s growing out of the side of my jaw. It gets a little sore and leaks a little pus from time to time (I originally wrote that “my tooth gets a little pusy from time to time”, but I originally thought “pus” had two s’s… and that sentence made me laugh for longer than was appropriate, so I changed it… and then I pointed it out again here, because… damn it, it’s just funny).
The strange thing is, my mouth never really hurts. Aside from the occasional sensitivity issues, and the wisdom tooth acting up on occasion, I feel little pain. I know there have to be tons of cavities in that sucker. I know all of the crack and chips should probably cause some discomfort, but they don’t. Even when that stupid wisdom tooth starts acting up, I just gargle with some peroxide, and it feels better. I brush at least twice a day, and I floss… I floss on occasion (special occassions, like Christmas and Martin Luther King’s birthday).
I know that I should probably go to see a dentist. Modern dentistry is what sets us apart from neanderthals… like the British. I know I could probably extend my miserable existence (oh yeah) by taking better care of my teeth. I can just picture the look on the dentist’s face the first time he gets a gander inside my mouth. You know how in cartoons the eyes roll like slots into dollar signs? Well, my dentists eye’s are gonna roll into Beemers. I just know it.