I think I’ve calmed down enough to attempt to type up what happened last week that upset me so much. Maybe if I write it out like a play I will not become as annoyed.

The Adventures of Item in Dentistland

Dramatis Personæ:

Bitch (a hygienist)

Ditz (a receptionist)

Intern (a lesbian)

Satan (Alexx)

Various ladies of the school


Scenes: An office of general dentistry, a school

Act First

Scene 1

[Office, sterilization room]

[Intern working. Enter Bitch.]

Bit. How’s it going?

Int. Quite well! I’m learning how to check patients out and–

Bit. [interrupting] When was the last time you had your teeth cleaned?

Int. [startled] Actually, I’ve never had a cleaning.

Bit. [shocked] Never???

Int. Never. It just wasn’t ever something we did in my family growing up, and then when I got older I didn’t have insurance, so…

Bit. I’m going to clean your teeth tomorrow.

Int. ……………OK…….

Bit. Seriously. You can’t be in this profession if you don’t have regular cleanings. The bacteria gives you bad breath.

Int. OK.

Bit. Go up front right now and have them schedule you in one of my free spots tomorrow.

Int. OK.

Chorus Technically an unpaid intern really shouldn’t be receiving free treatment at her site… but it’s difficult to say no to someone as forceful as this woman. Plus, you know… free treatment.

Scene 2

[Office, hygienist’s operatory]

[Intern in chair, bitch working upon her]

Bit. So why didn’t you ever have your teeth cleaned before?

Int. Well, like I said, my parents just never took us to have our teeth cleaned while I was growing up… and then later… well, not everyone has the money for that, and if you don’t have insurance…

Bit. You can’t be in the dental field with poor oral hygiene. What is your home care like?

Int. Just… brushing and flossing… though I’ve only really started flossing within the last year.

Bit. At least you’re flossing. But if you don’t get your teeth cleaned every six months, the bacteria builds up and gives you bad breath. That’s why I asked you yesterday when your last cleaning was. I don’t know why people are so afraid to tell other people they have bad breath. I’m not.

Int. [aside] So I see!

Bit. But you have to have your teeth cleaned regularly! God, twenty-nine years without a cleaning? It’s amazing your teeth are as good as they are!

Int. Yeah, once again… money… insurance…

Chorus Regular cleanings are important, folks. But they’re also expensive if you don’t have insurance.

Scene 3

[Office, reception area]

[Intern and ditz sitting at the computer]

Dit. [laughs] Yeah, she did the same thing to me when I started here.

Int. She kinda man-handled me into the chair! I couldn’t say no!

Dit. [quietly] She’s really rude. I don’t know why she’s gotta be like that.

Int. She’s very blunt, but, you know, I’d rather know…. She told me I have bad breath, and said, “I don’t know why people are so afraid to tell other people they have bad breath. I’m not.” And I was like, “Yeah, I noticed!” I had no idea I had bad breath.

Dit. Well, you know, they say you can’t smell your own breath.

Int. Yeah, you’re at the mercy of other people there.

Dit. You gotta get your family or something to tell you.

Int. I can’t believe nobody ever did tell me! I mean, how long do you think I’ve had bad breath and not one single person ever mentioned it? You’d think my girlfriend — you know, someone I kiss — would have told me!

Dit. [laughs] I know, right?

Chorus One would think this an utterly insignificant scene…

Act Second

Scene 1

[School, classroom]

[Satan, various ladies of the school at tables, looking at Intern, also at table]

Sat. Thanks for staying after the meeting for us, Intern. Did anything unusual happen today?

Int. Um… no?

Sat. Nothing interesting happened at your site today?

Int. I don’t go in on Mondays. [aside] For the millionth time…

Sat. Oh. Well, I heard you got a cleaning.

Int. Yes, last week.

Sat. I didn’t know you’d never had a cleaning before!

Int. [aside] Well, it’s not exactly your business, is it?

Sat. Didn’t you know how important it was to have regular cleanings? Didn’t we teach you that? How often are you supposed to have your teeth cleaned?

Int. [aside] Let’s not get into the multiple levels of fail here… [to Satan] Every four to six months.

Lady of the school We got a call from the hygienist that did the cleaning. She says you’re doing a great job there, but she was concerned about a comment you made. You said something about how “When you’re kissing your girlfriend, she never says you have bad breath.” The hygienist seemed concerned like you were retaliating against her because she said you had bad breath.

Int. Oh! No! I wasn’t at all! She did a great job! I was just expressing my shock that nobody had ever mentioned the fact that I had bad breath.

Lad. Well, she was concerned about you making such an unprofessional comment.

Int. [blinks]

Lad. You have to remember to keep your personal life private. You can’t be talking about making out with your girlfriend in front of people.

Int. There were no patients there… I was just talking to one of the girls that works there. We were talking about bad breath and stuff.

Lad. Yeah, but you have to keep your private life private.

Sat. This is a really conservative community. You have to keep your personal life out of things. You have to be really, really professional and use general terms. I always use really general terms.

Int. Did Bitch think I didn’t believe her or something? I don’t want her to think I was trying to say she did a bad job or anything…

Lad. No, it was just that professionalism issue. You can’t just talk about your girlfriend to people.

Sat. This is a really conservative community. Remember to use general terms.

Int. [aside] This is such bullshit. And these people here at the school are so stupid, I wonder if they’re interpreting what Bitch said correctly; I wonder if she was actually concerned about my comment as a “professionalism issue,” or if she thought I was deliberately making some disparaging comment about her work. I’d better talk to her.

Scene 2

[Office, hygienist’s operatory]

[Bitch working. Enter Intern.]

Bit. Good morning!

Int. Good morning! Hey, guess what! Since you cleaned my teeth, they’ve stopped bleeding when I floss!

Bit. Good.

Int. Also, I wanted to make sure you didn’t think I’d been trying to put you down or anything with any comments I made the other day.

Bit. Oh, no. It’s just that your personal life is your personal life, and you need to keep it to yourself.

Int. I was just talking to Ditz… there were no patients there.

Bit. That doesn’t matter. As a student, you need to be really careful what you say. That’s your personal life.

Int. Well, as long as you didn’t think I was trying to say something bad about your work. Because you did a great job.

Bit. Make sure you keep up with your cleanings.

Int. [goes to pound her head against a wall]

Chorus Perhaps Intern’s comment was out of line. Perhaps it was inappropriate to mention kissing her girlfriend to someone that had on previous occasions introduced and conversed on sexual topics. But you can be damn certain that nothing would have come of it and no call to the school would have been made if Intern had said “boyfriend” instead.