(I’m a big Al Pacino fan. I love the moment that occurs in almost all of his movies where, after being on edge for so long, he finally loses it and explodes – whether it’s “Dog Day Afternoon” or “Scent of a Woman” or “Scarface.” Nobody explodes like Al Pacino.
For some reason, frequently after watching a Pacino movie on television, I fall asleep and have the same recurring dream where Pacino is my dentist. It goes something like this ….)
Pacino: So how have you been? Any problems with your teeth?
Me: I’m fine. No problems with my teeth.
Pacino: Okay, we’re just going to do a cleaning today and a quick check-up. Open wide. That’s good. (Starts poking around, stops, hits a nerve on the uppers, middle right side.) Does that hurt?
Me: (water in my eyes) Just a little.
Pacino: There’s some decay in that tooth. (Pulls his hands out of my mouth and sits back) Have you been flossing?
Me: Flossing? Um, yeah, every day.
Pacino: (slowly and softly) Every day.
Me: Yep, that’s right.
Pacino: (slowly and evenly, building) You’ve been flossing ever day. Every day. Yet when I look in your mouth, I’m up to my ELBOWS IN PLAQUE. AND I’M SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT YOU’VE BEEN FLOSSING EVERY DAY?
Me: Did I say every day? I may miss a day or two now and then.
Pacino: (Calmly) Tell me, Dave, how long have I known you?
Me: I’m not sure …
Pacino: How long have I been your dentist?
Me: Well, let me see now, it’s probably been five or six years.
Pacino (pulling out my file): Why don’t you try SEVENTEEN YEARS! SEVENTEEN YEARS I’VE BEEN YOUR DENTIST. AND FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS, I’VE BEEN ASKING IF YOU’VE BEEN FLOSSING, AND I ALWAYS GET THE SAME ANSWER.
Me: I might have overstated the frequency a bit.
Pacino: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE TALKING TO? WHY DO YOU THINK YOU CAN LIE TO ME?
(The hygienist enters)
Hygienist: Doctor, the x-ray machine seems to be out of order.
Pacino: THE X-RAY MACHINE? THE X-RAY MACHINE IS OUT OF ORDER? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THIS WHOLE OFFICE IS OUT OF ORDER!
Me: Maybe I should come back some other ….
Pacino: YOU AIN’T GOING NOWHERE. I’M JUST GETTING WOUND UP! Now, when was the last time you flossed?
Me: (nervous) The last time?
Pacino: (wielding a drill) Just answer the question.
Me: (sweat on my brow) Oh, I guess, a week or two ago.
Pacino (revving up the drill): SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!
Me: Ok, not a week or two. I confess! I’ve never flossed! I don’t even know how to hold the stuff! (Suddenly a defense mechanism kicks in and in the dream, I turn into Jack Nicholson)
Pacino: Okay, that’s better. Now let’s take a look at that bad tooth. Open wide.
Me (Nicholson): Sorry, Al, no can do. All work and no play makes Al a dull boy.
Pacino: I said, open wide. I need to LOOK AT THAT TOOTH !
Me (Nicholson): THE TOOTH? THE TOOTH? YOU CAN”T HANDLE THE TOOTH!
(At this point I wake up with an overwhelming urge to rinse)