Monday, October 22, 2018


I had a profound moment of skelessism today (there, I made up a word!). I saw the image of my own skeleton on the X-ray display board at the dentist's and fell in love with myself (skelessism is skeletal narcissism).

A skeleton cannot be fat or thin, dark-skinned or light-skinned, but just a skeleton. If you look closely, all skeletons look like they are laughing. So there, I saw the image of my own face, bony, and laughing back at me. It had tooth number 14 missing, and in that gap, there was a tiny implant (like a metal screw), giving the image that a cigarette is tucked in between my teeth. I forgot that I was at the dentist to get treated and started laughing at my own image.

Later, a male doctor with a resounding voice saw me in my most awkward position, gaping like a crocodile, an oxygen cylinder taped to my nose, lying flat with a thick piece of cloth on my eyes to block out the light. Boy, I am glad he could not see my face, I wouldn't want any man to see me in such a flattering pose. He introduced himself as Dr D, and I extended my hand in the air to shake his, solely based on the direction of his voice. A strong grip, I liked it! I had no idea what he looked like.

During the brief, 20-minute procedure of exposing my gums, he gave me an odd compliment. Not something another man would tell me. He said that I had grown a lot of bone around my gums since my procedure in February, and today, he had to shave off some of the extra bone to do this procedure, which is great! "You can grow a lot of bone in a short time" is the oddest compliment I have received.

The procedure went well, they stitched me up, took an exit X-ray, and that is when Dr. D entered the room and shook my hands again. Boy, he is a good-looking doctor! He spent some time talking about the floods in Kerala and how one of his colleagues was stuck there. Every American who has been to India either tells me about their trip to Rajasthan and the Taj Mahal or a natural disaster of epic proportions someone he knows got stuck in. He talked briefly about his work in Karnataka. It was all small talk. It's so strange, good looks can even momentarily block out dental pain. As I left Dr. D's office, I was left wondering how someone could be so good looking. To complete the circle of thought, I reminded myself that at the end of the day, and at the end of all that skin and muscle and fat and cartilage, he too is a skeleton.


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