It’s because Daddy cares…

Driving to school, mid conversation, on a beautiful Friday morning…

“Daddy, what does he look like?”

Well, he’s pretty tall, taller than Daddy, like 6’8″ and he moves kind of slow, like he’s moving through Aloe.

“Well, is he nice?  I mean, he’s not really mean, is he?”

Hard to say.  He probably doesn’t try to be mean, but it’s hard to seem nice when he’s drilling holes in your teeth.  Think about it, kids, would you ever think that someone drilling holes in your teeth using an old slow foot pedal drill with a dull bit would ever come across as a nice guy?

(beat.)

“He uses an old drill?”

Yeah.

“Why?  Why doesn’t he use a new one?  What’s wrong with this guy?”

Nothing’s wrong with him–he just doesn’t like technology.  Doesn’t trust it.  Thinks that those “painless” sonic drills and quick and easy tools that don’t carve and scrape and pick really work.  He wants to feel like he’s doing work–a good job.

“Is he?”

Is he what?

“Is he doing a good job?”

Not from all that crying and cotton gauze crammed in every kid’s mouth coming out of that room.  That’s never a good sign.

“What isn’t?”

Wads of dirty gauze everywhere.

“What’s he doing in there?”

Hard to see more than just shadows.  He uses a very old light with a very heavy shade.  Pretty dark in there.

“How can he see what he’s doing!”

Well, he’s been doing this for a very long time–he does it pretty much by feel, I guess.

“Have you gone to Dr. Wolfenstein?”

(beat)

Once.

(beat)

“What happ–”

All I need to tell you is that you want to take care of your teeth.  Brush them twice a day, do a good job and you won’t ever need to go to Dr. Wolfenstein.

(quietly…)

You won’t need to go if you just brush your teeth…you won’t need to go if you just brush your teeth…you don’t need to go…

(beat)

“Daddy, why do people go to Dr. Wolfenstein–he doesn’t seem like a good guy at all.”

Well…and I don’t want you to think that money comes into play, but, dental insurance doesn’t grow on trees, you know.  Cavities and gum disease, well, quite frankly, can pretty much be avoided — so paying all that money for a nice child dentist that has video games, stickers, foot rubs, cotton candy, free puppies — it just seems silly, right?

“No.  No, that sounds awesome…”

Sure it sounds fun, but those are the type of dentists that kids who brush their teeth go to.  Going there needing drilling or periodontal scaling — that’s a college tuition kind of bill.

“What is ‘pairofdonald screaming?'”

Periodontal scaling is like a deep clean.  Below the gum line.  Just a fancy way to say it.  Dr. Wolfenstein calls it something different.

(beat)

“WHAT?  What does he call it!?”

He just grunts and says “I need the big stick for this one.”

“Big stick?  You mean pick?”

Nope.  Stick, but it is a pick.  A big one.  He probably calls it a stick because the handle is a turned handle made of hickory.

“Isn’t hickory bumpy and…”

Painful?  Yeah, it probably hurts to hold, but Dr. Wolfenstein says that he can feel more of the trembling…I mean vibrations through the wood handle.

(long silence.)

Okay, here we are.  Have a great day at school, guys.

(silence as backpacks are slowly slung over shoulders.)

Guys?

“Daddy…”

Just make sure you do it tomorrow.

“Promise.”

What?  They’ll thank me when they still have all their teeth.  Besides, those toothbrushes were bone dry when I checked.  Not tonight though.  Tonight, I couldn’t get them to stop brushing.
—a.l.n.

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