The teeth that you civilians see are white, whole and shiny.
Customer Service, Feb 12th, 2002
My toofy huts.
That's right. My tooth, which cracked last year, sends chills from my jaw to my temple when confronted with anything hot or cold. Food and drink, including coffee, has been lukewarm and awful all week. It's one of those molar teeth, next to a wisdom tooth. Who cares what it looks like, I thought when half of it chipped off in my mouth during a meal last year. I'll fix it later, when I can afford to waste money on a tooth that no one but the dentist could see.
Then I blew my wad on Britesmile. The teeth that you civilians see are white, whole and shiny.
I called a few places.
"I have a toothache," I said over the phone to the receptionist at Solomon Blisko and Daniel Di Stasi, DDS.
"What's your insurance?" she asked, chewing a sandwich or something.
That's a rude first question, I thought. How about something a little more friendly, like, "I'm sorry your tooth hurts, what's your insurance?" or "You've called the right place, what's your insurance?"
I don't have dental insurance, per se. I do have Dental Save
, which promises to reduce the cost of a dental appointment by up to one half. Up to. In these cases, my discount always lands halfway to Up to, at about 25%. Not with Dental Save specifically, but with discounts in general. I never get the top amount.
Another dentist is booked through March, but takes emergencies at 9:30 in the morning.
"Puzzycat," Gennady shouted from his throne in the bathroom, "don't worry. I have a dentist for you."
Gennady goes to a Russian dentist in Brighton Beach, and I have a noon appointment today, Tuesday. As things often are for me in Brighton Beach, the payment will be worked out at a later date and I am not to worry about a thing. I've learned that questions only lead to answers I'd rather not hear, and it's as important to receive as it is to give. If I can get a nearly free crown steps from the last stop on the D train, what kind of an ingrate am I to ask the gods why?
One place I'd like to send the Russians is Verizon Wireless. Please excuse the following french sentence: Fuck those fucking motherfuckers at Verizon, those fucks.
I wish I were exagerrating. I'm not. Fuck them, up the ass, with a Motorola StarTAC flip phone.
My old StarTAC broke in half last September. I was on a month-to-month plan with, again, pardon me, those fucking fucks Verizon. In order to buy a new phone for fifty dollars, I had to sign up for a year's service. If I didn't sign up for a year, the phone would cost almost $200.00.
Well, you got me, Verizon. I signed up for a year.
Last week, the "new' phone from September also broke in half, but since I am just five months into my year-long contract, I can't buy a third phone at a discount. I had to pay $184.02 for a cellphone that would cost a new Verizon customer $19.99.
"Well," I said to the salesman on Friday morning, "that's a complete ripoff. Maybe I'll just cancel my service and move back to Sprint!"
"You'll pay a $175.00 cancellation fee," he snapped.
"This company is worse than the mafia," I said. "You should be ashamed to tell your mother that you work here."
He moved on to another customer.
On Tuesday, I put $17.00 in the machine that makes Metrocards. Seventeen dollars buys you an unlimited amount of rides on the subways and buses of New York City, for a whole week. I buy one every Tuesday. But this machine did not spit out a card. It stammered and stalled. It stopped.
"Excuse me," I said to the lady behind the booth. "This thing took my money and gave me no card. I need a Metrocard."
She shrugged with an indifference that only a lifelong city employee can pull off, and said, "it's not my fault."
"What do I do?"
"I don't know. Try to get your card out. I don't know why you people use the machine when I'm sitting right here with nothing to do."
"Well, that would be because each time I try to buy a Metrocard from a live person such as yourself, I get told to buy it from the machine because that's what they're there for. "
"No, you don't," she said, flipping through a magazine.
"Yes I do!"
I kicked the machine. Six times as hard as I could. My card did not pop out, but a bone on my right toe did. I limped over to the booth.
"It didn't come out. I want my money or a Metrocard!"
"Here's the machine number, and a phone number. Call this number and report it."
I did. They are sending me a check for seventeen dollars in three to four weeks.