SANDY SPRINGS, GA - Maybe this is one of those things where after I put it out there, I will find out that no one else is like me in this particular case, but once I hit college, I stopped going to the dentist.
I didn't have the time or money to invest in the upkeep of my mouth. Actually, once I got out of school, I think I went about 3 more years (around the time I got married) until I started going again. At first I was very reluctant to go, but luckily, my wife, her mom and my mom all convinced me that I had to take care of my teeth now because it was going to be really important down the road.
So I took the initiative and found my own dentist. He called himself "Dr. Bill" on his direct mail piece. His slogan was "Keep Your Choppers Clean" with two motorcycles that obviously came from a program on his home computer that he used in place of quotation marks.
Until my last visit, everything was great. I only had to see him twice a year. He had two really hot technicians on his staff. I always got a free toothbrush and his office was in a strip mall next to a hobby shop. I actually looked forward to getting out of work for and going to see him until I screwed everything up.
Here's what happened: Dr. Bill has really small hands. Over the years, I only noticed this on a level reserved for vanity and self-preservation. I actually thought it was kind of cute in a cartoon kind of way. It was like getting your teeth cleaned by a squirrel or a raccoon.
On my most recent visit though, Dr. Bill had to fill a cavity. He was very professional. You could tell the environment was very sterile, yet relaxing. He actually had it set up so you could bring your own CD's to listen to during the procedure. I chose George Winston's "Winter into Spring." His assistant Sheila, who does for white stockings what milk does for cereal, provided me with an especially thorough and inadvertently sexual cleaning.
When Dr. Bill finally came in to the room and had Sheila administer the nitrous oxide, I was ready to sign some kind of lifetime commitment. It was there and then that I remember yelling out very happily, "why don't you get your tiny hands out of my mouth?"
Obviously, I can't go back.
Mike Schatz is a writer, comedian, and cast member of Atlanta's Laughing Matters Improvisation