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+32 Age, -2 Wis

So yesterday was my birthday. Those who know me are fully aware that I don’t “party,” or drink, or dance, or anything else most people remotely consider “fun.” So it should surprise no one that I spent the 32nd anniversary of my arrival on this planet having two wisdom teeth pulled. How very (formerly) Presbyterian of me.

I went in at 11:00 am and had both upper wisdom teeth , or, in dental parlance, tooth #1 and tooth #16, removed. This is not as bad as it sounds.

Really—I’m not just putting on a brave face. The trick is to find the world’s best dentist . And surprisingly enough, I’ve found him in the most unexpected of places . I have come to expect very little of the medical professionals in this town, so finding the world’s best dentist here comes as no little surprise. Why don’t I expect much?

Our sleepy town boasts some of the worst MDs I’ve ever met. Forget bedside manner, these people can barely read CHARTS.

Q: What do you call the person who graduated last in their class from medical school?

A: Doctor.

Think about the implications of that joke. All you have to do to become a doctor is go to med school and PASS. Which is more difficult than, say, passing your driver’s test. But you don’t have to be a genius. You just have to be average.

Now, think about the difference between Einstein and your high school physics teacher.

Maybe your physics teacher was pretty great—mine was. After all, he taught physics to this chick , and she went to outer space. But no matter how great your teacher was, he or she probably wasn’t Einstein. And more than likely, your high school physics teacher sucked. Why?

There are a few smart people, and a lot of kind of smart people, and zillions of dumb people in this world. And some of those people, from all three categories, join every profession. Some become teachers.

Some become doctors.

The really brilliant ones often get to take their pick of positions when they graduate. They usually pick flashy hospitals or research positions—places where they can hone their skills and publish studies that will win awards.

The pretty smart but not genius ones usually get the rest of the good positions—large cities, big university hospitals—places, essentially, where they are in a good position to earn money and move into private practice or research.

But what about those other people? The ones who barely passed their MCAT. The ones who get confused about the difference between Typhus and Typhoid. They still passed. And they’re still Dr. Somebody. More frighteningly, they’re somebody’s doctor.

They take posts where they can find them—sometimes in large cities, where they “blend in,” but often in health clinics, small hospitals in semi-rural towns (like mine) and private practice wherever people need a doctor so badly that they can’t choose a better one if the one they have is a butcher.

The same could really be said of dentists, and that is why you, and I and everyone we know has a horror story that happened to them, or to a friend or relative, about the terrible things the dentist did to them.

Remember: 50% of dentists graduated in the bottom half of their class.

But as I said, I found Dr. Right. I highly recommend him to anyone in the area. Hell, I’d recommend him to people from out of state if I thought they would fly up here and see him.

So he pulled out two of my pearlys. And luckily for me, they weren’t impacted, came in straight and there was a lot of room for them. I wouldn’t have even had to have them removed if it wasn’t for the fact that I developed carries (cavities) in both of them. And the one on the left was causing waves of pulsating pain to shoot across the entire left hemisphere of my skull. It felt like someone was kicking me in the temple with a steel-toed jack boot and then stabbing me in the eye with an ice pick, then kicking me again, then stabbing me again… This repeated every time my heart beat.

Lub-dub, lub-dub

Kick-stab, kick-stab

So he pulled them. And because he’s the world’s best dentist, I have no swelling and no pain.

Maybe it went so well because I chose to get it done on Woden’s Day. He is, of course, a god of wisdom in addition to his other attributes. And strangely enough, the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘tooth’ is ‘tooth,’ so I hereby re-dub yesterday “Wodentoothsday”—Or Wisdomtoothsday, if you prefer.

Either way, I’m just glad to have them out. Now. If I can just get my feet fixed….

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