One Thing I Like Less Than Most Things…


I learn nothing from my past mistakes. There must be a word for people like me. A specific derogatory term for people-who-learn-nothing-from-their-past-mistakes. Not ‘nincompoop’; I already know that one.

So there I was with a mouthful of cavities and root canals, sitting in a dentist’s chair bargaining with God–again–to please let me off this time and I’ll floss twice daily from now on, when the dentist tells me I have finally reaped the fruit of all my midnight snacks and will have to undergo a horrifically painful dental surgery after which my father will probably disown me. Well, he did not say that in so many words but I can catch subtle nuances, you know. I ask him, with an ingratiating grin, whether that surgery will involve taking out my sweet tooth, which is the root of the problem anyway, no pun intended? At least, I thought the grin was ingratiating, but you couldn’t tell that from the bland look he gave me.

While he’s performing that awfully disgusting surgery, I misquote–paraphrase?–Ogden Nash to myself (one thing I hate more than any other, is sitting in a dentist’s chair with my mouth wide open [….] against hope hopen), and wonder whether the tooth fairy leaves something for adults who have their teeth taken out mechanically (no, according to wiki, since the fairytale only works for baby teeth), and if she leaves half a dollar for adults who leave half a tooth under their pillow (see previous explanation).

Even after an hour of the-torture-that-is-both-physical-and-mental I’m not contrite; although I promise to myself that I’ll give up unhealthy tooth-decaying eatables. And the first thing I do when I get back home? I drink half a litre of an aerated, teeth-destroying drink. Like I said, nincompoop orΒ  synonym thereof.
I don’t think the dentist took out my sweet tooth after all, because a day later I was having a sizzling chocolate brownie for dinner. Yes, I learn nothing from my past mistakes.

A note to my by now disgusted readers: I really don’t have that bad a sense of oral hygiene, and I still have all my real teeth. My experiences in the dentist’s surgery have been exaggerated–ranging from slightly to extremely–in this blog post. Well, except the part where the dentist gave me a bland look in answer to my beautiful, ingratiating smile.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “One Thing I Like Less Than Most Things…

  1. Ha! It ain’t just you – the dentist’s chair extracts more promises than teeth.

  2. Dentists… eek! The dentist’s chair is my least favorite place in the world to be! πŸ˜€

    • haha.. For me, it’s second to the v-e-t’s office; I hate seeing my dog, Sherlock, turn into a scaredy cat.

      • I love your dog’s name! πŸ™‚ I was just the same for awhile, but I found a vet a year or so back who manages to make my cats quite comfortable. He looks like a crazy red-headed lumberjack, but as soon as my cats see him, they relax and let him do whatever needs to be done. It’s such a relief. πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, I still end up searching for a new dentist each time… πŸ™‚

  3. MARY

    Miss E,
    I discovered your site while searching for the title of the piece by Ogden Nash with the line you paraphrase above – “One thing I like less than most things…” Could you plz pass that along if you know the title. It’s a piece I memorized in 2nd grade and won 3rd prize for it. I want to share it with my dentist πŸ™‚

    • Hi Mary, I suppose I’m too late and you already know the answer by now (and I apologise profusely for not replying earlier), but the answer is “This is going to hurt just a little bit.”

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