I’ve been avoiding the chair for well over 7 years now, for reasons as various as lack of a car, lack of funds, dislike of the family dentist, Singaporean customer service, the World Trade Centre attacks and my chicken-heartedness in general.
Yesterday after girding my loins I found to my extreme displeasure the dentist had a spot today. Expecting some wee hole in the wall I gaped at this behemoth in Bourke St, all floor to ceiling pictures of laughing couples with American teeth, leather pouffes and free Internet access.
I was checked out by bouncy Stefan, who treated me to an array of modern dental technology. He had a tiny camera set into the dentist’s mirror (giving me a gruesome image of the back of my teeth), a computer screen above my head so I could see what was going on, x-rays from all angles (including one that rotated around my head) and a hilarious bedside manner.
“Give me your card!” he said. “I’m leaving here in two weeks, but I’ll still be in the city. It’s a beautiful practice, but I can’t work here any more because they’ve got shit for brains!”
Apparently I’ve been wearing the enamel off my teeth from enthusiastic brushing – the hallmark of a dentist-avoider. He suggested possible plastic covers in the future, that would in no way make me look like Miss Universe. Then he looked at my fangs from all angles, gave them a cut & polish and pronounced me free to go.
Seven years worrying for that! This bloke is so funny I’d see him every week! And this is the best bit – during his entertaining raving he mentioned something about a special deal. I looked forward to a $10 discount and a sugar-free lolly.
At reception they shoved over what looked like a bill for $975. Clutching the desk as the room swam in front of me, they pointed out that it was a quote only, for the aforementioned plastic thingos. Then they gave me the bill for the checkup, $320, which they had reduced to zero at the bottom.
All that entertainment, whiz-bang technology and amusement cost me nothing, zip! Was he a raving lunatic? WAS IT LASHINGS OF THE OLE BOO CHARM?
Then I went and spent a whole lot of money on books, so everyone was happy.