I went to the dentist's office on 20 April to get a temporary crown. Have you read all of Cryptonomicon yet? Did you get to the part where Randy has his wisdom teeth removed (p 776-781)? Let me excerpt it for you here:

"...the air in the room was murky with aerosolized bone, and his nurses were limp and haggard and looked like they could use makeovers, facelifts, and weeks at the beach."

and

"(The oral surgeon) got up and shambled out of the room, weighed down...not so much by the stress of his job as by the knowledge that no one was ever going to give him a Nobel prize for what he had just accomplished."

One could apply the above to my situation, only the surgeon was a woman - a very attractive one, who probably shirked her family that night to sit alone at a bar drinking shots of whiskey, telling the bartender all about this nightmare of a crown procedure she had that day. See, my surgeon, who received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of North Carolina, has a good 2 decades of experience. She has these mad, phat skillz, and said (more than once) that I was "the toughest one she had ever done, and I've seen some tough ones." Also, "a real challenge."

It was heinous. A good hour of sweating, with my mouth stuck wide the fuck open. I have a small mouth. And I don't even know what they did, really. It's best not to know. Every time I opened my eyes I regretted it. Two of those times I saw a small gun-thing lodged up against my bottom teeth. Another two of those times I saw them holding some pieces of wire and some Frankenstein thread. Apparently they erected a tiny Eiffel-fucking-Tower in my mouth. And, like in Stephenson's book, aerosolized bone was flying everywhere.

The right side of my face was so numb that it hurt. Holding my mouth that wide for a good hour hurt. The back of my head hurt. My eyeball was numb. It made my root canal seem like a croquet game on Noel Coward's lawn.

When I walked out of there I was moderately stunned, paler than normal, and probably a few pounds thinner. I drove to the video store, rented Full Metal Jacket, went home, took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, watched the movie, and went to bed.

I may start setting off metal detectors in airports now.

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