The Hygienist

Today was a day worthy of note. The reason, you see, was that I went to the dentist's office. Not for a checkup by the owner of the establishment, but by one of his hired guns, the Hygienist. Let us speak to this profession for a few sentences. This person, usually a small Asian American woman, uses sharp, metal pokers in your soft, fleshy mouth. She shoves them right in there, on the teeth, between the teeth, near the tongue, close to your gums, even prods your tongue with them from time to time. It's a Ballet of Butchery.

I am nervous around this woman. She is both your best friend and worst enemy in any given moment during her dance. I once pushed a hygienest's hands away from my face, got up and left the room. True story. She was ruthless with a blatant disregard for a human's tolerance for pain. She ruined it all for me. That one feisty buzz-saw of a woman back in Dallas in 2006. I left the dentist's that day and wrote a particularly harsh email to her boss the next day. I tend to do that. Push me to the edge, push me hard enough, and you're bound to get informed of my uncomfortableness via the World Wide Web. That'll learn ya.

Today, my friends, I will divulge to you this: I was manhandled again.

This time, it was a tiny Asian American woman. Wait, it was last time, also. I see a pattern forming. I saw her and I knew it. I was in for it. She introduced herself as Who Knows What, I don't know, I wasn't listening. The music distracted me. The central radio in the tiny room wasn't playing Christmas music. It's December third, fer cryssakes, play some damn Christmas music, what are we, heathens. That alone could have easily ruined my day, but on top of that, we've got Edith Scissorhands about to dive needle first into my food hatch.

Get out your pokers and just get it over with already. I'm sure my teeth are filthy, just like four months ago. Yes, I do floss. Yes, I do brush them with the brush and the paste. Yes, no, actually no I don't have the mouth guard. Yes, maybe I'll get it next time I'm in. Ok, let's use the soft brush now.

Then she started batting her eyes real sassy-like. Oh come on now, Hidden Dragon. I know what day it is. Trying to butter me up before she gutted me. Bleed me like a pig. And she's got the nerve to do the doe eyes. Oh man, the nerve.

Then she sits me down in the seat, my death bed, and leans me back. And still no Christmas music on. She was about to take me for all I was worth, poke the shit outta my shit, and she has the nerve to play Kesha? What self-respecting dentist's office plays Kesha? Kesha doesn't even have teeth. She's a toothless bag woman. Only people with truly great teeth should ever be heard in the dentist's office.

Where is Mariah Carey singing the song from that sappy Christmas Love movie? Seriously, heathens, the lot of 'em! I make mention of my angst to my Asian executor. She laughs. I don't see what's funny, I say. She then says she's kind of happy there isn't any Christmas music playing. What? Happy? She must be the chief heathen, this one right here. If I took her instruments to her right now, in this tiny room, gutted her real fast-like, before the other comrades found out, maybe I could save Christmas. If anybody could save Christmas, anyone at all, I think I could. I've got a strong back so I know I could shoulder the hopes and dreams of millions and get all their presents to them in one night on one glorious sleigh ride. I could do this! The only thing in front of me and saving Christmas was HER. That's it, bitches, it's go time.

I rose strong out of my seat but before I could get my weight about me, the Asian Sensation pushed me back down. Ever so gently, but it was a push. Bitches just touched me. She looked me square in the eye and spat. Unfortunately for her she'd already put that little face germ catcher dealie over her mouth. The spit smacked the inside of the mask. This only made her angrier. The youthfulness evaporated. Dead, calm. Music subsided. Relevance extinguished. Centuries came and went as our gaze hardened. That's not all that hardened. She knew she had me. I was the rain, she was the drainage ditch at the end of the street. She engulfed me.

I opened my mouth. She came at me with a fistful of cold steel. I closed my eyes. I couldn't watch her end me. Please, make it quick. She gripped my cheek with a thumb and forefinger. I winced as her steel machete cut into my chompers. God, she was strong. I was strong, too, I mentioned my back already, but not like this. She was all powerful. She was the Sun.

Actually, that was her name, now that I think of it. Sun. Sun Li.

It was over before it started. I lost track the number of times she shoved the sucky tube in my mouth with the rinsey hose. Rinse and suck, rinse and suck. I was deflated. Gauze piled up on the tiny side table and chest. She used the bib I had strewn about my neck as a makeshift wiper. After each stabbing, each and every puncture, she wiped her instrument. Her blades were clean, her tools of death and despair ready for the next victim. Holy shit think how many men she's butchered with those eyes, those tools.

She thanked me for coming in. I mumbled back a response. I couldn't talk. My mouth was full of my blood and dignity. I gathered my man satchel and puffy short coat from another tiny table in the tiny room's corner.

I went to pay at the front desk. The woman that took my credit card was on the phone and seemed upset. I bet she was upset because nobody listens to her. She stopped yelling into the phone and politely told me that I gave her my Driver's License, or something, I don't know, I wasn't listening to her.

Kesha played on the radio. I spat up some blood on my way to work.

I checked out my teeth in the rear view mirror at a stop light. Looked good.

Guess that wasn't so bad.

Justin Claus HarderComment