On Wednesday, I took the commuter rail to see my dentist, Dr. Raffi. That's a truncation of his very long name--he's from the East--that he adopted for his practice (and so it will fit on the sign out front).
The Admiral and the Captain used to go to the dentist who had this practice previously before Dr. Raffi bought it, so that's why I was heading out here in the first place, on account of their recommendation.
But then a number of customers jumped the dental ship, as it were, once Dr. Raffi took over, but not I, for I'm a big fan of Dr. Raffi. He does the teeth cleaning himself at his offices, which is a house I'd date to the early nineteenth century. No later than the mid.
His predecessor was kind of hands off. He just came in at the end and said a couple sentences and left, though one time, knowing I was from Boston, he mentioned a place long-closed that he used to go to, called the Rusty Scupper.
I thought that was a great name, and years later it became the name of a place--on Cape Cod--in "Terry from the Cape," which is in Between Cloud and Horizon. It was a big story for me--I think I wrote it in 2010--because it was one of those stories that marked a change and I was aware of a change as I did it. I've mentioned others. "Fitty." "Jute." "Best Present Ever."
I think some people might think that Dr. Raffi is a little odd, but the reason I take the commuter rail to see him--it's not like there aren't dentists in my neighborhood--is because Dr. Raffi is passionate about what he does. To hear him wax euphorically about his sonic scaler is like listening to Jeff Beck talk about his guitars.
He said that cleaning my teeth was easy for him, because I did such a good job brushing and flossing. I am a most fastidious flosser, being aware of the relationship between plaque and heart disease.
"You know what we have here?" Dr. Raffi asked me the other day as I rinsed and prepared to spit. "We have happy teeth."
That's awesome. At the end, he wrapped up by saying, "All of the teeth are happy."
If you care about something genuinely and are into it, I will probably like you. I like Dr. Raffi.