oral surgery

Disingenuously—as if wisdom teeth normally grew someplace completely different—they all pointed out that the wisdom teeth were buried deep, deep, deep in Randy’s head. The lowers were so far back in his jaw that removing them would practically break the jawbone in twain structurally; from there, one false move would send a surgical-steel demolition pick into his middle ear. The uppers were so deep in his skull that the roots were twined around the parts of his brain responsible for perceiving the color blue (on one side) and being able to suspend one’s disbelief in bad movies (on the other) and between these teeth and actual air, light and saliva lay many strata of skin, meat, cartilage, major nerve-cables, brain-feeding arteries, bulging caches of lymph nodes, girders and trusses of bone, rich marrow that was working just fine thank you, a few glands whose functions were unsettlingly poorly understood, and many of the other things that made Randy Randy, all of them definitely falling into the category of sleeping dogs.

Oral surgeons, it seemed, were not comfortable delving more than elbow-deep into a patient’s head. They had been living in big houses and driving to work in Mercedes-Benz sedans long before Randy had dragged his sorry ass into their offices with his horrifying X-ray and they had absolutely nothing to gain by even attempting to remove these—not so much wisdom teeth in the normal sense as apocalyptic portents from the Book of Revelations. The best way to remove these teeth was with a guillotine. None of these oral surgeons would even consider undertaking the extraction until Randy had signed a legal disclaimer too thick to staple, something that almost had to come in a three-ring binder, the general import of which was that one of the normal consequences of the procedure was for the patient’s head to end up floating in a jug of formaldehyde in a tourist trap just over the Mexican border.

Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

This entry was posted in quotes. Bookmark the permalink.