Posted: July 01, 2011

Rundles wrap-up: Numb

Jeff Rundles

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For some reason, I have always viewed my life as a series of events in between visits to the dentist, that the only times I actually contemplate where I am on the spectral plane is with my mouth wide open, cotton swabs jammed in the crevices, a suction straw curled in the left cheek, and me - wondering where my life is going and where it's been - examining ceiling tiles, light fixtures and masked invaders with the sound of grinders and whirling devices as the soundtrack.

And, of course, my whole face is numb.

I suppose it's best to ponder the world and my place in it at the absolute nadir of human existence, and that would be the dentist's torture chair.

I think many people only stop and pause to think about life in connection with some sort of dental visit, and that perhaps the experience has an impact on their actions. For instance, I think Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) tweeted on his Blackberry right after leaving his dentist's office, for it's the only thing that makes sense: His dentist administered a tad too much Novacaine into the former congressman's head during the procedure because for days following he was most assuredly a numbskull. He must visit the dentist often.

I have come to a place in my life where I require a lot of contemplation, and somewhat expectedly it has neatly coincided with many dentist visits, and not just the general dentist, but the periodontist and the endodontist, specialized torturers with years of extra training and proprietary tools that I think were commercialized after extensive human testing conducted by the CIA and authorized by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Come to think of it, I believe they have been testing for years on all kinds of government officials, like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.), Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) Gov. Jim McGreevey (D-N.J.), Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D-Detroit), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.), and, of course, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who required extra testing. They must use an amazing amount of anesthetic on politicians since I can only imagine how much it would take to be numb to the truth.

I figure the dental profession benefits greatly in the aftermath, since these men's wives must have surely required several numbing sessions and hours of contemplation. It seems only Maria Shriver, Elizabeth Edwards and Jenny Sanford had perfect teeth.

After so many dental appointments, I feel much better about the American political scene. Once they shoot your gums full of local numbing and your lips droop and sag, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell seem downright brilliant. About a week ago I had a dental procedure lasting several hours, involving an extraction and requiring numbing refreshers every 30 minutes. Near the end, after much pondering, I decided that Sarah Palin should be nominated to head the Alaska division of Mensa.

It isn't just politics that improves with frequent dental appointments. I had a very involved root canal last month and, once frozen, totally numb and in full contemplation mode, I decided it would be a good thing to let banks raise their fees and operate without any regulatory oversight, that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden should be defunded as it supports spurious science, and, during one particularly painful portion of the oral surgery where special extra doses of pain-numbing medication were administered, I came up with the amazing idea that the way to jump-start the economy would be to re-authorize subprime mortgage loans.

I used to hate going to the dentist. But I have come to understand that going to the dentist is actually cathartic, that I feel better about my finances, my future, the prospects for an improving economy, have warm and fuzzy feelings about my elected officials, and even feel well-served by corporate customer service representatives after being shot full of feel-good numbing.

Being numb to the world definitely has it upside. Four out of five dentists recommend it.
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Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Email him at jrundles@cobizmag.com.

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