Bite the dust - Monocolumn | Monocle


A daily bulletin of news & opinion

11 June 2015

It’s a shame Google has pulled the plug on Google glasses because I’ve just found the only possible reason in the world for being caught anything other than dead in them. Going to the dentist. After a night of teeth-grinding lunatic terror, a morning of sweaty-palmed worry and then a solid hour of open-mouthed discomfort, hooked-up to a saliva-hoover while gripping the arms of a flatbed horror-plank, I really wish there had been something to look at.

Sure, my dentist had Classic FM on to calm things down. And yeah, we did the preliminary “how have you been?”, which I thought meant “how have you been?” instead of “when I say ‘you’, I mean your teeth, pal”, which it actually means. So it wasn’t as if there hadn’t been any small talk or attempts to mask the masque of dread that is a visit to the dentist. But I would have loved something moving in front of my eyes to take my mind off matters at hand. Matters being: a 20-minute gum-prod with a pin-sharp miniature pitchfork, a roll of photos being snapped by a special gob-cam, a lecture about plaque delivered on the horizontal with the gob-cam snaps added for an extra Powerpoint frisson, a 40-minute ultrasound lightsaber battle inside the largest space in my head and, sir, to finish may I suggest biting on this gag-reflex-testing epiglottis-tickler so we can take some X-rays to make sure your lolling head will survive to the part where I charge you. I would have loved for there to have been something to watch inside my protective, saliva-proof specs.

Turns out Google didn’t talk to dental patients or it would be cleaning up here in the theatre of gas and sad molars and “try not to bite my finger”. As I lay there listening to an emollient former news anchor introducing three-minute bits of large orchestral works it seemed he’d never heard of, I lusted after something to really feast my eyes on, or sink my teeth into.

Like Alex’s shock treatment in A Clockwork Orange, I might have been given bombs and pornography. But I would happily have had something stirring such as The Man Who Would Be King, where deserters and frauds care not for misfortune or pain and soldier on, or something funny such as Charlie Chaplin or something complex such as Faust. Or, something stupid such as what was happening to me right there and then on a horizontal chair with two professional ladies peering with interest into my second-worst cavity.

Come on Google, sell me the tech and let’s go to the dentists with feel-good hits of the summer and dancing girls and all the things the internet can put inside a pair of specs. Please, really, stop biting my finger.

Robert Bound is Monocle’s culture editor.


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