You know how they say whatever you give to the universe, it will come back to you double? I shoulda been more careful….
This all started about a month ago, and it wasn’t even supposed to be a poem; more like silly prose set to music, but one thing led to another and the darn thing practically wrote itself. Not that it’s art in the sense of revealing the true nature of the human condition, but I thought it was pretty funny and so I shared my little ditty, “The Ballet of the Stray Hair” with a friend, who posted it over here at DentalEggs. You should go there, read it, and then continue on with this story.
Back already? Well, then.
A few weeks later, unsolicited, a little limerick popped up in my inbox from a professor at the college where I took my STATE BOARD EXAM! What do I do? I HAVE to publish it, right? Because if I don’t I’ll keep having those nightmares where my instructors find about a bajillion clicks of subgingival calculus and make me repeat my senior year over and over until finally I get to take my board exam and lo and behold the patient’s teeth are caked with green marijuana stain…. Wait, no, actually, that last part really did happen.
In the middle of all this, I was invited to the Townie Meeting, and something that didn’t happen in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. It came home as a bug in the back of my brain (it could have been in a worse place, admit it, you thought it!). One of DentalTown’s original masters of meter told me that there were thousands! yes thousands of dental haiku written years ago, almost forgotten behind the cobwebbed threads of the message boards. And I received permission to repost a few of them here.
Hey Universe… thank you?
On to the poetry now.
(be sure to click the link to see why this limerick’s subject is appropriate)
There practiced a dentist in Maine,
Who worked hard, hard as a train,
Esthetics was his love,
But he forgot to glove,
The Boards took his license again.
These haiku are posted in the order of their original appearance. Think movie credits, but with only one actor. It’s kind of a soliloquy, actually.
OSHA training tape
must review for staff to watch
thrice I fall asleep
will fix rotten teeth tuesday
oops forgot check book
open wide I say
the assistant turns to retch
oh god it’s anug
brown nubs, baked bean teeth
patient rinses with pepsi
Lortab seven please
Ultracet is what you’ll get
no? then there’s the door
a long day for me
tears, red-faced child wants father
refer to pedo
“just so you know Doc,
I don’t like things in my mouth!”
Not even your brush?
your teeth are rotting
hurting, stinking, and all loose
“Can I get them bleached?”
two rough sedations
why did he eat that breakfast?
vomit in the sink
other doc’s patient
should I steal him? No.
I hate most endo
boring snoring tedious
oh crap! broke a file.
started root canal
paid in full but won’t come back
on mom’s credit card
can you get it out?
well, there’s nothing left but root…
do I need a shot?
why do I do them?
the tooth is buried in bone
zoom day white excel
left it in my trays too long
teeth are white, but ouch!
silver point canal
white purulent exudate
debride and Trimox
smoke? get dry socket
I pack some gelfoam in there
maybe it helps some
appointments not kept
what is wrong with these people?
next time I’ll not show
what’s that dark shadow?
This plate doesn’t fit!
he looks at the wall photo
I want ’em like that!
he wanted them yesterday
I don’t understand!
why is this taking so long?
this stuff makes me gag!
my old teeth were fine!
except that they were rotten…
“You should have brushed them”
cold steel and sunshine
former captive relinquished
clink clank shiny bowl
cotton gauze poultice
damming the flow of red life
By no means is this collection complete! These were my favorite dental-themed haiku, and even though I didn’t check them carefully they all seem to follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable rule. If you adored these like I do and want more from those who haven’t given me permission to share, go on over to this DentalTown thread, become a member if you haven’t already, enjoy the sometimes poignant ramblings of a bygone time, maybe even hold a revival and start a new poetry post if you’re inspired thusly.
And I promise, no more poems about hair from me!
Darn! She made it private! what? The poem that I wrote. So I guess that means I’ll have to host it my own dang self here.
The ballet of the stray hair.
Watch my fingertips: nimbly they fly
along the lip line, touching on cusps
to steady their course
while their grasp guides a mirror and a probe.
Their orchestration is captured in full spectrum detail
Thanks to a pair of magnification loupes
And a headlight emanating from my third eye area.
Previously unnoticed, a black line of evil
begins to uncoil away from the mirror handle
and adheres itself to the tacky vermillion border.
The spectre of horror becomes threefold alarming
When I realize that the patient is a blonde.
At this point I’m not wondering of its origins
as much as trying to get rid of the hair
before the patient becomes aware.
My ring finger attacks
in its pale latex slicker.
Success! I have liftoff
And a wipe to the napkin
Surely means that the hair is gone.
WTF? It’s back! This time on the tongue!
Damn that static cling.
The hair is mocking me.
Time to go all Wile E. Coyote on its ass.
Quick glance to the patient’s eyes.
Total obliviousness. Good.
The snare is laid
between my suction tip and modified pen grasp.
Crap. The hair went halfway IN the saliva ejector
and now it’s acting like a telephone cord
that doesn’t want to wind straight.
OMG. Hair s t r e t c h e s before it breaks.
Two big black hairs in my patient’s mouth.
Two big. Black. Alien hairs.
It’s time for a gauzy intervention.
“I got a little messy, here, let me clean you up!”
With the force of a primary tooth extraction
the hairs are gone.
They are gone for sure
because I took the two pieces of gauze
over to the wastebasket
and personally dumped them
and checked my static latex fingers afterwards.
We both sigh.
Really? A booger?
Hanging halfway out of the patient’s nose?
I sure hope that’s not someone else’s, too.