I remember seeing and hearing this scene from when I went to The Music Man at the Lied Center, many years ago. However, after last Tuesday, I have definitely thought about the saying “pick-a-little-talk-a-little” in a different way. Starting off, a clip from The Music Man…
The story will go through, and you’ll probably never think about this phrase in the same way.
You sit down as comfortably as you can in a blue chair with an odd armrest, and a contour that bends as your legs do. Above your head is a lamp that swivels in any direction, and on the ceiling, the fluorescent lights are obscured by a covering that mimics a clear sunny day.
A lady adjusts the chair so that your torso and head are parallel with the xy plane. Oh, wait. That means the floor, for those of you who choose a different co-ordinate system. No, it doesn’t. The ceiling is the xy-plane, and we are in negative z-space, as you probably would rather be anywhere other than this chair. If things go wrong, you could be hearing the horrible sound of drilling later.
She puts on a blue mask to cover her mouth. You open yours, and a mirror on a stick and a two-sided pick menacingly approach the open orifice. Her eyes are wide-open, inducing you to blink or close your eyes.
She picks a little to remove some of the infinitesimal elements, yes, of calculus. Near the interface of gum and bone, the impact makes you cringe.
She talks a little, asking you a question.
You respond, “fbjedgmhauwvnmydas.” (yes, that was just me mashing keys as a monkey might.)
The pick and mirror continue along the teeth, as stuff caked on comes out. She talks, and you also hear the music on the background–and are relieved that the Christmas music has been shelved until next Halloween.
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little…
After that, the long string appears. She expertly weaves it in and out, between each pair of teeth. She somehow manages to fit it in the most difficult areas. (Yikes–I hope that someone doesn’t think that this is going erotic–it is not. If anything, it’s going erratic!) Of course, next comes the admonition–you have not flossed sufficiently in the last year!
She is not done yet. A heavy apron falls upon your torso. It is full of plumbum, to protect you from the incoming penetration that you cannot see. You bite on a strange substance, as it makes a T-shape against your gums. Four different positions, and a tube approaches your mouth. Say CHEESE! Four exposures!
If you’re not already shaking in your boots, too bad. The BOSS comes in after a few seconds. He asks you questions about your recent history. He gives you good news–no cavities, your wisdom teeth are not foolish, and several other things.
And to complete the fact that this is erratic and not erotic, he picks a little as well.
Talk a lot, pick a little more…
Today is the three-hundred and sixty-ninth day of Mission 441. Seventy-two days remain.