John Walker's Electronic House

by on Aug.09, 2004, under The Rest

I went to the dentist today.

Which in my case doubles up with going to see my dad at work. From close up. Far too close up. Where he’s inserting seventeen different whirring, drilling, hating machines into my mouth.

At this point I want to make some joke about how it’s a good job my dad isn’t an X, where Y would happen if I went to see him at work. But I realise that I’m already the punchline. Um, it’s a good job my dad isn’t a murderer for a living…

People often comment that it must be incredibly weird to have your dad be your dentist. But what they don’t realise is that my dad has always been my dentist. As far as my childhood was concerned, fixing your teeth was something a dad did. So in fact it’s weird that your dads don’t. What are you saying, you let some complete stranger put electric drills in your mouth? What are you, an idiot?

It’s important (to me) to point out that my dad is an exceptionally good dentist. Obviously, I’m not likely to say otherwise, but I feel I can say it with some amount of evidence on my side. I’ve had quite a few friends tell me that they’re not happy with their dentist, then see my dad, and report back that they hadn’t realised how bad their previous dentist had been comparatively. It also stops people from saying, “So does your dad treat your teeth at home?” and other peculiar questions.

Unfortunately, I have evolved beyond most humans. My bottom teeth (the lower teeth in my mouth – I don’t have freakish teeth in my bottom) have nerves that are invulnerable to even the most powerful of anaesthetics, in quantities great enough to put down a horse. My gum can be so numbed that I have no feeling down one entire side of my body, and yet still the nerves beneath my teeth are capable of detecting every moment of the drill, every poke of the double-ended metal pokey thing, even a squirt from the water-spraying squirty thing (it should be becoming clear that I have learned a great deal about dentistry throughout my life. Actually, I can do a really good impression of the drill. Ask me to do it whenever you see me) and report this sensory information back as the sort of pain that one might ordinarily associate with having your arm ripped out of your shoulder in a tug-of-war contest. It’s an otherworldly, deep, hollowing pain, tearing away at my very soul, cold, hideous and felt in every part of my body from the centre of the tooth spreading outwards in pulsing waves of torment. I wish I were exaggerating.

Today, by great fortune and the astonishing skill of my father, there was only one second of that pain. Previously when I had a problem on the other side, my dad ended up removing the nerve from the tooth, just so he could do a single thing without my curling up into a ball and sobbing on his plasticy chair. After that, it was great. He could have taken to it with a hammer and chisel, and I wouldn’t have flinched.

My nerves are better than yours. For my greatness I suffer.

I now have a better functioning mouth, and best of all, I get to hug my dentist goodbye.

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