What do Ben Stiller movies, unrequited love and personal dental work all have in common? I’m glad you asked.
The week I’m writing this story, I am scheduled to go into the dentist’s office for a crown. No, I’m not being made king for a day; my relatively average teeth are getting yet another fix. I wish I had my wife’s mouth bacteria, she’s had, (count ’em), zero cavities. Zero! I’ve had maybe, I don’t know, maybe 15,000? Crowns, veneers and fillings – I guess I’ve had maybe 20 over my 50+ years. You’d think that after more than 40 years of French kissing, some of her cavity-fighting bacteria would have migrated into my mouth.
I like my dentist, he passes my test for a “good” dentist. My test? I want to feel nothing when you insert the needle and I want it to work the first time. My current dentist has an amazing soft and steady touch. I’m really going to miss him when I move away from California. His name is Dr. Wallace in case you’re ever in the Fair Oaks area, great dentist! My previous dentist, Dr. Stitsinger (RIP) from Hamilton, Ohio was just ok. I thought he was good until I moved here and found Wallace. Now I’m thinking that perhaps my old dentist had a thing for inflicting pain in goofy guys like me.
Ok Rob, your dental work is extremely interesting, but what does all of this have to do with unrequited love and Ben Stiller? I’m getting to that, I swear. Ben Stiller made one of my favorite comedies – There’s Something About Mary. When I was a young teenager, I knew a ‘Mary’. Her name was Bridgett and Bridgett worked part time for my dentist in Hamilton.
Bridgett had a pretty face like Courtney Cox, a mouth like Andrew Dice Clay and could throw a pretty mean fastball. I used to love going to the dentist on days Bridgette was working. She had a way about her that made you feel you were the most important person in the moment. A year younger than I and friends also with my good friend Joe, we used to live somewhat close to her family when I was younger. Our moms knew each other, (I think from church), and we had visited their house once or twice when I was very young. Meeting up with her again at the dentist office was sort of like a homecoming the first time we realized we had a past connection. Every time I visited the dentist, if Bridgette was working, she always came in to spend time with me. We’d joke around and laugh real hard….Bridgette was a joke teller. She knew a hundred jokes and like I said, could have a trucker’s mouth at times.
Alright, so now you’re saying that you can see the connections between my dental crown and Ben Stiller. You’re probably now thinking that I had a huge crush on Bridgette and that she thwarted my attempts to get close, right? Wrong! Not so fast Babalouie…I’ll do the thinnin’ around here. Don’t get me wrong, sure Bridgette was beautiful, but for me, she was the type I loved to have as a friend. I loved her in small doses I guess is the best way to capture how I thought about Bridgette. Her sister Diane, now that was a different story.
I had a crush on Diane. She was cute, an even better ball player than Bridgette and a little shy. I still didn’t yet know Kim, my future wife, but as I look back on this I can see that Diane was quite a bit like Kim, even down to the dark complexion.
My friend Joe had been goading me into breaking the ice with Diane. I wasn’t sure how to do it but Joe, Diane and I had a class together, not sure what it was. I thought I could get Diane to like me if she gave me a chance. I’d overwhelm her with my supernatural wit and charm. How to get started though. Do I ask her out to a movie? What about an after school sports game? I decided that a long conversation would be my best shot. I ran the idea of asking to walk her home after school past Joe, (besides, this idea best fit my budget). Joe was like – yeah, sure, that’s a great idea, ask her, ask her.
So the day came. The class was one of those types of classes where the kids are active. We were all working on some kind of personal science posters. In fact, Joe rolled his up into the shape of a giant long penis and flashed it directly at me. Hey Rob, (giant long penis in my face)….I didn’t catch on immediately and started tugging at it. This of course got the 2-3 onlookers to start cracking up and it was at this point that I finally caught on. My face flushed with embarrassment, but we all had a quick laugh. The teacher had briefly left the office and so Joe nagged me into finally popping the question with Diane.
This was it. Teenage sexual bliss was right around the corner. I imagined our walking to her house, holding hands, chatting for 45 minutes and then maybe some kissy facing somewhere in her house, her parents not yet home. Ok, here I go, wish me luck Joe.
I walked over to Diane, she said hi, I said hey. Then I popped the question:
“Can I walk you home today?”
I was ready for all kinds of responses:
‘Yes, that would be great’
‘Sure, that sounds like fun’
‘Today’s not good for me Rob, how about tomorrow’
‘No thanks, I like you Rob, but not that way’
‘No I just want to be friends Rob’
Even the crazy fantasy response I was ready for:
‘Wow Rob, I was wondering when you’d ask. Hey my parents aren’t home, maybe we can get naked’
Yes, I was ready for all of those. I was not ready for the response I got.
Me – “Can I walk you home today?”
Diane – “Why?”
I was frozen. Like a deer in the headlights, like an opossum frozen in the hillbilly flashlight just knowing he’s become possum stew, I just stood there. “Umm…..I don’t know”. And I walked away.
Joe had been watching and when I told him what had just happened, he started laughing uncontrollably. He kept repeating, “why Rob”, “why”. I thought he was going to pee his pants. Of course the onlooker crew all got clued in and I was the brunt of teasing for the next couple of weeks.
Ultimately, I figured any girl I had to explain to why I was interested in her, was not going to be worth the effort. There would never be any ‘hey my parents aren’t home, let’s get naked’ reactions from any girl whose initial response was “why”.
So much for the crush on Diane and the possibility of ever being related to ‘Mary’ or getting free dental work. I’m off now to go get crowned. See you next Sunday dear reader.
And for you younger readers, if you’ve never seen the Bill Cosby dentist skit, please watch!