I Wish I Could Become Comfortably Numb

July 9, 1999

Dentists make your next appointment six months in advance. They have six months to prepare for your arrival. Six months! People take less time to prepare for missions to the moon. Yet, whenever I go to the dentist, I have to sit in the waiting room for half an hour because, according to the receptionist, the dentist isn’t ready to see me yet. Of course I finally figured out that this isn’t true, that really the dentist has been ready for hours and that he’s sitting behind the door giggling while I, in mortal terror of having my gums scraped, my teeth gouged, and my chest crushed by his knee so he can have adequate traction for these delicate operations, quietly sweat and try to thumb through the news magazine on the waiting room table. And it’s always the same news magazine, the one with the cover story "Is Your Dentist Evil? What You Should Know Before You Even Set Foot In The Waiting Room."

The sad thing is that going to the dentist used to be a fun experience. When I was a kid, it meant I got out of school for most of the day. (Now I have to go after work.) If I behaved, I’d get a lollipop, which made me happy in the short term and the dentist happy in the long term. Finally, on those rare occasions when I had to have serious surgery, there were good drugs. I have no memory of having three teeth pulled when I was eight. As far as I remember, I spent the whole time sliding down a marble staircase past ballerinas and a talking parrot. Now it’s different. I get a toothbrush. I get lectured on the importance of flossing. And when major work needs to be done, the dentist pulls out a pencil-sized needle and waves it in my face while he ghoulishly explains that it will "deaden the pain." Recently I had to have some cavities drilled and filled, and I was given the option of being gassed up before the procedure. Remembering my blissful hallucinations of two decades ago, I jumped at the chance. Well, I didn’t really jump, I just continued straining at the leather straps being used to hold me down.

But they use new drugs these days, and it’s like comparing lollipops and toothbrushes. I felt slightly disconnected, and the holes in the ceiling vibrated with the buzzing air conditioner. Honestly, if dentists keep on like this, they’re going to put themselves out of business.

Enjoy this week’s fillings.

You’ve all heard of the Air Force’s ultra-high-security, super-secret base in Nevada, known simply as "Area 51?"

Well, late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were very surprised to see a Cessna 152 landing at their "secret" base. They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room.

The pilot’s story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel. The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation. By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn’t a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a-base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

The next day, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the MP’s surrounded the plane. . .only this time there were two people in the plane.

The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night."

A Texan, a Californian, and an Oregonian go into a bar and each orders a full bottle of his favorite drink. The Texan takes a swig from a bottle of Tequila, throws the almost full bottle into the air, pulls out a .45 and shoots it. He says, "Where I’m from we have lots of Tequilla." The Californian takes a sip from a bottle of wine, throws the bottle into the air, pulls out a little silver ‘Saturday night special’, and shoots it. He says, "Where I’m from we have an abundance of wine." The Oregonian takes a drink from his bottle of beer, throws the bottle in the air, pulls out a Ruger Blackhawk, shoots the Californian, and catches the bottle. He says, "Where I’m from we have too many Californians, but I want to recycle this bottle."

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