Dear Readers and Friends,
I am writing you from the belly of the beast. That giant, white, sperm whale that bit off Ahab’s leg at the knee has nothing on the dentist.
Ever since my terrifying stint with the giant blond dentist who stabbed me repeatedly in my youth, I always feel like I am being sent to the principal’s office when I go to the dentist. And when I get to the office, the principal is JAWS! There’s no way out. She’s going to eat me alive.
This isn’t my dentist, however. I am at my son’s dentist, which I’ve nicknamed the shame office. While we wait for the dentist, my son pulls down his mask and asks, “Are you ready for your lecture?”
“No,” I say. “Stop eating candy. Brush your teeth better. I’m sick of the bad parent shame lecture.”
The whole drive over, my son contemplated an alternative to teeth.
“Why do people even have to have teeth?” he asked. “Why can’t they just yank them out and put in ones that can’t get cavities?”
“Who should yank them out? Parents? Dentists? The Government?” I ask him.
I try to be optimistic. I say “We’re lucky. There are some countries where people don’t get dental care and all their teeth all fall out.”
“Lucky,” he says. Then, “How do they eat?”
“No,” he repeats. “How do they eat?”
“Applesauce,” I repeat. I have no idea what percentage of what I am saying is true and I don’t know if they eat applesauce, but it feels like a solid answer, albeit a mushy one.
Before we leave for the dentist, I try to put on grown-up clothes. The best I can come up with is high-end camouflage denim jeans and a long sleeve green t-shirt. If the dentist is too mean, I can storm his office or join the military.
We check-in at the dentist, where the receptionist takes my son’s temperature and his oxygen level.
“Your hearts racing,” she says to him.
“He’s freaking out,” I say.
She takes my oxygen.
“So are you,” she says.
No kidding. Who wouldn’t be flipping out while they’re preparing the enter the belly of the beast, while JAWS awaits, then murders you, then sends you a bill.