At the end of the cleaning, KELLY, the dental hygienist, hands DAVE a clear vinyl pouch filled with standard dental supplies.
DAVE: Oh yeah, I wanted to ask you, this um … Glide, the Glide floss? Do y’all recommend that over the regular, like chunky waxed old-style floss?
KELLY shakes her head.
DAVE: Does it matter?
KELLY: Personally, I don’t like it. When I use it it just slides out too easily. I don’t think it gets, you know all the stuff out.
DAVE: So this isn’t like an endorsement of the product?
KELLY: We just get a whole box of ’em. Lemme see if we got any of the other kind.
DAVE gets three different impressions taken around the segment of his mouth where he’s got a tooth hole from an implant, waiting to be filled with a crown. The epoxy tastes unpleasant, like latex taffy. CHERYL, the dentist’s assistant, pulls the last bit from his mouth.
CHERYL: You’re done!
DAVE gets up and collects his things.
CHERYL: Can I get you anything to drink?
CHERYL: We’ve got Mountain Dew? Pepsi?
DAVE (laughing): What? Really? Don’t those rot your teeth?
CHERYL (marking something down on DAVE’s form): Well not one.
Presently, the two walk down the hall toward reception. DAVE spots a Keurig.
DAVE: Oh, actually, could I get some coffee?
CHERYL: Doesn’t that stain your teeth?
Touché, madame. There is something decidedly Southern about these exchanges. I mean: these people are professionals trained in reputable places. Too-slick floss is better than no floss at all; and besides it’s just a sample. Also: they know what soda does to teeth. But Jesus, Dave, it’s one soda. Yankee Dave says he can’t believe a dentist would keep non-diet sodas on hand. The people at his dentist’s say he’s being uptight.
I’m not infrequently accused (verbally or otherwise) of being uptight down here. Most often, I refuse to yield on my inherent rightness. Today, though, I’m happy to.