Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quote of the Day (Robert Benchley, on Visiting the Dentist)

“The English language may hold a more disagreeable combination of words than ‘The doctor will see you now.’ I am willing to concede something to the phrase ‘Have you anything to say before the current is turned on.’ That may be worse for the moment, but it doesn't last so long. For continued, unmitigating depression, I know nothing to equal ‘The doctor will see you now.’ But I'm not narrow-minded about it. I'm willing to consider other possibilities.”—Robert Benchley, “The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, and Nothing But The Tooth,” in Love Conquers All (1922)

Forget it, Mr. Benchley—there are no other possibilities. Abandon hope—and that tooth—all ye who enter here.
Just think of it—87 years have elapsed since the incomparable Benchley penned these words, and over 30 years since Laurence Olivier’s Nazi dentist (in the image accompanying this post) tortured poor Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man. Dentists will tell you a veritable revolution has occurred in treatment over this time.

Still, I ask you, faithful reader: Didn’t you feel a shudder of recognition when reading this quote?

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