Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interesting Expats Part 2 - The Drunk "Dentist"

Steve Martin in "The Little Shop of Horrors"
What kind of person do you imagine as dentist?

Imagine this.

A 20 year-old American, living near the beach, who's supposed to be living 3 hours away studying dentistry.  His mother, back in Denver, sends him money every Thursday to pay his rent and buy food so he can focus on his studies.  By Saturday, he has no money, for anything.  On Saturday night he's trying to convince neighbours to buy him beer.   Throughout the week he shows up at the neighbourhood shops (mostly run out of people's living rooms) and asks for photocopies, snacks, etc. on credit.  Usually he's very hung over, or still drunk.  When they charge him the 50 cents (5 pesos) he owes, he stops going the store.

I know a lot of people in their early 20s who are still working out the direction of their life, so most of this wouldn't surprise me - if he weren't supposed to be a dentist.

One day, back when my wife  was still running her own mini-business out of our living room, he showed up, reeking of alcohol, and started asking if he could see our teeth.  I passed on the offer.  We already knew that he had studied half a semester or something like that in dentistry before running off the beach.  He then started talking to the other clients and asking to see their mouths, taking their phone numbers, apparently to make appointments for dental work. (I'd like to think the people who gave their phone numbers were giving fake ones.)

Another neighbor who had seen his house said that he had a ratty old dentist chair in his living room.  I didn't ask about the equipment.

Would you let this guy stick a sharp object in your mouth?  I know I sure wouldn't.

For the story of a more socially responsible expat, read Interesting Expats Part 1 - The Priest
For a discussion of what makes us expats, read What is an "Expat"?


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