February 4th 1972

“Dental Appointment 11:00 hrs”

Maybe I somehow tortured myself with Edgar Broughton the night before to make my trip to the dentist feel less intimidating?

I HATE going having my teeth seen to. This isn’t a “all british people are dentist dodgers” joke, this is pure, simple fact. I’m certain my current hesitation and procrastination about having a twice-yearly check-up and getting teeth work done is all down to the couple of dentists I went to back when I was a child and teenager.

My dentist as a young boy – when I was in junior school – was a big tall man with a bushy black moustache. Like Groucho Marx with surgical implements at his disposal. He may as well have had a thin moustache and goose-stepped round the chair because this guy was nazi-esque, albeit in a white, rather than brown shirt.

My second dentist – after moving to Grammar school, was a beligerent little sod who wouldn’t take any fussing from anyone. If he hurt you whilst prodding or drilling that was just tough luck, he had a job to do. To my chagrin, this is where I learned that it’s almost impossible to utter foul expletives when you have a mouthful of metal and somebody’s fist in it.

Do you remember me saying there’s lots of things I don’t recall from my youth? I remember these blokes. Oh yes. They turn up in my nightmares. Dustin Hoffman’s dentist in “The Marathon Man” was a pussycat compared to these guys. They certainly left their mark on my poor fragile soul, because every dentist since has been regarded as my very worst enemy. Even my wife’s dentist – who comes across like Mister Rodgers, but with an even kinder disposition – failed to quell my ‘inner fear’.

They say that the dentistry profession has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world.

Not high enough in my humble opinion.

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