surinenglish

The brothers of invention

"I've done you a Mickey Mouse."

"Gnnnffgghiaggg."

"Here, I'll draw it for you. See - big Mickey Mouse ears that lock into the previous filling. That should stop it breaking off and avoid having to put a crown in. Crown's are really expensive."

"Nnnffggiyffnng."

There are many reasons I love José, my dentist (including his uncanny ability to understand what terms like 'Gnnnffgghiaggg' actually mean) but his inventiveness and passion for his work are quite outstanding. Imagine spending twenty-five years, fifty hours a week staring into the abyss of strange people's mouths and maintaining the same level of interest in your work throughout the whole process. Actually, he seems to get more enthused about all things dental with each year that rolls by - blessed is the man who finds his true vocation.

Away from his unbounded artistry with a drill, our man José dedicates most of his spare time to devising all kinds of weird and wonderful gadgets in the manner of a latter-day Caractacus Potts. Last year it was an anti-snoring gizmo that a Japanese company wants to patent, while this time he showed me a dinky little dentist's mirror with a handle that prevents repetitive stress injury in the wrists (it's an occupational hazard, apparently).

He was telling me he's got loads of ideas but hasn't really got time to develop them properly because of his workload (that's the trouble with being really good at something - you're always in demand). I empathise with him (not with the being really good bit, obviously) because although owning the pub has offered the opportunity to many new skills, none of them are very compatible with with the day-dreaming required to pursue creative projects. To put it bluntly, it's hard to be poetic when you're wondering if you've ordered enough peanuts for the weekend.

This first-world problem is a conundrum for many people who like nothing better than to put their imagination to good use, but also need to pay the bills. There's an answer somewhere but, ironically, neither José nor I has found an imaginative solution.

Luckily, I need another small filling at the end of the month, so we'll be able to compare notes and he can show me his new dog bark silencer or whatever it is he's working on at the minute. I'll say: "Unnngggfffiyanginggg," and he'll say: "Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it."