Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Relinquishing perplexed and underloved dilemmas

For some time I have been having a feeling that there was something I should have been if I hadn't been a dentist. I mentioned this to Margaret over breakfast - she hovering 3 inches and me 2 - and she responded by smothering me in homemade apple and blackberry jam and asking if that was it. I'm not sure it was.

Bessy had spent the night dipping her tongue in a bowl of smelly water and lapping it as though it were something very pleasant. I suggested to Margaret that the hound was in a state of utter and undisguised self-perplexification as there was only ever likely to be one outcome. Margaret said that Bessy's confusion would be as profound as ever and serve to further our own search for reason. I didn't tell Margaret, but the one outcome I had in mind was a little less dignified - or useful.

Felix was holding a cup of tea with his feet. He'd been to see a couple of old sailing friends and they decided amongst themselves that if they were ever to overcome their personal inhibitions regarding social dialogue, they should drink their tea thus. After observing Felix with his cup for some moments I asked if he wanted a hand to get it to his lips. He asked if I'd ever - ever - demanded of myself anything other than those things one can achieve with little effort. I was somewhat affronted - probably because I hadn't - and left in haste.

George was flat on the floor of the waiting room with an instruction manual for a complex measuring machine balanced on his left ear. I wondered aloud if the machine were of some use in measuring opportunities available for relinquishing responsibility in a roundabout way. George flicked his head and the book lifted into the air then landed on his right ear. Page 2, said George, and the conversation ended.

Cookie was in conversation with our first patient about the formation of unsolved dilemmas faced by underloved people when attempting to hide in pages of books bound in beautiful ways. I asked if one such dilemma - no doubt discussed before my arrival - might revolve around the question of whether such an activity would have any effect on their perception of self when they next visited the dentist and, therefore, whether they should do it or not. Cookie said this was probably not a suitable question as there was unlikely to be any rain in the surgery. She may have said something quite profound, I don't know.

However, this brings me back to the point at the start: there are things one probably ought to be that one isn't and that challenging cups of tea hidden in beautiful books balanced delicately but precisely will serve some purpose in aiding an understanding of the issue. If such an issue is of any interest in the first place.

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