Job #1 at fancy membership library, comes complete with a whole host of eccentrics that make the library into their second home.  Among them is a rather tragic creature named Catherine who is in every day for hours at a time, and sometimes volunteers in the gift shop.  I first met her about a year ago when she was in the staff room, and I assumed she was staff that I hadn’t met–so I introduced myself.

That simple social nicety mired me in a conversation about everything she had done educationally with her life since she was an undergraduate–  particularly her study of Old English (thank god, she didn’t give me an example).  Since all I had done was mention that I go to URI for Library and Information Sciences, I was shocked to be subjected to a lengthy lecture be someone who would thrive at a Renaissance Fair, but I listened politely anyway.

She is not a bad person, just a bit sad.  She scuttles around nervously, and at times seems grateful when you talk to her, and other times terrified.  She also brings the staff of the library treats on a regular basis, which I find odd, but appreciate.  One of her favorite treats is those coffee-flavored Nips Candies, which are delightful, but incredibly sticky.

So, I was eating one one morning, because I’m often bored at work and that starts me grazing on whatever confection is around– and I pulled out a filling.  I finally, after years of not, have health care through my new job at school.  Unfortunately, it includes doctor, and vision– no dentist.  Wise Lawyer Friend had informed me a while ago that the tech school about 20 minutes away has a dental hygienist program.  They’ll give you a cleaning, periodontal exam, x-rays etc. for incredibly cheap, and then you can turn around and bring all of that information to a real dentist who will fix what the students’ diagnose.

My first appointment was on Friday, and a rather nervous, but friendly hygienist-in-training, Erin, examined, and scraped, and poked around my mouth conferring with her instructor in horrifyingly medical terms and making me feel like I was the extra on a soap opera who plays “coma guy”.  I have never had any issues with the dentist, in fact, I used to love going to the dentist, so none of this really bothered me and I felt like I was learning a bit more about oral hygiene.

Then the instructor left, and Erin began the standard lecture that I get from all hygienists: “You need to floss”.  I’ve heard it before, over and over, and I know the routine.  Yes, I need to floss; I’m sorry that I don’t floss; I really mean to floss etc.  Erin, apparently goes to the “scare them straight” school of dental hygienistry because she seriously let me have it to the point of where I almost though she was going to start wiggling my teeth to convince me that they were about to fall out.  She used all of the scary vocabulary that the use in Listerine commercials usually along with a picture of evil mouth beasties and bacteria who exist only to make you into a toothless wonder.

By the end of the 2-hour appointment, I felt beaten into submission.  The only part that I did well on was my blood pressure– everything else got a failing grade: I don’t brush right, I don’t floss, I don’t use a flouride rinse– I’m doomed.

Now I have to go back in two weeks and let Erin clean the remaining three quadrants of my mouth, take x-rays, and take impressions (not because I need them, but because it is good practice for her). After this is all done, I can finally go to a real dentist, get my stupid filling replaced, and maybe score another lecture about flossing.

I will never eat Nips Candies again, no matter how bored or starving I am.

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