The root (canal) of all evil

It was my 22nd visit to the dentist’s chair since July. Marcus is 1 of 3 of my dentist’s. Ciro is my main man who I go to for regular stuff, Adriana, I go to if I need my gums cut open…Im not joking, leaving  Marcus to be my root canal guy. And today he was going to start working on the final one, no.4. He is super professional and super friendly, when you walk into his office, he greets me with a smile (I can’t see his mouth as his mask is always on when I walk in, but I can tell by his eyes,  but sometimes I wonder to myself, ‘do I smell’?.)  He always makes a comment about something, and today it’s the usual one, he wants to know when we can start English lessons, this is his ice breaker, he would really like to do  lessons, but I know and he knows he doesn’t have the time, he is amusing the both of us, and just making conversation. His office is spotless, it’s super clinical and super clean, there is plastic and rubber everywhere, you feel like you are walking into a giant condom. He is a big man, over 6ft 3″ for sure, and he is wearing those eye goggles that magnify, they look like night-vision goggles the spies wear when they want to assassinate people, these along with the mask, and the drill is his hand, he’d fit right into to a Friday 13th movie in the Alps.

There is no messing around with Marcus, he is funny and friendly, but he takes his job very seriously, he will drill away without pause until he is happy with his work. He is relentless and he works very hard…but not on Fridays. The first visit I had with him, I kept my gob open for 4 hours non stop, my jaw was in bits after, I felt like a prostitute  after a Friday night. Have you seen that movie “Irina Palm”?, I could have been “Keith Chupa Chupa”… now you all know what the verb “Chupar” means in Portuguese folks.

So I climb into my non-favourite chair, I open wide and try to shut my eyes before I see the size of the needle that he’s going to shove in my gob…too late, I’ve seen it, and so I do the “imagine your in a better place” trick;

‘beach, walking in crystal clear waters, splish splash, my wife, my wife, her bikini, her ass, mmmm sex …”

It works and half my head is going nighty night.

So I sit there for the next 1.5hr, looking into the eyes of Marcus, and thinking how I’m nearly there, apart from the 2 implants I have to get, I’m nearly there, but even the implants are a piece of piss, its more painful on the pocket than the mouth. But after this baby, no more root canals. Graçus a Deus. I start to think of the amount of money I have spent, how much I still owe, and how much I still have to pay, all because I didn’t stick a toothbrush in my head 3 times a day for 5 minutes, 15 minutes a day, that’s all it takes to look after your teeth. My father’s face replaces Marcus’s, he pulls down his mask and says,

“You’ll never learn son, you’ll never bloody learn”

The Dali Lama hit the nail on the head when he said:

Man spends his life working,

He loses his health trying to earn money,

And later loses his money trying to recuperate his health”.

They are both right, we never do learn do we?, one thing the human race is perfect at doing is destroying ourselves, and then seem to spend so much more time trying to fix it. We know how to this very well.

This line of thought stays with me as I climb out of the chair. Marcus my man, informs me that two more visits will be needed to save this little fecker from extraction which would be cheaper and less painful to be honest, but then I would need an implant, or have to wear one of those things you have to wear when your 95 years old. I have opted for the pain. Sure I’m a teacher, I’ve got plenty of money!.

I leave his office and walk down the steps onto the street, in front of me, there is guy rooting through a bin, he is wearing a pair of sandals, shorts, and nothing else, he hasnt got a pound of extra flesh on him, he is black, but  not by race or anything,  he’s gotten this colour from living on the streets.

But believe it or not, this man is not looking for food, or clothes. This man is working. For rooting through bins and rubbish he will recieve a wage. He is a “Catadores de Papel” and his job is to find as much plastic and paper on the streets as he can, collect it, and then bring it in to the recycling centre in the city where they will pay him depending on how much he brought in.  Basically he has been given something to do as he is poor and he receives a few bob for doing it.  There are many of them around Belo. Their life is  the street. They sleep on their carts so as not to be stolen.

I have already written  and will write more about the wonders of Brazil, but every place has its bad points, and poverty is one of Brazil’s, but this is a result of the real problem here, which is corruption. I have only been here short time, and I really don’t know enough on this subject or on Brazilian politics. But I do find it funny, that the President of Brazil, ‘Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’, or “Lulu” for short, has been named as one of the most influential Brazilians by the magazine “Epoca”, when recently there was a breaking news story on a police operation called “Pandora’s box” were there was a hidden camera placed in an office, which was visited by many a company owner and politician. You see these people stuffing stacks of money into their pockets.  One guy has no where else to put it and is reduced to putting it in his socks. These are respected Brazilian politicians, company owners and Governors. It’s like something out of a movie. I asked my Brazilian friends what will be done about it, how long will they spend in Prison, they all kind of laughed at me, and each one said that not one of them will spend a day behind bars. They said that they are used to the corruption here, and that even Lulu wont step up to the plate and do anything.

So you get  angry and upset, and the tribunals, and investigators brag and boast that this time will  be different, and so you feel rest assured that it will be different, you feel confident it will, but they are  just like that big needle going into your tooth, it calms you down and null’s the pain. So you go on with your life, and life goes on with you. The news reports and articles start to subdue, until there is no more, why?, because they have gotten away with it again. And before long, even you have forgotten about it, sure what’s the point?. We chose and vote on people and put them in a position socially and financially better than us, in order to help, protect and stand by us. Sure if they don’t do their job, if they do the complete opposite and the President or Priminister of your country doesn’t even do anything, what can we do?.

If Lulu wants to influence, why doesn’t he just throw these people straight into prison, they have been caught red-handed stuffing thousands into their pockets, in some case’s it’s been going on for 10 years. How much more proof do you need?.

What chance does the normal joe soap have?, we don’t have any, the poor will continue to suffer, money will be exchanged for votes and promises,  they are falsely numbed into believing their life will be better. But nothing changes. When will we ever learn?.

The Mayan calendar comes to a close in 2 years, and some people reckon that is that. Well maybe we deserve it, maybe we have passed our use by date. Not all of us, but we as in the normal people are only little men and women, we are not great men or women of power, Presidents or company owners or politicians, the results of our actions are truly small compared to the results of theirs, as Guy Garvey and his band of Manx boys from “Elbow” put it:

But the leaders of the free world
Are just little boys throwing stones,
And it’s easy to ignore
Till they’re knocking on the door of your homes”.

But hey, maybe I’ve got it all wrong, maybe I’m so naïve to think that the world can be a better place. Maybe these people who are stuffing money into their pockets know something we don’t, maybe they are saving this money for the boarding pass, it’s the entry fee folks, yes, the tickets they need to board the great arks they are building to save their dirty arses,  for the end of the world is nigh.

Anyways, while they are doing that and sleeping peacefully at night with their perfect feckn teeth (I’m sure), I have to go and brush mine and floss for the 5 time today.


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