Had my yearly visit with Hansrolf today. I mostly go there for the laughs, but Hansrolf also performs dentistry on the side. I’ve been visiting Hansrolf for about 30 years, I guess. He is just two months older than me. We married at the same ages, and our sons were born the same years – our oldest sons were sometime-rivals at the local recreational basketball tournaments and it was always fun to run into him at those games. He and I used to share our latest mountain climbing and hiking adventures, and sometimes he’d ask me to tell him about the latest “trashy” (I used this word first, but he seemed to have great fun using it once I had) romance I was writing (ahem… I went through a short period in my life – a VERY short period – like, a year or two… okay, maybe three at the most – when I wrote historical romances involving British soldiers on the Iberian Peninsula and feisty English governesses… I know… stop laughing). But nowadays we mostly just crack up about the adventures of middle age together.
Today I asked his newest assistant if Hansrolf keeps her laughing at work, and just the question made her start cracking-up. Then she shared his latest shenanigans with me – apparently Hansrolf has taken to jumping out from closets and hallways and scaring the living daylights out of his technicians and assistants.
I glanced over at the room across from mine and saw that Hansrolf had made it to my husband. I couldn’t hear what Hansrolf was saying to him – but Scott was laughing so hard it looked like tears had started to leak out of his eyes. Hansrolf was working his magic there.
When he came into my room I told Hansrolf I’d been talking with his new dental hygienist and she’d mentioned that he had made it a part of the daily routine to jump out at his assistants from closets and hallways. He nodded his head and said in a matter-of-fact way that he does this to help maintain good health at the office – it keeps his assistants’ hearts pumping, and keeps him agile. This, of course, all made perfect sense to me.
As Hansrolf’s crackerjack team of dental professionals took turns flossing and polishing and x-raying my teeth, there was music being funneled into the room through speakers. But as I listened to the music, it occurred to me that this wasn’t your typical dental office music. This was not Winchester Cathedral I was listening to here. Fleetwood Mac came on singing “Wouldn’t you love to love her?” This was followed by Led Zeppelin. And then it occurred to me that Hansrolf probably had something to do with this.
“Did you pick this music?” I asked around a mouthful of dental instruments. He said it was from a station out of Bellingham. I thought about this for awhile, and then asked,”You know how music is usually geared for the older clients…? So… dang… WE are the older clients now, aren’t we?”
He nodded his head in affirmation. “The other day I was in Safeway and Highway to Hell came on,” he told me. “Safeway!! Highway to Hell!!” he repeated, the shock of the experience still obviously with him. “On the one hand it was good to not have to listen to Dean Martin crooning something, but on the other hand… it says something about how old you are when your music is now considered mainstream and fit for Safeway.”
At the end of our visit, Hansrolf pronounced my teeth “perfect” and sent me off to check out with his receptionist and get my little bag of free stuff – floss, toothpaste, toothbrush. (Hansrolf’s office once donated 100 free toothbrushes to a charity I was involved in through my school.)
And now as I sit here typing this it occurs to me that – seeing as how Hansrolf is my age and everything – and seeing as how we’re both rapidly approaching retirement age – there will probably come a time when I will have to look around for another dentist. It would be nice if I could find another dentist with a sense of humor – but I’m not banking on find another dentist who can keep me laughing in the same way Hansrolf does. Hansrolf is irreplaceable.