Well, I have just returned from an orthodontist appointment, feeling thoroughly battered, bruised, torn and beaten. I hasten to add that no physical changes were made to me, no teeth out (no, that is still to come, fivefold), no brace attached, no nothing. Rather, I spent the entire time feeling like I was at the mercy of a playground bully.
I am referring to the 'nice orthodntist man', as my deceived mother called him, himself. Oh yes, he flashed his pearly white smile, he shook her warmly by her hand, he mixed togther his chiselled stubbly features with a convincing air of trustworthy-ness, which left her only to happy to watch her son taken into his lair. But I was not taken in. No sir, I knew that once that door closed and I was in solely in his, and his evil Debbie McGhee assistant lady's charge, things would change, and so it proved.
'Sit down for me' was his brusque introduction. (Why is it that dental types add 'for me' as a suffix for everything? Why should the fact that it is they who are asking make me any more willing to obey? If Nelson Mandela asked me to do something 'for him'; but of course I would Mr Mandela. If an unpleasant orthodontic surgeon whom I have never met before today uses this buy out clause on me, well, he can jog on. Except he has sharp drills and things).
Then, he whipped out his tools with a forbidding eagerness. Mirrors and proby things and those latex gloves. Hideous. 'Open wide', he said. Reluctant but polite, I obliged. And this, dear readers (maybe plural is optimistic), is when the bullying started. He proceeded to tell Debbie everything wrong with my mouth in some sort of code language nobody else can understand. I did manage to translate the odd bit into layman's terms though. On 3 occasions, he did that thing plumbers do when they see a rather severe problem, where they suck in air in a shocked way, and the word 'severe' cropped up regularly.
'What is the problem?' I hear you ask. Well, I'll tell you. It was the sheer delight and glee with which he went about telling Debbie everything that was wrong about me. This wouldn't be acceptable for anything but teeth. No slimming class leaders look at their members and say 'Oooh there's a good few chins on this one Debbie. Sit down for me, sir. Right, there's six rolls of wobbling flab. Got that Deb? Good, now raise your arm and wiggle it around for me. Okay, quite severe bingo wings here, surprised he's not taking off. Actually, with a belly like that, I'm not.'
No, in any other walk of life, this is wrong, and plain mean. In an orthodontic surgeon, it is 'professional'. Worse than that, I needed him to think my teeth disgusting, so that the NHS would agree to pay for my treatment. So, though it is free in terms of money, national health treatment is payed for with damaged pride and ridicule. And smug smug orthodontist man knew it too, this is what gave even more license to him and evil Debbie to snigger and the repulsive spectacle of my mouth.
So, bring on the removal of my teeth then, for beyond that particular horizon lies deliverance from this terrible twosome. And it can't hurt any more than today did, surely...