I would like to take
this opportunity to personally thank my dentist, Harold, for saving me
thousands of dollars.
It all began about two months
ago. Life was pretty darn wonderful up to that point. Business was finally
booming, many old nagging problems had faded away, and my teeth felt just
It had been awhile since I had a
dental checkup, though, and since life was going so well I thought it wise
to take better care of myself since I might want to stick around for
awhile. So I made an appointment.
"Oh my, oh my," said
Harold, peering into my mouth and shaking his head. "Looks like Iíll
be able to afford that trip to Puerto Vallarta after all."
His assistant, knowing her job
was secure for another month, gleefully made notes as he rattled off the
work that needed to be done. Grand total: two gold crowns, four gold
That couldnít be right. My
teeth felt fine, maybe a little sensitive from time to time, but I could
still chew with the best. I had even flossed every six months or so.
"Your silver fillings are
cracked," said Harold, leaning back in the assassinís seat.
"Itís much cheaper to replace them with silver, which will last
about 15 years, while they drip mercury into your brain, possibly causing
Alzheimerís or other horrible diseases, or we can do it in gold, which
will last forever with no ill effects. Your choice."
I responded with what I know
ranks as one of my dumbest questions of all time. "What would you
Harold didnít miss a beat. With
his eyes blinking like an old cash register, he quickly replied, "Go
for the gold."
And so the nightmare began. The
appointment was made for a morning the following week. Coincidentally, I
had scheduled a meeting for the same afternoon to determine the amount of
bonuses to be doled out to key employees in appreciation of the booming
business that had helped make my life wonderful up to that point.
After 3-1/2 hours of drilling and
assorted other horrors, I arrived back at my office, numb, with a mouth
full of temporary foreign objects while the permanent foreign objects were
being mined and molded in some South African quarry.
"What happened to you?"
asked Ms. Ferguson, my loyal office manager, cowering in the corner in
fear that I would come closer.
"I dint foss," I
replied, drooling. A couple of hours later, the Novocain wore off and I
could feel my mouth again. Unfortunately.
I was in pain. The perfect time
to sit down and determine compensation for the employees of what up until
that morning had been a thriving business. Now the future suddenly looked
mighty bleak, and the throbbing in my gums told me that generosity was not
the order of the day.
So thousands of dollars were
saved that afternoon, thanks to Harold. But I also knew that a second
round of bonuses was coming up in another month, and whatever shortfall
was experienced by employees due to my dental problems would be made up at
Little did they or I know I would
still be in pain seven weeks later.
After four temporary fillings had
fallen out prematurely, necessitating four separate emergency trips to the
dentist (three while on a weeksí vacation) the permanents were put in.
When the pain continued, Harold determined that one of the permanents didnítí
fit right and would have to be replaced.
Actually, the pain isnít that
bad unless I drink liquids or breathe air that hasnítí been warmed to
80 degrees. As I write this, my appointment for the new permanent is
tomorrow, which will perhaps finally eliminate the pain. Regrettably, the
second round of bonuses was determined yesterday.
I actually did reduce the amount
of compensation I originally intended to distribute. There were a variety
of reasons for doing so, but I donítí doubt that my aching teeth were
a contributing factor.
As shallow as it sounds, itís
difficult to feel the boundless optimism of seven weeks ago when Iím
eating Motrin for breakfast. Life will be wonderful again soon, perhaps as
early as tomorrow, and the next compensation opportunity will come along
with no negative influences.
And if not, if Iím still in
pain from my continuing dental nightmare, Iíll promise to distribute to
employees the $3,300 Iíll have saved from refusing to pay Harold his
Thatís funny. I feel better