As I helplessly watch my body slowly succumb to the ravages of Father Time, I realize it’s in my best interest to take better care of it.
Gone forever are the days when I thought a well-balanced meal was a double-beef Whopper with cheese and extra mayo, a daily bowl of Raisin Bran (AKA “Colon Blow”) was only for my dad, and getting up at dawn was for the Amish.
Now at the threshold of middle age (ok, well past the threshold; I’m looking behind my shoulder at middle age), one beer makes me sleepy, hot dogs give me gas, and I actually read nutrition labels...with bifocals.
Therefore, to achieve my goal of hanging in there as long as Keith Richards (without that whole mummified look), I made appointments to visit my doctor and dentist.
Oh, sure, visiting the "Rinse and Spit" club is a chore and I don’t enjoy the prospect of latex-clad fingers in my mouth (some people probably do). But, as four out of five dentists will tell you, "It's your responsibility to take care of yourself as long as you can until you become a burden to your grandchildren, so quit whining and open wide."
That being said, a visit to the dentist, while undeniably beneficial to both my dental health and his ability to take vacations to the Caribbean, is not without its share of discomforts.
Take cleaning. Doesn't it strike you as odd that metal is used to clean our teeth? Now, I wouldn't advocate using cotton candy to shine my enamel, but, at the same time, using a screwdriver to scrape my molars doesn't seem right, either.
Once my teeth have been violated, it's time for a good polishing. Dipping a Dremel-like device into a cleaner-I swear it's Comet-the dental tech proceeds to spit-shine (an unfortunate phrase, I know) my pearly whites until they're, well...pearly white.
I don't know about you, but the combination of the little drill’s high-pitched whir with the cleanser's grit does not a "fun" experience make. Unless you got a big kick out of Lawrence Olivier in "The Marathon Man" (“Is it safe?”).
After that, I'm treated to a courtesy flossing by a tech with knuckle hair and gorilla fingers who scolds me for improper dental care, all the while trying to pass clothesline between my ravaged teeth.
I swear, the next time I'll wear a sign around my neck that says, "Yeah, I know. Floss."
The “Top Four” from “Life’s Little White Lies Hall of Fame”:
1) I only had a couple of beers.
2) No, those pants don’t make you look fat.
3) I mailed the check yesterday.
4) I floss every night.
The funny thing about this procedure is his (or her) insane insistence on maintaining a running conversation. Talking to me is okay. Just don’t ask any questions which require an actual response. At the very least, it makes me look stupid when I grunt an answer. At worst, I start choking on my own spit when asked my opinion on world events.
Things have gotten better over the years, though. For instance, gone are the days when we rinsed our mouths in those little sinks found only in dentists' offices. Instead, we now have nifty vacuum dealies, which, when placed in our mouths, remove unwanted dental by-products...and prevent us from drowning in the chair.
Although, I can't shake this phobia of having my tongue sucked right out of my head.