Fear is an odd thing. It’s terrible and wonderful. It can motivate us to do things we might not otherwise do, but it can also keep us from doing things we should do, things we need to do, or things we want to do.

I hate going to the dentist. HATE IT. I’m going today, and I didn’t sleep much because of the fear and anxiety that accompanies this fateful day that has been postponed a few times since December. I don’t know exactly what I fear about it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I fear the blinding pain of a root canal, the discomfort of the drilling, the pinch of each novacaine injection, the unbearable tension that seizes every muscle from head-to-toe. But I’m just going in for a cleaning today…that’s what they say anyway. That’s how they get you in. Then they scold you for drinking coffee, and not flossing, and not doing everything like a dental hygienist would. Sorry, ma’am, but I’m not a dental hygienist. You all have perfectly curved bangs, too much eye makeup and gleaming white Chiclet teeth. I don’t have any of those traits nor do I want them. Well gleaming white perfect teeth wouldn’t be so bad. Probably not in the cards for me though.

I just want to maintain oral health like everybody else. I brush my teeth, I even floss regularly, and I use a stupid mineral-building Listerine fluoride rinse every night. I’ve been told that my teeth are pretty white and appear quite healthy. Sadly though, lurking beneath the surface is Evil. Pure Evil. Dramatic? Yes. But seriously, my mouth is just cursed.

The hyperventilation and panic attacks should set in around the end of 4th block. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the coffee sitting on my desk. I will sip it all day just to spite my dentist. Oh, and this doughnut Mr. Guerin just gave me? I’m all over it.

Of course I will repent and go brush my teeth a little later. That’s what fear does. Fear of worse damage is what will force me into my car this afternoon and make my foot nudge the gas pedal enough to get to Eden Prairie; what will allow me to catch enough of a shallow breath to exit my car, walk through the door and half-smile at the receptionist with the perfect cavity-free mouth. It’s what will compel me to actually open my mouth when prompted and allow the mean lady to jab at my gums until they bleed. It’s what will help me endure the verbal bashing of that mean lady and the dentist himself when they tell me I should be flossing ALL DAY LONG to avoid any further tooth decay. Really? I mean, come on, really!?