Monday, January 6, 2014

Fire Breathing Toaster: Which Watch Should You Wear to the Dentist?

by Bill Adler

This is the last Fire Breathing Toaster Column. It’s been fun writing this column. I will be focusing my writing efforts on my books. 

Think carefully, because this precarious decision could affect you for years to come.

You may be in the mood to wear your Rolex Cosmograph Daytona or your Omega Speedmaster to the dentist, because you’re always in that mood, but that decision would be a mistake. Glancing at that Vacheron Constantin or Patek Philippe on your wrist may momentarily distract you from the unrelenting whine and whir of the dentist’s drill, but your horological comfort isn’t the only consideration when it comes to choosing a watch for your dentist visit.

The watch you want to wear to the dentist should say “Yes, I can afford you, so don’t skimp on anything important or that may involve alleviating pain.” The last message you want to telegraph to your dentist is though your Casio: “I’m of moderate means, so do what you can, and if you need to skip on Novocaine, I’m happy to save a few bucks here and there.”

But wearing your favorite, most expensive, watch sends another message that ought not to be conveyed to somebody who, with a stroke of a pen, can turn your $200 filling into a $2,000 procedure described entirely in Latin that’s eons above what you learned in eighth grade. Your diamond adorned Cartier says to your dentist, “Go ahead and charge me whatever you want. I won’t care.” Don’t wear it.

Some years ago when I went to a parents’ potluck supper at my daughter’s school. I wore my favorite watch, a gold Rolex Oyster Datejust. Why not? One should wear one’s favorite watch wherever and whenever you want. Then came the fundraising part. What?! What?!  All parents are expected to donate to the school, and the more the merrier. All of a sudden my watch was a giant bullseye: “Him! Ask him for money! He has a Rolex so he must have lots of it to spare.” Noooo. When the fundraising part of the evening started, I casually and surreptitiously moved my shirtsleeve so it covered my entire watch. I think that nobody noticed, which, was, of course, both a happy and sad thing, because what’s the fun in wearing your favorite watch if you need to hide it?

Circling back to our original problem: What’s the best watch to wear to the dentist?  Here’s where your vintage watch comes in handy: It looks good enough to say “use as much anesthesia as you think is good, and then top it off with a little more, please,” without attracting extra 0’s to your bill. A vintage watch has another advantage, too, when it comes to a place like the dentist: Your visit might take 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or, sorry to say, longer. Does your 25 year old Bulova run fast or slow? At the dentist it makes no difference. This is one place where it doesn’t matter how accurate your watch is, because time will be running at its own, less than desired pace. Sometimes it’s good not to know how long something takes.


Bill Adler is a writer. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys:Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," "Outwitting Squirrels," and a mess of other books. He’s been collecting watches ever since he stayed up until midnight to watch the date on the Timex has parents gave him change from today to tomorrow. 


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