Friday Night Clam Bake – #22: The Truth of the Tyrannical Tooth

Hey, folks. Short and chemically sweet this time, just a video and a few words…

I’ve babbled about this song before, although I’m not sure if I’ve shared the actual video. In any case, I really like the brief lyrics, a statement about the working class bearing the burden of the indiscretions of the upper class. (Sound familiar? Sure it does. Of course, this age-old burden now smells like Cheetos.)

The song is part of the soundtrack for Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 “re-imagining” of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 silent movie, “Metropolis”. Moroder basically added a then-modern score to an edited version of Lang’s much-longer original. (Some critics were not fond of Moroder’s tinkering, but when are all the critics happy? Never.) Both versions are captivating, albeit for some what different reasons. Seek them out, should you feel moved to do so.

A little over 24 hours ago, I was captive as well, for yet another reason. I had to undergo a semi-emergency root canal, and for some reason this song popped into mind during my incarceration in the Dental Chair of Death. I wasn’t sure why, but I loopily sang along anyway, much to the chagrin of the dentist and a cadre of technicians who kept advising me that this was no time for Broadway showtunes.

Having just reviewed this video before taking pen to paper, so to speak, I think I can see how I got from A to B during my adventure in dentistry. My thoughts:

The grinding machinery at the beginning speaks darkly of invasive dental drills, shrouded in a blurry fog induced by the giant spear of Comfortably Numb that the dentist rammed through my gumline and into my skull.

The repeated clock images represent the endless hours I spent flat on my back while people did things with one of my orifices.

The spewing from the metal pipes is a stand-in for those damn water-squirters and mini-vacuums that were constantly stretching the limits of my lips, along with the hands of what I assumed to be the entire population of Cleburne, Texas.

The March of the Completely Dehumanized Workers is a symbol of my absolute fear of making my way to Exam Room Number 5, per the heinous instructions of the overly-chirpy tour guide named Barista or some such.

The Worker’s City Below the Surface of the Earth reminded me of working for Verizon. This has nothing to do with root canals (well, perhaps figuratively) but is more a flashback to the bitterness I cannot release.

We spend a lot of time in the Underground City. I spent a lot of time at Verizon. Coincidence?

The huge number of windows on the massive housing projects represent the various ways in which insurance providers can divert your claim in a manner that allows them to not pay for the work that you need done.

In the fancy city for the rich, above ground, where they are doing all those odd calisthenics and running odd races, I’m that one guy who is gaily clapping for no apparent reason. That would be the drugs hitting their zenith.

The people actually running the races? That would not be me. Although I would probably still take my shirt off, which seems to be some sort of protocol for the runners, because at my age and condition, taking off my shirt makes people run really fast and we need these races to be over with so I can stop caring.

That last title card? “Other diversions were to be found in the Eternal Gardens of Pleasure”? That would be the drug prescriptions that Barista handed me as I stumbled out the door. Blessed be. I’ll be singing showtunes here in a minute, just as soon as everyone has a good cocktail or two in them and won’t mind that I’m not wearing a shirt…




Story behind the opening photo: Another tabletop at Miguel’s Mex Tex Café in Abilene, Texas…


18 replies »

  1. What is this root canal of which you speak? I’ve never had one but I am resistant to any and all forms of numbing cocktails. Fortunately, I never had wisdom teeth (apparent in one who is not wise) and I’ve only had one cavity. That was a hoot and I only bit the dentists finger once! He committed suicide a few weeks later. 🥴

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My entire life was warped from fear of dentistry from a mouthful of fillings done without effective anesthesia. Then I found a group whose motto is We Baby Chickens. I actually look forward to visits. I usually listen to Mozart but like the idea of show tunes is even better. And Brian, if you want to sing, SING. Some of the most famous singers got skimped on vocal gifts but had the joy of singing and thought out how to present the work. It’s all in the loving of doing it, and the voice does change with aging. At 70, I’ve lost all the notes above high C but can still do the middle range and will until they throw me out of three choirs. Find a group that sings show tunes and go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, you can trust that I always sing when I feel like singing, causing the people who know me to wonder why they bothered to do so in the first place. I have a tolerable voice, nothing extraordinary, so the pain is minimized and the threat of lawsuits, should I not stop, is lessened. I’m generally an introvert, but I do have that certain musical joy of which you speak. And I can remember the lines, which is often far more important than anything else in the performance world, as you well know… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly how it went with this last round. I innocently wandered into the office and said something like “this one tooth is a bit painful” and then bam, I was flat on my back and a giant needle was approaching my face…

      Liked by 1 person

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