An accountant of thirty years reveals that his seemingly normal life is actually one filled with strange encounters and hilarious situations.
Chapter 5 “All I Wanted was a Root Canal!”
Los Angeles, CA – 1985
DANIEL HAD NO REASON to believe this would be anything more than your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill…root canal. Okay, he was nervous as hell. However, after two weeks of blinding pain, Daniel was ready to yank the damn tooth out with pliers himself. Thank God Daniel had his six-month appointment already booked with Dr. Kendall, his lifelong dentist.
Upon entering the parking lot, something seemed strange. Sure, businesses change their signs over the years, but seeing the word “Dental Office” affixed to the bottom of a dry cleaner sign didn’t bode well. Daniel entered the office and uttered a sigh of relief. The walls were still adorned with the old pictures of beautiful smiles next to gum disease and tooth rot. After thirty years, Daniel was glad to see that some things never change. However, one thing was missing – Dr. Kendall’s name on the door.
Daniel approached the receptionist and asked, “Is this still the same office for Dr. Kendall?”
“On Tuesdays,” she responded. Working one day a week seemed reasonable since Dr. Kendall had been getting on in years. However, there was one problem; today was Wednesday.
“I have it here that I am to see him today,” Daniel mentioned to the receptionist. The receptionist responded in such a way that you’d think someone had just murdered her prize-winning cat.
“Do you know why you are wrong?” she asked Daniel.
“Because I’m never wrong,” she declared while picking up the phone. “Dental office. Oh hi, Charlene. You wouldn’t believe the sale that they had at Woolworths.”
Being an accountant, Daniel knew that long intervals between dates allowed room for margins of error. At the same time, Daniel was an accountant that never allowed any room for any error. Daniel composed himself then opened his Franklin Planner. Yes, before there were smartphones there were regular paper bound yet outrageously expensive portable calendars. Daniel thumbed through it looking for any explanation for how he might have gotten the date wrong. “Aha!” Daniel said to himself. He found the appointment correctly entered six months to the day.
“Excuse me,” said Daniel meekly. “If you look right there, you’ll see that this date was entered six months ago.”
The receptionist glanced at the notation then simply replied, “That’s your calendar, not mine.”
Normally Daniel was accepting of simple mistakes. However, this was not a normal day. The rudeness of this receptionist gave him full license to engage in the age-old “I’m right versus you’re wrong” debate. Plus, he had just found evidence to support his argument.
“I hold in my hand THE appointment card from this office.”
“That’s not my handwriting,” she fired back.
“I believe it is.”
“I believe you should consider a new dentist.”
“What?! I’m not going to leave the only dentist I’ve known for thirty years just because you made a clerical error!”
The receptionist then pointed to her calendar and said condescendingly, “As you can see in my book, you were supposed to be here a month ago.”
Daniel peered down at her calendar. “That is last year’s calendar! Listen, I haven’t had solid food in two weeks, I haven’t slept in three and I can’t remember what life was like before headaches! All…I…want…is…a…ROOT CANAL!”
Suddenly, another patient entered the lobby.
“I’m here to see Dr. Kendall,” said the patient.
“Oh, go right in, Dear,” replied the receptionist.
“What?! You said Dr. Kendall wasn’t here!” declared Daniel.
“Kendall? Well of course he is. It’s Wednesday, isn’t it.”
Daniel stared at the receptionist, his gaze, unflinching, his fist, unclenching, his pain unrelenting. Like an angry robot, Daniel repeated, “Daniel Petterson. Dr. Kendall. Today. Ten AM.”
The receptionist looked at her calendar again. “Oh, well, this is the wrong year. Here you are, David.”
“Petterson. Well, you’re ten minutes late. Would you like to reschedule?”
“That’s it! I’m going to…”
“Daniel, my boy!” announced Dr. Kendall. “Look how you’ve grown! What’s it been, five years?”
“Well, you’re still that little buck-toothed boy to me. Come on back!” said Dr. Kendall cheerfully.
Daniel never thought he’d be so relieved to get a root canal. But anything was better than dealing with that damn receptionist!