Hunting For A Dentist

I’m way overdue, but I have a date with dental destiny. I don’t mind going to the dentist so much, actually. I always leave sore and poor(er), but the sparkly-clean feeling is nice, until later that night when popcorn kernels have found their home again between the molars.

It’s the flossing I hate. The last gal who flossed my teeth was pulling on both ends of the string like it was a ski rope. The blood and tears weren’t enough for her. She felt it her duty to lecture me on my lack of commitment to the procedure.

“You haven’t been flossing, have you?”

“Well, I, uh…”

“Have you?”

Suddenly, I was back in third grade.

“For maximum dental health, we must floss morning, noon and night, yadda, yadda, yadda…”

“Yes, well, I….”

“We must take care of our teeth, lest we lose them, you see. Flossing is essential. Do you know how easy it is to start flossing, hmm?”

“Well, ma’am, I expect it’s about as hard to start flossing as it is to stop smoking.”

She was concerned about teeth management. I was sitting in the chair, wondering about the dentist/hunter who bagged the big cat over in Africa.

Sorry.  I mean, the Minnesota predator who murdered Cecil the lion.

Yes sir, we live in a whole new day, a day when everyone has their toes stuck out for some insensitive brute to step on. You can’t go through a day anymore without offending somebody. You can’t talk, type, eat, sleep, post on Facebook or sing “Spread A Little Sunshine Everyday” without somebody pooching their lips out, because you somehow hit a sore spot.

The only thing the current president hits is golf balls. The above photo shows one of his predecessors bagging an elephant. And that ain’t all Teddy Roosevelt held up as a trophy. According to The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses, ol’ Ted was a rabid big game hunter.  The prez reportedly sent over 1200 beasts to the Sky Zoo, including tigers, lions, hippos, cheetahs, antelopes, giraffes and leopards. The great Nobel Peace Prize laureate went on many a safari. His exploits would make the infamous dentist look like Opie Taylor carrying a slingshot.

I’m not a big hunter, but I understand the importance of game management, aside from the Biblical admonition “Rise, kill and eat.” Most people who get offended by Doctor Denture likely have no problem purchasing a pack of pork chops in a clean, white sanitary package covered with plastic wrap. A few of them probably own a Ted Nugent CD or two, too.

“Kill it and grill it,” says the other Ted, demonstrating his own Biblical prowess.

Hunting doesn’t offend me at all. I’m all for it. I also think guns are nifty, both for hunting, self defense, or collecting. I’m actually more offended by over-zealous flossers.

Besides, dentistry isn’t all that. I recall one funeral I attended years ago. Sister Beulah Higginbotham had collapsed and expired at the Ladies Aid Society meeting at the New Harmony Baptist Church. Her homegoing service was held three days later.

(Evidently, there was a lack of harmony at the original Harmony Baptist Church.   But I digress.)

Anyway, there was Sister Higginbotham, all laid out in her best flowery blue dress.

The preacher finished his sermon, and some nasally cousin stood at the pulpit singing “When They Ring Those Golden Bells For You And Me.” As he sang, everybody shuffled out of their pews and processed in single file to view the dearly departed one last time. I was in line, about three bodies behind her niece, Flora Mae.

Flora Mae was all shook up throughout the whole service.

She got up to the casket, peered over and started sobbing again. She bent over, and all I heard was “Oh Aunt Beulah, Aunt Beul…”

It was at that moment the denture cream failed Flora Mae, and the top shelf of her mouth flew out, a whole row of artificial pearly whites spilling onto Aunt Beulah.

Flora Mae was horrified, and instinctively reached over to try to retrieve her teeth, which had now lodged on the far side of the loved one, a bit out of reach. The funeral director cleared his throat, and the preacher took Flora by the arm, and led her away, still snorting and sobbing.

Good thing he did, too.   I was not only worried about the retrieval, but the potential re-insertion of the apparatus.

After the graveside service, the family and friends all went to Flora Mae’s house for a post-funeral fellowship meal. Her mouth was still out of alignment, so I don’t know what became of the upper chompers. I shudder to think…

But everybody had a good time with the fried chicken and potato salad. Everybody except for Flora Mae, who had gotten her boy LeRoy to fetch her a milk shake from the Tastee-Freeze.

It may be best to just stay away from dentists.

You never know when you may have to go to a funeral.

© Copyright 2015 Tim Holcombe