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Thank you for putting me in my place!

A reader reminded me last week that not everyone enjoys my special brand of humor as she found the story of my visit to the dentist to be offensive enough to call me out in an e-mail.

She felt that I underappreciated the professionalism and service orientation put forth by dentists, assistants and hygienists. Further, she felt I was “rude” to call the hygienist in my story “dowdy,” leading me to believe that she was most likely a member of that pastel-garbed line of work (although her sentiments were intended to reflect those of everyone in her office).

I was mulling over how upset I made this reader as I sat, forlorn, waiting for my repeatedly delayed flight to show some progress toward its third announced departure time. As I casually observed the multitudes passing by my station across from the smoker’s terrarium, I pondered the obvious we Americans are incredibly overweight!

Untucked shirts, low-cut blouses, tattoos, bangles and other adorning trinkets are not effective enough distractions to hide the fatty ballast most of us carry about. It doesn’t help the situation that about half the people traipsing by were devouring oversized meals from a fast food takeout bag.

I surmise that the surprising popularity of Crocs and flip-flops is at least partially due to the convenience of not requiring the wearer to bend over and manipulate shoestrings. The relative ease of attaching one’s footwear is apparently inversely proportional to their circumference.

My plane was late arriving from Baltimore, and the second delay was required when our flight crew had yet to arrive from Charlotte. Finally, they announced the start of boarding when all of a sudden the heavens opened up and a colossal deluge engulfed Hartsfield International. Vivid streaks of lightening backlit the rain-obscured windows and crescendos of thunder rumbled the terminal.

The storm triggered delay number three. This news was delivered by the gate attendant in a stilting, matter-of-fact voice not as welcoming as the rebuff I received for inadvertently shifting my incised jaw during a dental x-ray, but clearly he was not to be trifled with, either.

I regret casting aspersions on the honorable dental professions. Despite using technology developed by the Marquis de Sade, stroke-mimicking pharmaceuticals and the annoying gurgle of that spit-snorkel, I know that their version of health care is critical to our well-being. I like my dentist and, truth be told, think my hygienist is kind of funny in a cute sort of way.

I did not try to be demeaning but simply told the story in a way that I thought most readers could identify. I endeavor to relate anyone’s foibles — most often my own — but I realize that not everyone sees humor in the same daily events as I do. In fact, I feel that the editors removed my funniest line — probably because it could have been construed as an insult to a virgin-challenged North Shore community.

So, in case I end up supine in your exam chair, please don’t put my bib on using a hangman’s knot and repair my filling with your neighbor’s Black & Decker. I was just kidding!

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