Fanging it (Part 2)

Into the jaws of Death. Into the mouth of Hell.


So there she was, my new dentist.

She had a kind, wise face that spoke experience.

I offered my hand with relief. ‘Hi, Sue!’

She shook her head. ‘No; I’m Kath. Sue will be with us shortly. We’re in Surgery 2.’


Shock & awe

The word ‘surgery’ rattled in my head as I entered and scanned the room.

Each wall boasted signed paintings of decisive military engagements. Perhaps Sue was my kind of woman …

When she arrived, it was a shock.

My old dentist was an aging Caucasian male.

Sue was a (very?) young Chinese female.

As a former equal employment opportunity officer and part-time feminist, I was surprised at my rising fear.

I fought it, sat down and shut up.

Testing time

Kath gave me tinted glasses – better than the clear ones I was used to. I could see, but there was less unsettling eyeballing.

David Attenborough smiled from a ceiling-mounted screen. Another improvement.

Sue opened my mouth and reeled off an authoritative inventory which Kath transcribed.

Words like lateral, anterior and amalgam flowed for so long, I wondered how I could chew at all.

Sue sounded calm and confident; not at all like a student.

When she was done, she asked why I’d come.

I blurted my story with far more emotion and detail than necessary.

She listened, asked questions and even invited me to expand.

Being used to pack-‘em-in medical appointments, I found her generous, unhurried approach very comforting.

She opened my file and studied the last x-rays my old dentist had done.

To my surprise, she didn’t think another set was needed.

Relieved at this significant cost saving, I remarked at her penchant for martial art.

She laughed. ‘Oh no; this isn’t my surgery; I’m just borrowing it.’

As I pondered how this might affect me, she set to work.


New broom

My old dentist had used a grappling hook with separate water cannon.

Sue’s weapon combined the two.

It hurt.

My back arched and my feet arrowed to a flaming Messerschmitt 262.

Kath said, ‘Gee, I’m not managing your pain very well am I? Just raise your hand if it gets too bad.’

I gurgled that I was unable to ungrip my fingers.

Sue immediately stopped to explain that while her combo method was more painful, it was much faster as she only had to go round once.

I replied that while working with her was new and unsettling, I wasn’t seeking to replicate my old dentist.

(This wasn’t strictly true. But, as it was impossible to do the latter, it was necessary to accept the former.)

I said she should use her preferred method and that I’d roll with it.

I then asked if there’d be a lollipop when it was all over.

Sue replied that confectionary had been phased out as an inappropriate reward for brave kids. It was all stickers these days.

With encouraging words she pressed on.

I then realised I’d forgotten to pray.



Talk about emotional whiplash!

Do you see the pros and cons of this first service provider experience?

Point ‘em out.

Tell us what you think.

How would YOU have handled this new-client interaction?

Whatever you do,

don’t miss our blood-curdling conclusion.



Paul Hassing | Founder & Senior Writer – The Feisty Empire