Given an advantageous alignment of the stars, you could mentally solve all of life’s problems if you spent enough time at the dentist. Lying there under the light, I tend to feel perilously vulnerable yet strangely amniotic, thinking all manner of profound thoughts as the dentist drills, the nurse uses her vacuum-thingy, and the radio announces the traffic report for the M5 at Worcester.
Here’s what I realised during a filling last week (naughty RJH does not floss properly):
Jay Bybee is full of crap. In his infamous 2002 memo, Bybee defined torture as inducing physical pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” Not only is this ridiculously nebulous (who or what defines pain accompanying organ failure?), it also seriously underestimates what torture is or could be.
Without anesthetic, a dentist could really put you through the horrors. On the Bybee-scale, an un-anesthetised drill to the teeth may not qualify as torture, but who would argue that it is not sadistic and inhumane? Imagine it next time you’re having your teeth scaled, except swap the dental surgery for some dingy cell in Cairo and your dentist for Francis Dolarhyde.
In case you can’t guess, I am not a happy dental patient. The cavity was on the side of my tooth below the gum-line and took ages to fill.