"Just Lay back and open your mouth."
In pretty much any working situation I have been in, this is the last thing I've wanted to hear. But then again I can't say if this was really a job or not. I've made more money doing it than a number of jobs I have held just long enough to realize how truly wretched they were.
Oh, heh, you arenít psychic are you? You've no idea what I'm rambling about...
Well I guess the crux of the whole thing, the special trait I was chosen for above all other applicants, is the dung and cadavers of uncountable googolplexes of microbes in my mouth. Their decay is acidic, forming tiny grooves where plaque grows on my teeth in a way that makes dental students weak-kneed.
Thanks to a lifetime of non-stop chain-smoking and reflex coffee drinking coupled with the diet that living off of buffets or 7/11 will necessitate, I have thus far made over $1,500 (US), been put up for a total of six nights in hotels in San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz, and had all meals and general expenses covered for the duration of my test.
Clear your mind... "Student Dentistry." Shhh... "Student Dentistry..." Say it to yourself: "Student Dentistry..."
Did you feel some inexplicable pulse of fear at that? Some inexplicable rectal pucker that would prompt you and the rest of the hordes to pay for services that can be had for free? The reason I ask is that, at least round these parts, there is an enormous deficit of patients for students. When I went in to get a free cleaning at the dental hygienist school it was discovered that I had the "right" kind of plaque to qualify for the state board certification exam. I was suddenly noticeably more popular.
To understate: these beautiful young women kept coming up to me and staring into my open mouth making cooing noises peppered with technical jargon.
"Mmmmm hmm, I see what you mean. Oooo, gawd, thatís great. Mmmmmm... 14 in 3 quads? Even sub calc? No forced ledge depths!? GET OUT! Wow..."
Then, as if I wasn't actually present for the prior, she leaned over a little, changed her demeanour and said in a deeper "professional" voice, "Mr. Jacobson, I just have to tell you that you have a very special mouth."
Well, wouldnít be the first woman who fell in love with my mouth. Oh Jesus, did I just say that? Gross. Poor impulse control. Mental note: must remember to edit that out of the version I send to Leandro. [How I wish he had -Ed][Me too -Other Ed][Er. Yeah, right, me too... I guess -Third Ed]
The x-ray technician who took my basic jaw-check set of photos tried to claim me as her patient instead of the woman who had been interviewing and taking measurements in my mouth.
They proceeded to get into a heated argument. Over. My. Plaque... HAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHOOoooooo... Excuse me. See, these are the kind of women who, when I was in school, would look at me and crinkle up saying "Ew, Gawd, like, WHAT are YOU trying to be?"
They were the kinds of girls who qualified for dating the team captain but never did, and so eternally hovered around 3rd or 4th dog in the socio-in-pack. Good wives--if you can stand that sort of thing. They are the sort who want the 2.3 children and the white picket fence thing. But you, being Human, will fuck that all up and provide the grist for John Updike style wasting-self-inflicted-disease.
Good wives, but -- y'know -- say it in the same way you'd say "good riddance." Am I bitter about the estrangement from peers at a young age? Naw; better to see folk for what they are earlier on than later. But I do feel this strange tremor of delight up in me as I witness the "jock's girlfriend" and the "popular chick" literally get in each other's space over the... heh... the... the privilege of asking me whether they can pay me to scrape the crud out of my mouth. HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHaaahhhhhhh... I live with irony like the bastard wraith of a smothered child, but never have I been on the positive receiving end of one of its sweeping gestures! The hygienist that starts working on me makes these corner-of-her-mouth comments to me about what a bitch that girl is and even gets a bit personal with a "well, you should see the kinds of guys she dates [insert condescending but suppressed laugh meant to say, 'You know what I mean, she's so beneath us!']" I can only groan and grunt as my mouth is open with her hand in it while she carries on her monologue-conversation. I start to laugh, in a coughing sort of way. I can sense the coming together of factors that, though I was only a very small part, seemed to focus in on a very dramatic but deeply personal inside joke -- and it's fucking funny! She thinks I am gagging on spit so she sticks the sucking tube into my mouth.
"Okay, just checking."
The check-up portion ends with, "Here's a hundred dollars so that you know I'm serious; and come back. Please come back."
Okay, likely about now you are picturing me with these crooked orange and blackish juts of bone material in my face instead of teeth, but that's not the case. It's just that apparently I have a genetic luck-of-the-draw spit formula that facilitates the bonding of the stuff without damaging the gums, which is armour if I'm not mistaken, and so have "extraordinarily light gum depths."
"Errrr, oh-kay... 'We care,' really, but get on with it!"
Sorry... it's just that I had this really pretty woman say to me after all this came up in conversation, "Wow... your mouth must be pretty fucking foul," and it's made me a little self-conscious.
So, "the test": they deep clean and buff a fourth of my mouth within a given time frame. Clean. Not "drill into" or "muck around in the nervous system of" but merely clean. For this: a total of $600 dollars for 1 of 3 "quads" in my mouth that qualified. Student Dentistry: It apparently is such a topic of fear that these students were paying me about 2 times what they would soon be charging folks who, unlike me, would pay to have their teeth buffed. HAHAHHHAHAHA--the last $400 that I made was basically for hanging out in San Francisco for a few hours as a backup patient in case one student's primary didn't show or was disqualified. The quad remains yet to be harvested. In fact, it is theoretically possible to NEVER have it cleaned but keep hooking up backup patient over-nights in the city for $400 a pop. Professional plaque harvesting. Ehehhheh... Truly goddamn bizarre. Oh yeah, and depending on where the particular hygienist wishes to later practice determines where she (or he, I suppose, is possible too--but completely undemonstrated) will take her exam. These locations include: San Francisco, Anchorage, Las Vegas, and Hawaii among others. The hygienists pay for it all: transportation, food and smokes.
This will be an ongoing source of income for me henceforth. Alas, one season of 3 quads worth of the appropriate plaque (3 for reasons of crop rotation) takes about a year at minimum. Still, tack on $1200+ to my annual net worth thanks to coffee, smokes, and also the ecosystem that gets its money where my mouth is.
Sooooo. Is that a job? Or am I just collecting rent from the billions of formerly-viewed-as-freeloaders that teem in my spit?
This article was edited by Leo N., later by Melissa De Wilde. She later passed it on to Sean B. Palmer. Many tears were shed in the process.