Yesterday I spent nearly three hours in a dentist’s chair. It was not by choice. It’s not like I have some weird hobby where I just plop down in random professionals’ chairs. At least, not anymore. Not since that actuary from Macon called the police. I’m still not sure what they do, but, man, they get abnormally upset when strangers sit in their chairs.
While I really like my dentist and his staff, I loathe going to any dentist’s office. But I had no choice. No, my wife didn’t finally punch me in the mouth. She knows I bob and weave too well for that and always goes for a kick in the shins. I was at the dentist’s office because I lost a crown.
Well, I didn’t technically lose a crown. It fell out while I was in middle of some very important Sunday morning business with my 7-month-old grandson. It involves an ancient ritual that has terrified babies for centuries.
I grabbed his legs and pulled his footie-covered feet toward my mouth and said, “I’m going to eat your feet!” before making growling noises and pretending to, yes, eat his feet. He giggled heartily to cover up the extraordinary fear one must feel when a relative suggests he is about to involve you in a ritualistic act of cannibalism and you realize you’ve yet to learn how to walk, much less run away.
For the record, I wasn’t really going to eat his feet. I don’t even eat those picked pigs feet from small-town convenience stores or chicken feet or really any feet that I can think of right now. Fingers, sure, but not feet.
I thought the crown merely had slipped off, but apparently it broke — not from a baby’s kick or a wife’s punch but from grinding my teeth when I sleep, which is the hobby I took up after I had to stop sitting in people’s chairs for no good reason. Turns out that teeth grinding is a bad idea. And this broke-off crown was in front, making me look a lot like Stu from “The Hangover” after he yanked out his tooth and said, “I look like a nerdy hillbilly!” I already look like a nerdy hillbilly, so this tooth thing had to be fixed.
When the dental assistant was walking me back to the chair, she asked how I was doing.
“Well, other than feeling like Stu from ‘The Hangover’ and looking like a nerdy hillbilly, OK.”
Then she asked, “Were you eating anything when you lost your crown?”
Hmm. I could lie and say, “Why yes, I was gnawing on some beef jerky covered in molasses and Pop Rocks,” you know, so I wouldn’t seem weird. But I had to be honest.
“Um, yeah. I was eating my grandson’s feet. I mean, not literally. I only do fingers, not feet. Chicken fingers, specifically.”
“Chickens don’t have fingers,” she said matter-of-factly.
“Well, not anymore.”
I thought more folks would have come into the office as the result of baby-foot-eating, but it appears I was a first based upon her reaction, a nervous giggle that was a lot like my grandson’s. She began writing on a clipboard — likely the word “idiot” with a couple of underlines and an exclamation point. By the way, exclamation points are way undervalued!
As the dentist shoved drills, pokey things, gauze, a Dyson vacuum and my life savings into my mouth, the assistant told him, “He said he looks like, um, what was that guy, in that movie? What did you say?”
Mouth wide open and occupied, I replied as best I could, “Hoo fruh uh hain-oh-ah.”
Fortunately, the dentist is fluent in numbgum. “Ah, yes, the nerdy hillbilly.” He then ordered me to sleep with a mouthpiece to stop the grinding.
Last night, I donned a breathing strip on my nose to make sure I didn’t snore (much), put in the mouthpiece and then dreamed I was on a high school football field with a linebacker shoving his foot in my mouth. Tonight, I’m going all out and adding eye black before I doze off. Might even stretch my hamstrings before I lie down.