Bite Me / by Dana Bergstrom

The first time I bit my dental hygienist we were both in shock.

She was putting one of those cardboard film thingies in the back of my mouth for x-rays and, geez, they're so bulky! I couldn't tell what the heck what was going on in there, even though we go through the same routine every time: this oddly shaped object gets placed somewhere near the back of my throat, she tells me to close my mouth, I follow instructions and bite down.

On that day though, things were different. I thought I knew the drill. She put the giant chunk of film in my mouth, it poked me in the cheek and I didn't wait for the instructions.

[Chomp]

My sweet hygienist's eyes widened in terror. She pulled her hand from my iron jawed grip and the blue rubber glove SNAPPED back onto her finger. Like every traumatic event I've ever experienced, it all seemed to occur in slow motion.

[Silence]

I could not believe what I'd just seen and heard. 

"Did I just bite you?!"

She stood there stunned. "Yes."

[More silence]

"I'm sorry."

And then I burst out laughing like a maniac. This had to be one of the most insane things I'd ever done!

I hadn't hurt her too badly. She smiled but was clearly still in shock.

"Do you get bitten often?" I asked still giggling.

"Once in a while," she said quietly as she looked down and paused, "but only by children."

This reply launched me even deeper into hysterical laughter.

I am an adult. An adult who bites people.

Well, already I knew that, but I usually just save all of my bites for Pauly. Just like he's the only one who gets all of my yells. I don't go and share these wild parts of myself with everybody. 

Whenever we drive into California and go over Donner Pass, I have this incredibly strong impulse to chew on someone. I shout "Donner Party of Two!" like I'm a hostess at a raucous restaurant and then start nibbling.

Yes, I know it's not safe to bite the driver but because there isn't a "No Biting and Driving" PSA campaign (somebody get on that!), I go ahead and gnaw away.

The last time Pauly and I drove that route, between bites I suggested that we pull over and take a photo. Words cannot express how happy this picture makes me!  We named the photo "Donner Pass Snack Attack" and it brings endless joy to my heart, probably because Pauly loves me enough to do something ridiculous like stop the car and let me chew on him in front of a camera. I absolutely adore him for that.

Donner Pass Snack Attack

Donner Pass Snack Attack

Several months later I was sitting in the chair at the dentist's office when my hygienist proudly announced that she now had long wands to place x-ray film in people's mouths so her fingers could stay out of harm's way.

"Oh, that's great!" I said. I was sincerely happy that she had fancy, new bite-free wand technology. It's not like I'm a vampire and can't wait to dig my teeth into people. Pauly's my only regular bitee.

My hygienist then lovingly reminded me that her hands were full of sharp instruments and if I tried to chew on her again, she could get me back pretty easily. I laughed. She laughed. We knew we had recovered well from our notoriously violent past, using humor to soothe the wounds and heal our relationship.

The appointment was just about to wrap up and we were both pleased with how things had gone. My mouth was squeaky clean and she had all of her fingers. Then while she was flossing my teeth, Sinead O'Connor came on the radio.

"Oooh, 90's at 9am!", she exclaimed.

I got excited, shouted "Awesome!" and bit her again.

I suggested that she just gas me next time.