February 09, 2006

Denthell Remembering

Dear Dr. Griffo,

i know you are dead by now--or if you're not dead you're at least not a practicing dentist hitting kids over the head with your bulb-headed mallett. what was that thing and why did you think it was funny? why did you always have to hit me on the head as soon as i walked in the door smelling your cloves and death. why did you laugh. you looked so stupid. bop bop you'd say, and you knew it hurt and it wasn't funny. what, did you think that by hitting kids on the head they might forget you were about to shred the insides of their mouths?

let me say that it's not my mission to run around bothering dead or retired dentists, but i had a dentist appointment today and i got all tight in the chest when i walked in couldn't breathe so well, and i immediately thought of you and your office next to the donut shop.

i'm sure you're busy bothering unbaptized babies right now, but if not i wanted you to hear some things i didn't get to tell you as a kid. 1) about your big black bulbbed mallet--that wasn't okay hitting me on the head with it every time. 2) it wasn't okay that when novocaine came along you never bothered to use it on us because we were your special circumstance. 3) it was really not okay that you told me all those years that if it hurt, all i had to do was tell you and you would stop, and i sucked it up and got through every filling without any meds plus your pulling my two baby teeth, and the one fucking time it hurt too bad for me to stand I said Stop and you didn't.

You didn't stop you bastard. And i said it again and wriggled and cried, please stop, and you waited until you were done. then you pretended you didn't understand. that made you a piece of shit in my book. you hurt me bad that time. all the other times were only sort of bad.

you were also ugly to look at.

and your office was too dark.

and it smelled like cloves and so did you.

maybe you thought you were going to get some kind of brownie points in heaven for taking care of my father's teeth for free when he was dying and we were in trouble. he was 36 with three kids and an illness you knew would have him off your to-do list within six months. how hard was it for you to just help him out without having to take it out on his legacy and turn us into some damn freak show. like the world owed you something because you did the right thing but i don't even think you did it for the right reason. you did it so you could talk about having done it and you got to look at my mother--you didn't do it for him. you did it for you, didn't you, because you got off on what happened as the cancer ate away at his insides.

i know you.

you looked at me that same way.

i know my mother never got over feeling like we owed you because you took care of my dad when our whole world fell into a hole that's so deep you could climb in and never find the root ever, but you used her for that and you are a double bastard for that. you didn't need to give her the ream and make her do her own root canals at home because i remember her face so big and her pain, and you don't know what it's like to do what you have to do.

my remembering you is brown and orange and flashes of yellow, spitting red.

i was 23 before i had novocaine. the dentist asked if i was allergic, looking at all my fillings and you did such a shitty job they were not in good shape. i said i don't know. he said well did you ever have a problem. i said i never had novocaine. he stared at me and my mouth and counted my teeth.

you are a bastard. i don't forgive you.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Tom said...

My current dentist asked if I went to Stevie Wonder for a dentist when I was a kid. I think he was into S&M. You expressed some similar memories

Anonymous said...

Boy, I don't know if that sort of behavior was endemic with dentists back then or what. My childhood dentist wasn't *quite* as bad as yours. He at least used novocaine. Problem was he didn't know what he was doing with it, and I never got numb. When I would scream in pain, he would tell me to shut up, it would be over soon. Fucker.

My six crowns are testament to the fear of dentists that bastard instilled in me. My current dentist is an angel. First guy who could ever get me numb. He told me that the reason was that my jaw has some particularly dense bone in it, but he knew how to work around it. I've been going to him for almost 20 years now, even following him when he changed practices.