I went to the dentist today. I hate going to the dentist. Let me say that again - I hate going to the dentist. Today was just a normal scheduled checkup and cleaning, but I hate it just the same. People looking into my mouth and talking over my head like I'm not there; the scraping noise; the poking under the gums; feeling like I'm being water-boarded because that little vacuum tube never sucks up all of the water they spray; and always the dentist coming in after the hygienist is finished torturing me to poke around with his little pick and sagely murmur, "Hmm. Umm hmm" like all of my teeth are on the verge of crumbling just one hour from now and I'm damn lucky to have come in so he can save me.

Today, when the hygienist retrieved me from the waiting room for the dead man walking to her torture chamber, I couldn't help but notice how cute she was; a veritable piece of female art. Hey, I'm a man, I notice these things. My morose thoughts immediately perked up. But after a few perfunctory questions; do I have AIDS (for her safety), have I had a heart attack (for my safety presumably), she slipped on a mask and with her chosen implement of destruction, a metal, silver-colored, sharp-pointed pick thingy in hand, said those words that will cause the strongest of men to shake - "Open wide."

My mouth was assaulted; it was attacked; it was brutalized. I have no doubt, in that girl's mind, plaque is the scourge of the world and she was born to eradicate every trace of it. I lost track of time. Every minute was an hour. She enjoyed her work - a lot. I freely gave my name, rank, and serial number. I gave my banking information, my social security number, credit card numbers and any other information she wanted until finally and oh so mercifully, it was over. With a tight little smile, she leaned back from my prone quivering body and pronounced, "There. All clean now." They should turn her loose on those demented terrorist. They'd be screaming for mercy and we'd be bringing our troops home the next day.

I left with another appointment in six months. I didn't want to, but I was afraid not to. Between now and then, I'll be brushing 3 or 4 times every day; I'll floss every morning and night; I'll walk around with a mouthful of plaque fighting mouthwash. When I wake up in the middle of the night to pee, I think I'll brush my teeth again on the way back to the bed. Stay away from my mouth you plaque-fighting super hero. No plaque here, no ma'am.