So, about The Men’s Wearhouse. The Men’s Wearhouse reminds me of Western Dental. But with clothes. Not that they don’t wear clothes at Western Dental. You know what I mean. Now let me tell you about Western Dental. I visited Western Dental for the first time last Monday. I woke up that Sunday morning (the day after the wedding) with sore teeth. So on Monday afternoon the nice man at Western Dental said that the cure for my sore teeth would be the removal of my wisdom teeth. Now, on Sunday morning, when my teeth were all sore, my friend, whose name is Danger and who was my best man, asked me if I had ever had my wisdom teeth pulled, to which I responded that I didn’t know. Which I didn’t. And to which Danger responded that if I had ever had my wisdom teeth pulled, I would know it cause it’s like a big deal where they put you under and stuff. The next day I learned that I in fact had not ever had my wisdom teeth pulled and that the nice man at Western Dental was going to pull them out for me and I also learned that when you’re a grown up and you get your wisdom teeth pulled, they don’t put you under; they just numb you up a bunch.
Now the reason I was at Western Dental as opposed to any other dental office was that Liz and I had decided that since my health insurance at my new job wouldn’t kick in until October 1 and we were getting married November 5 and the health coverage at Liz’s school is way cheaper (for the employee) than at my school, I would just go an additional month without coverage and just be sure to look both ways and lift with the legs and all that. And, according to the research I had done that day at lunch, Western Dental is the place you go for cheap dental care when you have no insurance (besides those places—which may or may not exist—that you picture consisting of one old guy in a yellowing lab coat with rusty tools operating out of a downtown hotel that rents by the week over a closed antique shop, the room empty but for a cracked mirror, one wooden chair, and a single un-fixtured light bulb hanging from the ceiling and somehow always slightly swaying).
Growing up, my dentist was Dr. Kanegawa. He had a small practice in Lodi, with a waiting room, an exam room, and his wife at the reception desk. He had the best magazines.
Here’s what did not happen at Dr. Kanegawa’s office:
- Dr. Kanegawa, while working on your teeth, was not constantly giving instructions to half-a-dozen assistants as to what to do with the other seven patients who were waiting supine with their mouths agape and a sunlamp glaring into their eyes.
- Dr. Kanegawa’s receptionist did not stand behind Dr. Kanegawa with a posse of other receptionists, waiting for Dr. Kanegawa to finish explaining his diagnosis so they could tell you how much it was going to cost and ask you how you would be paying for it and specifically how much you would be paying today.
- Dr. Kanegawa’s receptionist (again, his wife) waited for you at the reception desk to finish receiving your dental work. Did not come to you in your supine position with mouth agape and ask you for your debit card.
- Dr. Kanegawa had an actual exam room. He did not place you in a small enclave where you awkwardly faced the wall and nervously wondered what the hell all those people were doing behind you.
- Dr. Kanegawa did not get tired of waiting for his assistant—who was held up dealing with one of the other seven patients—to come back and help him, look both ways to see if anyone was watching, then sort of just prop the little water thing into your mouth and turn it on and go back to work until you started choking and coughing.
Western Dental has the same problem The Men’s Wearhouse has: they’re a chop shop. They employ nice people who know stuff, but they deal in bulk. If Dr. Kanegawa had a tuxedo shop, it’d be he and his wife sitting at matching sewing machines, tape measures hung around their necks, doing two weddings and a quince every month. When you went to pick up your tux, there wouldn’t be sixty other tuxes on the same racks for ten other weddings the same weekend. They wouldn’t hand you the wrong tux on your way out the door.
At 2:20, when we started to get dressed for the 4:00 wedding, we had my black tux, CR’s black tux, Danger’s black tux, and in Matt’s bag: someone named Scott’s tux. Scott’s tux was white. With tails. And looking at his tux, he appeared to about a Matt-and-a-half in size.
Next post: Remember how in that movie Signs Joaquin Phoenix’s character always swings (in baseball) as hard as he can at every pitch and it turns out that that was God’s plan all along and it finally pays off when he saves his family (consisting of Mel Gibson, Little Miss Sunshine, and one of those Culkins) by batting glasses of water at a vicious alien? In similar fashion, Danger’s incessantly lackadaisical views on time and punctuality finally pay off and save the wedding!