Ear cavities

There are many necessary evils in life. Flossing, avoiding too many sweets, listening to the good advice of our parents, having to talk on the phone to a girlfriend for more than 10 minutes ( a personal peeve), walking our dogs when we barely have enough energy to spit, and paying bills are just a few. Oh yea, working is one too. Ultimately though, these activities are good for us no matter how annoying they are..

Recently I experienced another one of those necessary evils and no it did not involve having to make annoying small talk or looking out for the needs of helpless dogs.

I simply went to the dentist to have a few fillings replaced.

I make this pilgrimage twice a year. Aside from the lack of parking, the usually inconvenient times of appointments and the combination of crappy magazines and hard to figure out soap operas in the waiting room, I’m usually in a pretty good mood before I’m called to take a spot on the dental chair.

Then it’s all downhill.

Ironically, the medieval-styled torture devices they use to clean, fill and realign my teeth and inner braces are the least of my problems. The anesthesia helps as does that fact that the dental hygenist who works on me is rather cute and flirtatious. My dentist is really cool too and does excellent, efficient work.

So what’s the problem you say? I’ll give you clue, it’s not the bill nor the fact that I’m the only gringo on either the provider or patient side.

I’ll cut to the chase. The dental office music gives me ear cavities. Irremovable ones.

I am not sure where the problem started but no matter where I go for dental help, the music sucks. My labeling as such deserves further elaboration.

I am under the impression that every single dentist in American went to dental school in the 70’s or they must sign a contract with the ADA and love-stricken radio stations requiring him/her to only play bad music from that period and equally sappy parts of the 80’s and 90’s. Perhaps my comments are starting to ring a familiar tune. In case not, I’ll describe in more detail.

Here’s the typical dental office playlist. There’s at least a song or two by Chicago. Then “The Wind Beneath My Wings”, “Afternoon Delight”, some lame offering from Foreigner, a tune from Bryan Adam’s non-rock ballad collection, an Air Supply and sad Elton John song, something from the Bee Gees, a sub-par Blondie piece, a Sheryl Crowe jingle and a bunch of other bad memory generating, ear-worm spreading songs that Delilah  plays on FM 97.3 on a rainy, depressing Tuesday night. I’m sure I’m leaving out a few other auditory annoyances but lets just say that on a really good day, I may get lucky and a hear a Hall and Oates tune or Billy Ocean’s “Carribean Queen”.

Every time I leave the dental chair, instead of leaving with new toothbrushes and a overpriced shot of fluoride, I feel I should take some Prozac with a cold beer.instead.

I guess one of the issues here is that every time I go to the dentist, the music brings me back at least 25 years. Usually more. In fact, I actually hear almost exactly the same order of songs that I did when I first got my braces in 1982. Thus I am reminded of that initially agonizing experience of getting braces, and the subsequent head-gears, retainers, tightened elastics and various other dental sponsored instruments of torture. Needless to say, these are not memories worth revisiting. I am really not sure why the dentists and their assistants want to be reminded of these days either.

My view on this topic is very simple. Bad music begets bad memories. But if I really do want to be reminded of the 70’s and early 80’s, I’ll watch Boogie Nights, The Summer of Sam, Hair or Austin Powers. Damn, I might even pull out a few of my remaining 45’s (those tiny one song on each side records).

I have a lot of friends who hardly go to the dentist. I think my sister Wendy is one of them. I used to think it is because they are afraid of what they will find out about the state of their teeth and gums and what the cure entails. Now I’m starting to believe otherwise.

They are very tired, perhaps subconsciously, of the “ear cavities” too.


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