Monday, April 19, 2010

"Everything's Amazing And No One Is Happy"

So I'm back from the dentist...just the cleaning by the non-gentle hygenist. I had declined the $10,000 (or thereabouts) x-ray that the hygenist insisted I needed. So she went and tattled to the big cheese, the dentist himself, who came and gave a 2 second poke and prod (one second each) and gravely told her, "put a 'watch' on #18, lower." I'm not worried though. I saw right through their little game: all of it was just a ruse to get me to beg them for an x-ray.

As I lay there with this woman's latex-gloved hands in my space-invaded mouth, I gave in to the thoughts of how much I hate this. I know we all hate the poking and scraping and poking and invasion of the personal space and the poking and the spit-sucking tube...and the poking. I remember thinking, "Ugh, this is so irritating to live in this broken world where Entropy rules and we do our feeble best to stem the tides of tartar, plaque and tooth decay." *grumble, grumble*

Janie and I just watched an episode of the 19th Century British-against-the-French series called Sharpe (with Sean Bean as Major Richard Sharpe, if you know him. Our library has the whole 16 dvd series). This one character, Sharpe's Irish right-hand man named
Harper, had a really bad toothache, and he wasn't much use on the battle field as they fought against Napoleon's army. Finally, Sharpe commanded some of his men to hold Harper down while he (Sharpe) attempted to yank that bad tooth with his bare, hygiene-deficient hands. We winced as we watched the gruesome (yet kind of funny) scene. Of course, he botched it badly and Harper himself roared, "gimme them pliers!" He miserably grabbed the tooth and, with much agony and blood, ripped the thing out of his own head. It was awful.

I of course thought of that scene this morning and I had to catch myself as I looked around the room: the place was immaculate, the tools she used were cleaned (sterilized even), the chair was comfy (I've always wanted one for home), there was electricity, the place was climate controlled, the staff were all professional and courteous, and though we take it for granted, the technology is amazing: even basic x-rays that can look inside your head without the dentist having to cut you open to have a look - even those are digital and instantaneous. Plus, I got a free toothbrush.

We should be happier about going to the dentist.

All of that made me remember someone had showed me this guy who was on Conan (I don't watch late night tv, honest) who made a really good point: "Everything's amazing and no one is happy."

It's funny and poignant:

We are spoiled brats, aren't we? Our expectations are ridiculous. Shame on us.

I don't want to react to things like malfunctioning cell phones or long airport lines or dummies at four-way stops or grocery cart stupidity....or even dentists so negatively anymore. I don't want to add to the ugliness that this world already has plenty of. I instead want to, in the words of  Sara Groves, "add to the beauty." I want to better learn love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). I can't do it without the Holy's His fruit, after all, so I want to get on board with His program. So, here goes:
1, 2, 3 .............THE DENTIST IS AMAZING!

There I said it...time to start believing it!


  1. I have to say I detest going to the dentist! However I fully agree with you... we are spoiled and fortunate and so often don't recognize it! Ater assisting volunteer dentists in a jungle village numerous times, I can assure you it's not the same when it's NOT climate controlled (beastly hot), when there is NOT a suction machine (some people have bad spitting aim), and when one of my jobs while translating back and forth between dentist and patient and assisting the dentist here and there, is to try to avoid flies flitting in and out of the patient's mouth... Going to the dentist in the US is almost pleasant!

    Debbie... some sort of cousin (our mom's are cousins)

  2. AAAAHHHH! Flies in the mouth! That's horrible, though I hear we all swallow a minimum of 6 spiders in our sleep during our lifetimes....

    Wow, I appreciate your adding your comments, and I honestly can't imagine some of what you describe.

    Hmm, I'm trying to picture a second-or-third-cousin-once-or-twice-removed named Debbie and I'm drawing a blank...sorry! but I'll take your word for it Debbie...and thanks for reading!

  3. $10,000 for an x-ray?

    You need a new dentist.

  4. Maybe in a few minutes or hours I'll take this great lesson on 'perspective' to heart.... maybe ;]

    But right now I'm still chuckling at the video segment. I give him an A+ for presentation.

    Chris, thanks for bringing a bit of humor (and reality) to my lunch hour... too funny.

  5. Mark, do you happen to know a certain family member who might do it for less? *wink*

    Tim, yeah, even today, I had a struggle with annoyance at a slow running computer at work...argh!

  6. Chris,

    Debbie Murphy, my mom is Edith Murphy, daughter of Eleanor, your Grammy's sister. I had the privilege of living for a few years at Aunt Barbara's house with Aunt Florence. She was a treasure - I miss her! Your mom would be my second cousin I think... after that I lose track!

  7. Gotcha Debbie. I remember hearing about your family. I've got so many fond memories of Grammie...she lived with us through my childhood and I got to experience her when she was younger and less cranky! I will of course need to post about her many stories, she could have her own blog in her memory....

  8. I loved this! Besides a very clever bit of writing, that clip was FUNNY!. Favorite lines- Regarding cell phones: "It's going to space! Can you give it a second to get back from SPACE?" Regarding air travel: "You're sitting in a chair in the sky!"

  9. I removed a wisdom tooth on a patient last week. Took twelve seconds. No joking. Right tools, right technique, nice little dose of novocaine delivered gently... Patient didn't realize I had done anything til I showed him his tooth.
    Modern dentistry is a great and wonderous experience!

    With love to my brother and all his sissy frends,
    Paul Booth DDS