After ten minutes in the chair, I was getting tired of it, and growing increasingly anxious. The lady that was buzzing, drilling, and whirring away at my set of chewers was careful and professional, but things were taking too long. Too long is not good. Too long is worrying. Too long is when my anxiety flares up. I think she felt my pulse rise, and my breaths shorten, as she reassured me that she was almost done with the most impeccable timing. A minute later my teeth were cleaned of the accumulated horrors of a year and a half. I absolutely hate dentists. I once managed to dodge appointments for 11 years, until I moved into an apartment that looked onto a dentistry practice directly across the street. (My teeth were miraculously flawless.) Since then, my wife makes me go. Or well, that, and fatherhood brings up the responsible person in me, and I have to set a good example. This morning, ‘good example’ was all that went through my head, as the lady cleaned my teeth, as the rest of the family looked on. Don’t be weak, Robin. Look strong. I hope it looked cool from a distance, because I certainly didn’t fool the dentist’s assistant. After she was done, the dentist came in, and he carefully expected every tooth, as they discussed my dental collection in a strong Bavarian dialect. My Bavarian is poor, but I could pick out several things loud and clear. Several teeth and molars were described as ‘exclamation marks’. You better believe that describing the teeth of someone with an elevated anxiety for dentists, like me, is not so wise. I already jumped ahead a couple of steps, and saw him pull out three-quarters of my trusted tool kit. The further he moved along my teeth, the more exclamation marks accumulated. ! ! ! ! ! ! Now, I don’t have a clue what an exclamation mark represents in dentistry, and obviously I don’t want to know. However, I was surprised to hear the ‘all good, see you in another year’, after he was done.
Whatever impression I made on my son, I can’t say for sure. He kept his mouth so firmly shut, that the dentist didn’t even try to look. Not even presents could make him open his firmly locked jaws. I wonder whom he got that from?