“The good thing about this job,” said my smooth-talking Venezuelan oral surgeon, “is that I am allowed to be honest and I always am. I do not lie and say it is not going to hurt, you will not feel a thing. This is probably going to hurt.”
“I figured as much,” I said, slightly slurring from the anesthetic.
“Are you good at praying?”
“I’m an atheist.”
He laughed loudly.
“Is that going to count against me?”
“No! No, never.”
“Are you always this sweet and funny, or is it just when you are scared?”
“You have a needle and a drill. I’m not about to piss you off. I’ll pray if you really want.”
“It is my duty to tell you this,” he said, “because I can tell you are very smart. This is important: when you have your wisdom teeth taken out, you do not actually lose any wisdom.”
“Yes,” he said. “You will still have wisdom. Do not go and get married.”
“I already did! Last month.”
“Hmm, but maybe it was wise. Your parents, they did not try to stop you, did they?”
“Actually . . . , ” I said, ” . . . I eloped.”*
He laughed loudly. “You’re blowing my mind.”
Later, as he was 15 minutes into digging an enormous, embedded monster of a wisdom tooth out of my skull, he paused and said, “You know, if you were a boy you’d be crying right now.”
*I was kidding. My parents didn’t try to stop me. Though they were alarmed.