Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

My life is just like having a root canal

Hurts now, but I'll laugh when I'm old

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I have finally figured out my purpose in life.

After journalism school, I thought my purpose was to write informative and educational articles to help you, the busy newspaper reader, better navigate an increasingly complex and stressful world.

I can see now I was a fool.

It has become apparent my true purpose is to write about all the terrible and potentially lethal things that happen to me, so you can relax in a comfy chair, wearing a self-satisfied smirk, and make the following observation: "Well, at least I'm not THAT guy!"

For instance, as regular readers will recall, I began the week by doing one of the bravest things any human being can do, by which I mean going to see the dentist.

Avoiding the dentist is a big part of my health routine, but I was forced to face my fears this week because, during a recent charity event wherein I slept at the corner of Portage and Main to help the homeless, I bit into a slice of free pizza and -- YIKES! -- shattered a tooth.

When I saw the dentist, I assumed he would advise me to become exceedingly rich via the method of launching a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the pizza industry, but, sadly, that is not what happened.

Before I get to that, though, I should mention the always controversial Charles Adler invited me to appear on his CJOB morning show to discuss why I, a grown man, had such an irrational fear of the dental community.

While we were chatting, Charles revealed he personally has an awesome dentist, who -- and this is what Charles told me -- is the spitting image of Tom Brady, who, along with being the star quarterback for the New England Patriots, is married to a supermodel.

I was unable to say which celebrity my dentist resembles, because, at that point, I had not met him.

Once I got off the radio, however, my wife, who has been going to this dentist for several years, called to share this vital fact: "Our dentist is super-cute, too!"

That was a huge weight off my shoulders, I can tell you. In choosing a dentist, after asking whether they have an actual degree in dentistry, my next question is always: Would you describe this dentist as "super-cute?"

The point I'm trying to make is, despite being nervous, I did go to the dentist -- and, yes, he is a fine-looking dentist -- and I was very brave, although you don't have to take my word for it. Here is an actual unbiased quote from my new dentist: "Doug, you were very brave!"

In fact, everyone in the dentist's office was kind and gentle and said they were proud of me and I had behaved extremely well.

And I was brave, because it turns out I had to have a root canal, which, as anyone who currently has teeth can tell you, is a major dental deal; it is the sort of thing scurvy pirates used to do to their prisoners to get them to reveal where their buried treasure was hidden.

Fortunately, I didn't feel a thing. This is partly because I clung to the dentist's chair with the white-knuckled grip astronauts use when blasting into outer space, but mainly because the dentist froze my mouth, tongue, neck, ears, eyeballs and anything even remotely connected to my teeth.

When you leave a dentist's office in this condition, you always run into dozens of people you know, and when they ask how you are doing, you sound like this: "I'b shooper! I wush jush at duh dentish an my mowf ish wheely fwozen."

As you say this, a long chain of drool will be sliding slowly down your chin, causing the person you are speaking with to slowly back away, wondering when it was you became addicted to heroin.

What I'm hoping today is you readers will feel better about your own lives because, unlike me, you did not start your week with a root canal. You'll feel even better when I tell you that, while you are reading this, I am sitting in my doctor's office, sweating profusely and waiting to have, quote, "a complete physical."

I don't mind some parts of the physical, such as the part when we discuss how badly the Blue Bombers suck this year, but I have a real problem when we get to the part where the doctor puts on a RUBBER GLOVE, snapping it loudly over his fingers, which instead of normal fingers, are the size of whaling harpoons and, suddenly and without warning, he lunges at my medically vulnerable area.

Sensitive male readers can sympathize with my plight by lying in the fetal position under their kitchen tables, whimpering like wounded woodland creatures. Which is what I do whenever my doctor snaps on his rubber glove and, with a sinister laugh, orders me to curl up on the examination table.

One day I'll get my revenge -- I'll show up at his office with a free pizza.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2013 A2

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