The world starts to wrench sideways, like a boat being torn off rotten rope moorings. The steady hiss of the nitrous oxide and oxygen mix blend with the sounds of Joe Walsh singing "life's been good to me so far", an ironic tune to have running through your head when the novacaine needle slips right into a nerve, making you seem to hover instantly about 8 inches off the chair with a shock that would no doubt be like the one you send into a dead frog in science class. The man in the white coat stops for a moment, waiting for you to thud back down into the chair like a hog that's been hit with a sledge hammer, then reaches over and drills off most of a tooth you've been carrying around since Eisenhauer was president, all the time mumbling things you can barely hear over the stereo roaring and the odd disconnect from the gas. An hour and a half slide by in that chair, seeming like a slow motion accident, the sucking noises mixing with the grinding, the odd smell of glues and burnt enamel, the gritty spatter of old fillings bouncing off your teeth, finding their way over to the side of your face that doesn't feel like a frozen chicken breast, making you squirm. On the ride home, you realize that this constant removal of tooth material and money from your dwindling stash of cash can't keep up, mostly because you're running out of teeth to suck down money and offer these days of discomfort. And you pray that today's new temp crown stays on till the middle of January, when the new insurance kicks in, and that the tooth you're dropping a thousand bucks on won't decide it needs to finance the root canal dentist's new plasma TV. At least it's gray and raining. I hate walking out of the dentist office numb, drained and filled at the same time. I think I'll be a slacker the rest of the day.