the office

Do you ever feel like your place of employment would be a top pick for the next cast of "The Office" if it was ever to be canceled or changed? I think this everyday upon arriving to work and realizing that all the people I work with are very interesting characters. I have three bosses. Throw that into your mix. One listens to Rush Limbaugh a little too much. One is just as rebellious as I am but too much of a good person to actually act on the rebellious thoughts. And one is about as paranoid as one person can be. I have nothing bad to say about any of them. In fact, they make where I work so much more fun and I love it. However, from an outsiders perspective, we are a funny group. I have talked about my co-worker who recently had surgery on an earlier blog post. We roll our eyes at most of the craziness that occurs in the building. I miss her like crazy because rolling my eyes alone just isn't as fun. Then I work with two secretaries who are very different from each other. One is a little too spacey to know that life is happening. I get along with the other girl quite a bit, but we are also very different. She is much nicer than I am. On top of all these people, we have our patient base. And this is where it really gets fun. Some of the students were in my office today asking me about my most memorable patients and we laughed as we remembered some of the really good ones. Here you go for you reading pleasure:
1. You will all remember the homeless germaphobe. If you don't, I think I wrote about her in October/November 2009. You will have to go back to read that story.
2. The semi-psychotic cat loving chick. She came in one day asking for 12 masks. I asked her what she needed them for and her reply, "To clean my cats' litter box." I asked, "Excuse me? We don't give out masks to the public so they can clean poop. You can buy them at Walmart." She has some anger management issues, and so she didn't like that answer. "Your boss told me I could have them." I was dumbfounded. He would never actually give stuff away for free. Well, it turns out that she told my boss she needed them for a service thing. Well, she came in the next day and asked for two tongue scrapers. We happened to be out of them up front when she came in and she started fuming when I told her we didn't have them. She insisted I was withholding them from her and demanded that the other secretary search the building. She did. We were out. We told her that again and she grumbled back, "I saw two in your display in the hall. Can have those?" When I said no, she got all red in the face and stormed out of the office. Ten minutes later she came back in shaking with anger and yelled at me exclaiming, "What did I do to make you mad? Why aren't you giving me what I want? I want to keep coming here but I don't want to feel animosity about coming back. What do you want from me?" She was waving her fists and practically sweating to death because of how mad she was getting that I just wanted to ignore her so she would go away. I tried. She didn't leave. She just kept trying to provoke me. It was 5:20 at this point and patients are asked to leave so we can lock the building at 5:00. In my head, I are crazy. Get out of here or I will punch you in the face. I am tired. I have been here since 7:00am. But I didn't say that. Since she didn't leave, I finally said, "Look, I don't have anything against you. I just can't give you things I don't have. And I can't open the display. If you want to come back, come back. It's a public service. If you don't, I don't really mind. Why do need the tongue scrapers anyways?" She calmed down just a little and muttered, "My cats have bad breath and I was hoping to use them on their tongues." Again, this is what I thought but didn't say...What? You are seriously insane. Get out of here or I will be forced to make you leave. I just said, "Well, you can buy them at Walmart for $.50. We cannot give you tongue scrapers for your cats. We need them for our patients. You will need to leave now because I am locking the building." She asked to use the restroom, and when she came out I noticed she had two tongue scrapers in her hand. Apparently she saw a dental assistant in the back that had some and pleaded with her to give her a couple. Weirdo.
3. Mr. I arrive 2 hours early for each appointment. I will call this guy Frank. Frank literally calls our office every three days asking for his assigned student to call him on Friday between such and such time. He says, "My phone doesn't work that well, but I will sit by the phone until she calls." We always answer, "We can't promise she will call then. She is very busy." Frustrated, he calls back and tries to talk to someone else but we all reply, "Sorry Frank. She has a life and we don't know what her schedule is. We will have her call you." Sadly, this man has gum disease so he has to visit our office several times, and this is a recurring event. When he has an appointment, he comes 2 hours early just to make sure he is called back first. When I explain that the office doesn't work like that he just ignores me and puts a magazine up so I can't see his face. I know he is fuming behind that magazine. Sometimes...because I am a brat...I want the girls who take the patients back to call him last, but I know he will just go crazy.
4. The woman who gets turned on from her teeth cleaning. Meet Sue. Her name isn't Sue but it is as plain as Sue so I will go with it. This woman creeps me out from the moment I hear her voice on the phone asking for an appointment. She speaks in a low, scratchy smoker voice and says, "Hi dear, I really think it is time I come in again." "No Sue. You just came in a month ago. You have a 6-month recall. We will call you when it is time." She counters, "Honey, you don't understand. I really need a cleaning. I feel a little grime behind my teeth." I repeat, "Okay, I understand, but our students have certain requirements and they can't see you until it is your appointed time." "Honey, you have to have the student call me. She will understand." Well, this goes on and on weekly until someone buckles and schedules an appointment with her. She also arrives early. A little too early for my liking since I have to listen to her breathe deeply waiting for her appointment. When she is back in the chair, she tells the hygienist to push harder because she likes to feel pain. Not good. Really not good. The last student that saw her is from a small town in Idaho, and I am pretty sure she is scarred for life. She tells the student what to do during the appointment and asks to come back. To which the timid students always reply, "Sue, your cleaning is complete. You don't need to come back for six months." Sue insists on stretching before leaving which usually consists of throwing one leg at a time on the table and rotating around. Seriously, awkward. Why do I have to deal with these people? I was not cut out for this. The last time this happened, we had other patients leaving at the same time, and I really think they will not come back. I wouldn't either.

Okay, those are 4 of my craziest patients. No one else has the patience to deal with them so I talk to them most of the time. I don't have patience for them either, but I do get a good laugh out of each story. My office is one of a kind. I don't think there is another dental office on the planet that could compete with what I deal with. I work with 120 students, over 20 semi-high maintenance hygienist instructors and with my front desk staff. There is a lot to deal with. I believe I have said this before...I don't love hygienists. They are too much for me. But my time at the dental school has taught me valuable information, and I have really learned a lot from many of the students. So you can count on me turning in my vote for my office if NBC is ever in need of a new cast.


  1. Oh you can only imagine how much I LOVED reading this... totally can relate girl! Seriously so funny! I miss you Janine, and I hope you are feeling well! By the way, thank you so much for your message on facebook, I just realized I haven't written you back yet, well I guess i'm writing you right now, so it's all good! I sure love you!

  2. Janine, I just found this blog post while I was creepin' around in all of my free time (post-boards free time) and I am dying. I remember the cat lady. I also remember the hygiene aphrodisiac lady. Outrageous!

    I was just talking to some girls the other day about how HARD your job is. Only someone with as much sass as you could make it out of each day alive. Miss you!


"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley