The Loh Life

You Can't Handle The Tooth, Part Two: Dental Phobia

Sandra Tsing Loh finds a dentist... on Facebook.

So the nightmare happened.  I bit into a piece of chicken - Zankou - and a chunk of tooth came out.  I was too embarrassed to call my regular dentist.  It had been so long, there would be a lecture, recriminations... the truth is, I'm already scared of the dentist.

I had my wisdom teeth out at 14, there were several traumatic childhood incidents, what with the Zzzzz!  Zzzzz!  Zzzzz!  And now, of course, I was really scared because, well, this was the worst!  I was holding a piece of tooth!  Oh, God!

The last time something like this happened I was drying my hair after a shower, looked into the towel, and saw lice!  I actually dialed 9-1-1, screaming!  I have a very low threshold.

I am now so freaked out and ashamed about a dental situation that suddenly seems so very British, I am feeling like I need a dental concierge, chaplain, therapist, town car, epidural and possible witness protection program.  I am going to have to find a Los Angeles dentist who caters so much to difficult patients he could be comfortable in the mouth of anyone from Barbra Streisand to Kim Jong-Un.

Where would I find one?  On Facebook!  Of course!  Because that's the sort of thing Facebook is good for.  It's horrible for anything else.  For instance, in my particular line of work, book writing, authors are always encouraged, even forced, by our publishers to start a Facebook page to promote our work to our fans.  So that "everything will go viral."  What will?  Um, everything!

What no one understands - because everyone in this confused loop is old - is, everything will go viral only if you are a millennial.  Not just any millennial, but the sort of millennial who gets drunk, puts on makeup, and films yourself.  One million hits!  Or, who puts on hats and photographs oneself.  It's a meme!  Two billion Instagram followers!  Or whatever!  The hat kid!

By contrast, middle-aged folk are well inoculated against any sort of virality.  We post important announcements about our professional projects -"Please like this" - that go totally unliked by our 1000 friends who are also posting stuff - "Save the whales!  Donate to Greenpeace!" - that we are also not liking.

However, sometimes people will post something like "Muffins.  Yum.  Pumpkin muffins."  Or, "I just ate at the worst Thai restaurant in Silverlake" or something about a rash from a food allergy, and that's an instant excited conversation among 10 middle-aged neurotic people.  Facebook is our online dispensary and our Craigslist.  Sort of.

I do expect at least a handful of good dental referrals.  But, I am not prepared for what happens as soon as I post.

Next week: My tooth goes viral.


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