For the first time in decades I had had a cavity. When I sat down in the dentist's chair, I leaned back, opened my mouth and stared at the bright light above me, wondering what would happen next.
"So do you want a shot of Novocaine or not?" she asked me politely, with a subtle hint in her tone of voice as if she were challenging my manhood, daring me to say no. Don't be a loser and prove you are really a man.
Without a second of hesitation, I shook my head and said calmly "No, there was no need for it." Pretending to be brave, I grabbed my left and right hands tightly together, hooking them across my belly in anticipation of this early morning torture treatment.
To be honest, I had always wondered what it would be like, so I was a little bit prepared. I'd heard from others that it could hurt slightly, but the slight inconvenience of jabbing needle-like pain would more than compensate the half day of numbed lips and cheek, talking like a retard while coffee dribbled down the side of your face.
I survived the ordeal just fine. At one point I was tensing up so badly, arching my back in anticipation of the next intense bee-sting, that the dentist advised me just to relax by unhooking my hands and lying them loosely to my sides. "Just think about something else," she advised me.
When it was all over, I proudly shook her hand and left. My legs were slightly wobbly and my hands were trembling ever so slightly but discretely.
In the end, I felt that I had challenged fate head on and overcome yet another obstacle in the never-ending pursuit of happiness. Don't let a boring visit to the dentist distract you from your noble pursuit.
With those thoughts dancing around in my head, I cycled to the central station and caught the train to my work in Amsterdam.
During the one hour commute, I quickly forgot about that ordeal altogether. It faded away like some long lost memory. By the time I would get out of the train and would embark on the five minute walk to the office, it would indeed turn out to be yet another normal day.