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2004-12-02 - 12:44 p.m.

“You can feel that?”

God’s only offering to those in a dentist’s chair is that, even with a small battalion of fingers and metal prongs running wild in your mouth, you can still manage an intelligible “Ow.”

“One more time. Let me try one more time.”

And a few moments of grinding and wriggling later…

“Hur! Guss ut? OW!” Translation: “Hey! Guess what? OW!”

I’m not allergic to anything that I know of outside of dust and Kenneth Branagh, but apparently I have a startling resistance to Novocain. Of any possible prowess that my body could contain, and I do applaud its resiliencecy, this is quite possibly the least welcome.

“Wait. You can feel that?”

My new dentist looks and plays the part ideally. Tall and solidly build, there is strength in her walk, her movements, but her voice trips and trickles with a high pitched mousy lilt. While acting with professional assurance, her words seem embarrassed, as if she were being interviewed by the President about her parent’s sexual proliclivities.

Wisps of her red hair escaped into close orbits around her head, even though, en masse, it didn’t seem all that frizzy. Leading one to assume that if she spent some time in the mirror it could have easily be folded and mannered into position, and that she very much meant to, but as she reached for the hairbrush, a moment of brilliance, or worry, or poigency tapped the back of her brain, and considering that moment outweighed the lassoing of a few errant hairs.

Proficient and inspired enough to put you at ease with whatever gauntlets she is about to subject your mouth to, but just nervous enough not to intimidate.

“Let me try this one more time.”

For the fourth time I took a shot in the mouth. Apparently two usually knock out so much of the feeling in the area, most people don’t even feel the tooth tumble out. I was up to four and wincing like I’d been watching a remake of Clockwork Orange featuring Dustin Diamond.

She ran a cold metal pick over my gum, and nothing. No feeling. Out came the pliers, and suddenly Screech was squealing: “We were all feeling a bit shagged and fagged and fashed, it being a night of no small expenditure.” Shudder.

After playing another round of Spoon Man on my gums to check for active nerves, she slumped her shoulders and turned to a drawer. Out came a small vial, which she prepped into the needle.

You’d think after getting a tattoo I’d have a somewhat more relaxed opinion about the pokey metal. The things is, while a tattoo gun has a rough amicability, a long syringe in a dentist’s office, blue tipped, red measuring lines, and two circle finger grips can't help but look menacing.

“I’ve never used this before, but it’s supposed to be…very…profound.”

She loaded the clear vial and changed needles. My thought is that she was going for "potent", or more horribly, "proactive", as profound just doesn’t seem the right word for a fluid massed to numb the senses. A profound anesthetic. Maybe it would numb my awareness of the potentially painful wrenching about to take place, as well as the usual senses to notice it going on. If she plugged the needle just a bit deeper, maybe I’d forget my embarrassment at having some nicely stained teeth from coffee and Camels. A little bit deeper to dull any feelings of insecurity whatsoever about my appearance. Just a little bit deeper, and more profound, who knows...With proper application that kind of painkiller would do me a lot better than anything she could proscribe.

One more hit on the pincushion.

My jaw went to sleep.

Walking down Lexington, I struggled with a bit of gauze holding back the blood from the fleshy crater at the back of my mouth, while searching each molar, canine and bicuspid for any feeling. My tongue felt for teeth, but found what felt like stone.

I waited as the profound seeped back, and the numbness left; waited to feel the pain again.

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