Flossing with Flann

If you do not know why Flann O’Brien is important to this blog, you will.  If you have not read Flann O’Brien’s writings, you will.  If you need to be lured into the experience, today is your lucky day.  Here is a piece from O’Brien about a trip to the dentist:

In the art of dentistry we have a permanent threat to the integrity, harmony and indivisibility of the human entity.  One has only to recall momentarily the works of Aristophanes to realise it.  It is quite wrong to think, much less to talk, about a tooth being ‘extracted’. The operation is by no means so simple. On the contrary, here we have complexity that embraces the human, terrestrial and occult continua. In reality the whole body is amputated from the tooth.  The operation is thus as major as may be.  Where a living person is deprived by gas or drugs of self-competence and consciousness and then divided into two parts by means of steel instruments (as happens in a simple ‘extraction’), it will be evident that there has been violent and irrevocable interference with the personal integrity of the patient and thus proportionately with the balance of the entire universe, of which he is for himself the sole perceptor, sensuant and interpreter.  Always remember that life and living is simply a relationship between the cosmos and the human cosmiculate.

If your old root canals did not appreciate that, you surely were brought to attention by the word “cosmiculate.”  That word alone is worth the price of admission.  The price of admission in another sense is rather inexpensive — $4.95 US at Half Price Books, or if you pay in Euros, the store would owe you money, given current exchange rates.

This entry is in honor of my nephew-in-law, Matt.


Photograph available by kind permission of Janet Attard


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