my dentist


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my dentist

In time you will understand where I’m going with this, but yesterday I spent three hours in a dentist’s chair and spent the equivalent of the national debt on two crowns. The precise location of these things serve no better purpose than to allow me to say, “Spittoon” instead of “thptoon.” Holy cow, when did my mouth get so expensive?

Over my cavernous and gaping mouth, my dentist and his assistant are having a spirited conversation about the assistant’s new dog, a Plott Hound. Without being able to use my lips but feeling left out, I say, “I ave awgs,” “Oh really?” the assistant queries, “What kind?” “Ulik,” I respond. “Hmmm,” the dentist says, “I’m not familiar with that breed.” I’m asked what they look like when the assistant laughs and says that of course I can’t tell them, I have 17 ounces of oral cement prying my jaws open. That’s when the assistant offers a suggestion with great enthusiasm: “Make shadow puppets, we’ll guess your dog.”

Captive in the dentist’s chair and having nothing else to do, I unpry my fingers from the arm rests, put them over my head and wave my fingers to suggest Puli cords.

“A snake??” asks the dentist. “MEDUSA!” shouts the assistant. No,no, I shake my head. Then I start snapping my fingers to each side like I’m keeping time with reggae music. You know. Rastafarians. Dred locks. Brilliant, I think to myself.

The assistant guesses some sort of Spanish breed since she clearly thinks I’m imitating castanets. No, no, I shake my head. My next strategy is to suggest the breed’s function. “Aahhh Aahhhh,” I bleat (making what I think are sheep sounds since the Puli is, afterall, a sheep dog). Suddenly sure that I’m choking on my own spit, the assistant aggressively attacks the deepest corners of my mouth with the hated suction contraption. So thorough is she that after several moments, I’m certain she is suctioning the frontal lobe of my brain through the hose. Needing my hands to suggest, STOP! I give up on doggie charades.

If I’d had a Pointer, it would have been easy – the universal sign for Pointer is the classic hand-lifted-finger-pointing gesture. If I’d had a Papillion, I’d have stuck my hands over my ears and splayed them to suggest big ears (though THIS vet was just as likely to guess a moose); As I thought about this going into the third hour of sitting in that chair, I had mentally come up with enough gestures to suggest a variety of breeds but my own.

How would you gesture YOUR breed of dog?


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