Ever been talked into something foolish?
Ever been talked into something foolish and expensive?
Ever been talked into something foolish and expensive and ridiculous and utterly, utterly pointless?
Put your witty cracks about "marriage" aside, and feast your eyes on this:
Yes. Exactly. And if you wish to continue feeling superior to me in every possible way, read on.
It seemed inappropriate to discuss this whole business when it happened - sometime in the crucible of Queensland's flood crisis. It occurred after I returned from Bundaberg; but before the raging water overwhelmed Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley, making its eventual way towards the sea, sweeping along the rivers of Ipswich and Brisbane leaving mud and destruction in its wake.
I'd gotten a text message from a CBD-based beauty salon that I am known to frequent for hair-removal purposes. They were offering all services for half-price the very next day, so I promptly booked in for a strip and tear operation. While lying in the prone position, I got to chatting to the nice young lass in charge of the deforestation about other services that I could take advantage of.
"You should get your teeth whitened! It only takes 20 minutes, and you can read a magazine while you wait!"
She was a girl who spoke in exclamation marks.
"Teeth whitening? But does that even, well, you know, work?"
"Oh yeah! People generally go three to five shades lighter!"
I don't know why I said yes. I don't know why I let her persuade me. Perhaps my guard was down after two weeks of flood-heavy coverage. Perhaps I'm just an idiot. But whatever the reason, a few minutes after my ritual plucking I found myself in a back room, signing a consent form for the "Donatello" teeth whitening system.
(You may guess at this point that "Donatello" is not the real name of said teeth-whitening system. I use it so that if you ever encounter any kind of contraption hijacking the good name of a renaissance genius, you'll remember my warning).
I was handed some swabs and told to rub them over my teeth. The exclamation girl applied something on a Q-Tip to my gums. Then she placed a large mouthguard into my gob, some black sunglasses over my eyes, and a menacing, Kubrick-esque light machine into my face.
Finally she handed me a magazine, switched on a timer, and left the room.
I tried reading the magazine. The sunglasses were too dark. Wanting to see just how ridiculous I looked, I managed to snap a couple of photos on my phone before settling in to 20 minutes of sitting and waiting.
After ten minutes the drooling started.
The mouthguard kept my mouth open, restricting my ability to swallow. I first noticed a few drops of saliva hitting my chin. I tried desperately to swallow, gasping from somewhere around my tonsils, hoping to suck the spit back in. It didn't work.
For the second half of the treatment, I turned into a Saliva Niagara Falls. I dribbled and slurped and generally found myself in an alternate reality as the victim of a misguided frontal lobotomy.
When the DING! of the timer finally sounded, and Exclamation Girl came back in to remove me from my devilish dental harness, I realised the extent of the damage. Due to the angle my head was tilted at for this ridiculous procedure, the drool had dribbled down the left side of my body - completely saturating the bottom of my t-shirt and denim skirt. That's right, one half of my clothing was soaked in my own spit.
But did it work? you ask. Did it BOLLOCKS.
Pre-Kubrick, Exclamation Girl had compared my teeth to a small chart and rated the colour a 20. Afterwards she repeated the process and declared me a "Seventeen!" I looked in the mirror - and saw ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE. My teeth remained the same shade of slightly yellowy-white they were before I strapped myself in to the Donatello Machine. At that point, I let out my own, internal, exclamation.
Then I walked out and paid $147.50 for the privilege.
And that's the 50% off price. If it had been any other day, I would've had to pay $295 to experience life as a brain-dead zombie for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I walked out of that salon more furious with myself than possibly ever before. And regular readers of this blog would know I have had countless reasons to be furious with myself.
"$150 of good money! You could've walked up to Myer and bought something actually useful, like shoes, with that cash!" I yelled inside my head as I stalked up the Queen Street Mall. "Better yet, you could've put that bloody $150 towards bills or your credit card, or the flood appeal or hell - even losing it in the street would've been a better idea."
So the lesson, ladies and gentlemen of the Clumsy Tooth Folly, is that you should go to a bloody dentist for anything useful regarding your teeth. The secondary moral is that you should NEVER feel like you're the most ridiculous person in the world, as I clearly have that position all stitched up.