I went to the dentist this morning. All was fine as it pretty much always is. But that doesn’t stop me from freaking out. What is it about the dentist that does this? I blame the school dental nurses of my childhood with their set of torture tools and creepy schadenfreude.
The thing I hate the most about the dentist is the x-ray machine. Why do they have to use that thing every single time? I know it is ultimately in my best interest and supposedly harmless, but I can’t help but think, as I sit frozen to the seat with a mouth full of plastic and a small cannon-like barrel pointed at my head, what if the machine malfunctions just at this moment – perhaps there’s a software bug that’s about to deliver a burst of radiation – or what if the dentist positions it the wrong way and fries my brain accidentally? And before you have a chuckle at my expense, let me say that I studied software engineering at University and learnt all about the Therac-25 – a radiation therapy machine – which accidentally delivered massive overdoses of radiation because of a software bug, killing three patients. So forget about whether it’s okay to teach students Christopher Monkton’s version of climate science, I was forced to learn about the Therac-25 which has forever ruined the x-ray machine for me.
It is usually at this point – sitting in the chair with the machine pointed at my head – that I start to feel light-headed and think, oh God, there is a bug, it’s happening. Then very quickly I realise this is just the nocebo effect and the super-anxiety genes that run in my family. I suppose it’s just as well I don’t live in earthquake-central anymore. Instead, we live in volcano-central. And tornado-central.