by Dustin Mark
I know I haven’t come for my suggested yearly checkup in three or four years, but I promise you I still put effort into maintaining good oral hygiene. I brush three times a day, I floss twice a day and I even go through about three packs of fluoride gum a week. Clearly I’m not neglecting my teeth. You have to believe me: the cavities you found are only there because ISIS is targeting my first and second left maxillary bicuspids and my right mandibular second molar.
I know it sounds crazy, but crazy things happen in the world. Trust me, if I wanted to make an excuse for plaque build-up, I’d pick something more plausible. This isn’t me lazily trying to pass a lie that I hurt my wrist playing basketball, which made brushing difficult, or that since my parents got divorced my teeth have gotten worse because my dad only buys soft-bristle brushes. I’m not a child. I wouldn’t lie to a dentist and I don’t claim to know more about teeth than you. I never imagined that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would know who I am, let alone that he would order a strike to decay my teeth, specifically those that you’ll notice have amassed tarter.
I first noticed the cavities developing a few months ago, not long after I sent out a series of anti-ISIS tweets. I had no idea the scope of ISIS’s geopolitical reach was this great, or that they would go to such lengths to bring down western values/dental care. I used to view the organization as this country’s determined enemy, but now I see them for what they are: savage murderers and heartless, anti-American tooth-rotters.
Now, my parents’ insurance will cover this checkup but will not cover the cost of a filling, which, as you can see, I could use three of. I’m currently not in much of a position to pay for dental work (considering all the money I spend on floss picks), but I’m in the process of applying for support from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which would compensate me for all costs spent repairing damages caused by ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or any other major terrorist organization known to target American civilians. All I need from you is your signature here; this states that you have observed dental damage that could only have been caused by the work of radical or militant extremists.
You will likely be contacted by the Department of Justice to verify your credentials, which I hope you don’t find inconvenient…that is, I hope you don’t find your civic duty inconvenient. While I don’t claim to be a hero per se, it certainly would be a heroic act to assist a victim of terror and stand up for the values of the U.S. Constitution. They give awards to people like that, you know. Can you picture it? Dr. Jeremy Nimitz, DDS, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That medal sure would look nice up there next to your diploma.
To my knowledge, the terrorist group has only targeted these three teeth, though I would not be surprised if they expanded their strike. You’ll notice that my upper right cuspid has early traces of coffee stains; I suspect that one might be next. The goodie bag waiting for me after this appointment with travel toothpaste and floss is, I’m afraid, an empty gesture, and I suggest that you give my allotted parting gifts to someone whose welfare is of no concern to the Emir.
This appointment is supposed to be about me, but I do feel inclined to warn you: don’t think that just because you brush and floss and gargle Listerine you’re safe, because you’re not. No one is safe. We are being targeted – me in particular, and now you by association. You’re welcome to stand up for yourself – call your congressman, take a self-defense class, join your neighborhood watch – but I’m not sure how much of a difference you’ll make. I might just wake up with another cavity tomorrow.
I’ll keep brushing regularly, of course, but there’s only so much I can resist. My teeth are officially under control of the Islamic State, and there’s nothing you, Crest, Oral-B, or anyone else can do about it. Besides signing this form.
Dustin Mark is a writer and comedian in New York City. His work is largely unpublished and he performs standup comedy when asked to