A swift recovery from today’s dentist visit to fill two cavities. To my surprise, it was the least-unpleasant such procedure I’ve ever undergone. By far.
I traditionally have a swift and specific reaction to the effects of novocaine: equal parts panic and nausea. But today was the first time I had my own music available on headphones for the duration.
After skipping through some plaintive Radiohead and introspective R.E.M., I realized what I really needed was the post-modernist accompaniment of a previous decade’s high melodrama. Cue Alexander Courage’s 1965 soundtrack for—what else?—Star Trek‘s second pilot episode.
It worked better than I’d hoped. Space-opera suspense functioned amazingly well to satirize the sight of a masked, lab-coated professional leaning in to mutilate, then repair a tiny portion of my deadened head. Thanks to the serendipitous timing of two practitioners separated by almost half a century (and possibly half a planet), I found I had to work hard to not bust out laughing at least twice during the procedure, and entirely forgot to feel either panic or nausea once the music pitched up into the danger, mystery, and terror of old-style action-adventure network television. Even the arch dialog associated with some of the musical cues worked to my advantage.
I try very hard to make other people laugh when circumstances permit. Today I found a way to do that for myself, the ability for which I’m grateful to every actor or comedian I’ve ever admired or tried to emulate.