“Open wide,” she sang.
He opened wide.
She accidentally rubbed up against him.
“Relax, Rabbi Scheinblum,” she said gaily. “I’m not going to hurt you. That’s Dr. Digby’s job.”
He ﬂinched again.
“Just kidding,” she reassured him. “My job is to take your mind off the coming pain.”
A major ﬂinch.
She ignored this response and launched into her assignment. One of the questions she’d been asking people as she ﬂossed them up for Dr. Digby was, what did they like best about Kirkland? If they were to name her the one thing they liked best about living in Kirkland, Kansas, one thing and one thing only, what would that one thing be?
They’d been saying it’s a nice conservative town. Still too much crime in the streets, maybe, and it was getting a little too big, in terms of population, but basically it was still a nice conservative town, knock on wood. They’d been mentioning the friendliness of the people. They’d been saying Kirkland was the kind of a place where family values were allowed to shine through, which accounted for the friendliness. They’d also been saying it was one big happy church-going community where everybody was free to go to the religion of his own choice and there were no long-haired Socialists—she guessed that maybe now they were called Liberals (this brought an indisputable ﬂinch)—and very, very few atheists, just a few long-haired philosophers out at the University, and nobody paid any attention to them anyway, except for maybe a few sophomores, who’d grow out of it just about the time they started applying for jobs in the appliance department at Sears.
She personally had to agree with those who said the number one thing about Kirkland was the friendly people. But that’s not what she told the patients, oh no, she was there to serve, not to preach sermons, and in her book one of the best ways to serve was to make the patient feel comfortable before Dr. Digby came in and shot him up with novocaine, and it would go against this basic philosophy if she started him—or her, she guessed it was now him orher—if she started him out with a sermon from her own personal point of view. So she started him out with a question, then she ﬂossed his uppers, which gave him lots of time to think about his answer: nice conservative town, the friendliness of the people, great family values, freedom of so many churches to choose from, these four being the most popular choices.
She withdrew the ﬂoss from Rabbi Scheinblum’s mouth and stood back to admire her work.
“Now I’m going to let you rinse.”
Rabbi Scheinblum rinsed.
Then she started out on the lowers, and encouraged him to give some careful thought to the question about the advantages of Kirkland as a place to live.
She was beginning to say, she said, that from her own personal point of view Kirkland’s number one asset was its people. Where else could you ﬁnd honest, friendly people like the ones they had over at church, as well as Christian gentlemen like Dr. Digby, who had a different religious persuasion but wasn’t prejudiced against people from other denominations, just as long as they believed in God and . . . (she was going to add Jesusbut then noticed Rabbi Scheinblum’s yarmulke and changed directions) . . . and had their share of cavities?