Earlier this week I mentioned a toothache that was sending me to the Dentist. What I failed to mention is that I would rather work doubles the next five days waiting on nothing but small children than go to the Dentist. So as I sit here in front of my computer trying to produce some brilliant insight into the restaurant industry, all I can think about is the fact that someone is going to be moving scary tools into my mouth. It is maddening. There is a point to all of this, but I am going to rant a bit more before I get there.
The first issue I have with the dentist is pain. I think it is natural to fear pain, but I might have exceeded the rational level of fear long ago. When I was a teen, I had most of my dental work done at a local dental school. This did nothing to reassure my fears. After setting a record of 14 shots to the gums to numb me for one filling, I have a horror story to justify my fears. The Dentist I am going to has been one of my best friends for over 15 years. He is beyond capable and I trust him implicitly. I know it will be as painless as possible, but it is all relative considering he will be using power tools on my head and removing something from my skull by force.
The second issue is insecurity. Everyone has something about their body they are insecure about. For me it is my teeth. I am a fairly self-actualized person, but in my mind I have teeth that could be used as a model for those fake teeth you find in costume shops. It might be the equivalent of someone who was insecure about a few extra pounds around their waist being examined and poked by a super model for a couple hours. I envision lying there in a semi conscious state as the people who work in the office do the dental equivalent of a restaurant “fly by” on my mouth. In my head they sit in back and discuss that they compare me to the worst cases they have ever seen. Sending cell phone pictures to other friends in the industry the way a fisherman might send pictures of his prized catch.
I know realistically none of this will happen. It will probably be a pretty routine appointment. My Dentist and several members of his staff are Facebook fans of this blog. I have full certainty that I could not be in more capable hands. I still dread having those hands in my mouth.
There are three reasons I write all of this today. The first is that I am having a really hard time focusing on anything else. The second and perhaps the most important is that this is a pretty irrational fear. My stress level over this far exceeds reality. Most of our fears do. Someone once said (and it wasn’t just Gary Busey) that fear stands for false evidence appearing real. My father always tells me that 97% of things we fear in life never occur. Stop and take a look at all of the things you are worried about. Accept that most of them will not happen. Worry about the things you can control, not the things that you fear might happen. We all have enough actual problems to give us stress. There is no need to stress about things that most likely will not occur.
The third reason for this post is that it reminded me of one of the first things I ever posted on this blog. It was actually the seventh post. One hundred and forty posts later, I still remember it fondly. I suppose I have gained some readers since then who might enjoy it. I wanted to come up with a way to contrast the way people act in restaurants to the way they behave around other professionals. A dentist seemed like the logical option. So for those of you who haven’t dug all the way back to the beginning of the blog, here is the original bit of humor on the blog Servers vs Dentists. If you have not already seen it, it merits a watch. It was the post that really launched this blog and still one of the most viewed.
I can’t delay the trip any longer without running the risk of being late. Send any spare pain relieving good vibes this way. Hopefully, I will be posting again soon with most of my teeth still in my head. In the meantime remember to brush, floss, rinse, bribe the tooth fairy, or whatever else you have to do to keep your teeth healthy.