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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Dentist

Today I went to have my teeth cleaned and inspected. I think it is called a "checkup." I have a problem with dentists. I could be from my childhood but I really don't think it was the dentist. I think it is me.
I tend to gag when objects are stuck into my mouth.
My childhood dentist didn't really understand that. He was the old style dentist with the white smock and the white tiled dentist room, with the white enameled torture devices that all dentists use. He would come after me with a needle full of novacaine and a screaming drill and I would gag. I can smell the burning tooth enamel and feel that rubbery numbness in my gums to this day.
Once I went and was really good and Mom bought me a lego set. This was back in the days when legos came in the little plastic trays. I got to stay home the rest of the day from school and play with legos. Mom had a migraine headache and lay down on the couch. I played with my legos on the old carpet. I had some small red baseplates and I was building a tower. That is all I remember.
Novacaine made my Mom sick and so she never took it for tooth repair. Mom was pretty tough.
When I was just out of high school my dentist announced that I would have to have my wisdom teeth pulled. I didn't go back to the dentist for over a decade. I didn't go until after I was married and my teeth hurt enough I had to go.
We had health insurance so there was no reason not to do it. I had them knock me out. I was sick in the parking garage. When we got home my wife put me to be and told me to stay. I was really groggy and pretty much out of it.
I'm laying in bed having a strange dream about chickens and then I realize those chickens are outside the bedroom window. I staggered out of the house to see two huge Rotwielers after our flock of freerange chickens. This was not such a crisis in itself as the chickens were a bit of a pain. However, my crippled but still insane German Shepherd was dragging herself across the driveway after the big dogs.
I staggered back in the house and grabbed my Ruger Mini-30 and a couple clips and wobbled back to the porch. I threw up the Ruger and let loose. I could see the bullets hitting and making little craters in the driveway but I could hit the stupid dogs. I emptied the first five round magazine and popped in the second. (I understand that any self respecting farmer should have at least a couple 20 rounders handy but I did not)  As I popped in the second magazine I realize that I had the rear sight folded down. At thsi point the dogs had seperated and the one holding the chicken was 100 yards across the field. I just threw the rifle up and when I saw the brown doggie but in the peep site I pulled the trigger. The dog seemed to pick up speed and vanished behind the old threshing machine behind the barn.
I stopped a second and collected my thoughts. I was standing in my underwear on the back porch, under the influence of painkillers and had just touched of 6 or 7 rounds of obnoxiously loud 7.63x39mm hollowpoints right next to a busy highway. I walked around and inspected the barn, fueltanks, cars, what ever for bullet holes. I found five craters in the lawn and driveway. I looked across the field and there was the doggie with the chicken. I shot in right in his brown doggie bottom. The bullet had come out his mouth, blowing internal chunks of maurading dog and unfortunate chicken all over. Dispite his injuries he had ran on another 100 feet.
I bundled him into a couple extra large hefty garbage bags and heaved him in the back of my pickup. It was all I could do to get him in there. I covered the bags with an old tarp and I went back to bed.
The next day I dumped the doggie at a farm we rented and decided to just keep my mouth shut.
Several years later I was talking to my crusty old neighbor across the field. I was well aware of that afternoon and who shot Cujo. Apparently his house was directly in line with my line of fire. Out of range and behind some trees. He heard the whole thing and saw the lone dog headed for home. The owner of the dog was quite upset but he said he told her nothing. The dogs had threatened him and his wife in the past and he was glad to see it gone. I was a bit embarrassed by the whole thing but he thought it was funny.
I like my dentist now. At our first meeting I explained my problem with gagging when fingers and objects of dental torture and stuck in my mouth. I explained that I had read the book "Marathon Man" but had not seen the movie and frankly dental business sort of disturbed me. She was quite nice and showed me how to avoid gagging by changing where I put my tongue. Plus, I always have an interesting conversation. This year I went two times in one year. She said I had to have two cleanings as I never floss. I actually kept my appointments. I think I have grown emotionally as a human being.

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