When I was very young, I was fascinated by the strange, archaic cultures depicted in National Geographic magazine. Wow. Halfway around the world there were primitive people living in the jungle! and Amazon tribes living in longhouses alongside that great, majestic river! One photo in particular has stayed with me over the years: a proud tribal warrior with a painted face, his teeth carved like shark’s teeth, looking fierce and exotic.
Halfway through my tooth procedure the dentist let me out of the chair so I could stretch my legs. At this point my blood/laughing-gas level was about 10,000 PPM and my cognitive abilities were decidedly un-cognitive . I asked the assistant where the restroom was and she replied, “Turn right and blah blah blah blah...” I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. It was like a scientist explaining to the rat how to get through a maze.
I went into the hallway, just sort of shuffling along, when up ahead I saw an open door and heard voices. Thinking I could get better directions, I paused at the doorway and peered inside. There were two men in business suits sitting at a small conference table, deep in conversation. They turned to see who was loitering in the doorway and their faces went blank. They hurriedly turned away and continued their conversation.
I shuffled on, and after a bit more trial-and-error, I located a small, dimly-lit restroom tucked away in a dark corner. I stepped inside, locked the door, and gazed into the mirror. My red shirt was speckled with hundreds of tiny teeth parts, and the hair on the back of my head was sticking straight up like a rooster tail, but my squinty eyes zeroed in on my pointy teeth. I thought to myself: “Wow...I look like those guys in National Geographic.”
But of course that was just the laughing gas talking. I didn’t look fierce, and certainly not exotic. ‘Demented Psychopath’ perhaps, but even that doesn’t describe the face staring back at me in the mirror.
After a while, I made my way back to the dental chair. The dentist and his assistant finished massacring my mouth, I signed some paperwork, scheduled a follow-up appointment, and drove home in a daze, reminiscing about those few moments of being a proud Warrior of the Jungle.