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Marathon Man Revisited...Ouch!

Updated on September 23, 2011

Marathon Man revisited

Marathon Man is a 1976 thriller film based on the novel of the same name by William Goldman. The film was directed by John Schlesinger.

The torture scene with actor and star of the film, Dustin Hoffman, screaming whilst in a dental chair; the evil villain inflicting incredible pain with dental tools on Hoffman's teeth and mouth to get Hoffman to  give him information he wanted, is a scene which very few could or would forget .

Thirty some years later, I'm sitting in the dental chair whilst an over enthusiastic oral surgeon is extracting 11 of my upper teeth. Marathon Man comes immediately to mind.

My teeth finally went south which caused me to begin looking for oral surgeons to pull them so that I could be fitted with dentures. Ugh!

I was appalled at the price quoted me by several dental offices. Over a thousand dollars!

After several weeks searching, I met a man who told me that he had used an oral surgeon that he liked a lot, and, the man dentist only charged $85 for the first tooth extracted and $65 for each tooth thereafter. Hmmmmm. That's only $350.

He continued to tell me that he thought he'd done a good job for him. He also said that he had asked the guy why he didn't charge what the others did. The oral surgeon told him that he enjoyed extracting teeth and that is all he does these days.

I'm thinking, "Oh good, a dentist that enjoys inflicting pain."


I telephoned the office of the oral surgeon the man recommended and was told the information I'd received was right. I made an appointment.

My first visit took me to an older complex of office buildings, circa 1970s; well kept grounds but on the dingy side as was the interior of the dental office. Small waiting room, a few older and warn chairs where several people were sitting and waiting.

I was greeted by a nice looking woman of about 40, dressed in skirt and blouse with outdated and a bit worn, thin, 2 inch high heeled shoes. Her light brown hair was neck length and neat but also outdated. A girl of about 18 stood next to her filing.

The woman handed me a medical information sheet to complete and told me they would be with me in a few minutes. She also explained that they only accepted cash or money order. Alarms ringing in my brain as I thought of back door abortions in the 1950s and 60s that I'd heard about.

Another female of about 24 years of age in a rather rumply black nursing uniform, came to get me. No friendly chatter, in fact, she looked as tired and worn as her uniform. She stood me in front of an open x ray machine and proceeded to film my teeth. That being done, she plopped me into a nearby dental chair saying that the dentist would be with me shortly.

I looked around noting that the area was small and cluttered but looked clean. The degrees on the wall showed that he received his dental degree in North Carolina and was surrounded by other degrees for oral surgery and such. Okay, at least he is a certified dentist. I was relieved.

In he came, stuck his fingers in my mouth, looked at my x rays and said they would schedule me up front. I was dismissed. I looked into the eyes of this thin man who stood about 5'7" tall with thinning brown hair dressed in sports shirt and slacks and decided that he was married to the woman at the reception desk.

I paid my $85 in cash, was given a date the following week for the extractions and left.

The day came. I'm nervous. I'm wondering if I've made a good decision. "What could go wrong?" I asked myself. I'm saving over a thousand dollars, I'd be a fool not to go forward.

On the day of my appointment I was greeted and led into the small room with the dental chair. I was draped with the dental bib and before I could ask what kind of anthestic they were going to use, Dr. Evil walked in holding a big, dripping, hyperdermic needle!

I began to object when he shoved the needle in my mouth and began jabbing the needle into my upper gums! OMG! He just kept jabbing and poking and inflicting pain.

I imagined this small, thin, man with his foot on my chest and hands in my mouth shoving the huge hyperdermic needle into my gums over and over and over, again.

I made an attempt to stop him which only made him jab harder and harder and faster. My arms and legs are flailing and kicking trying to get him to stop.

He showed me no mercy! None!

When he finally stopped, I was half out of the dental chair and exhausted.

Picture, if you will, a nearly 70 year old, short, round woman, (an egg on legs, as my sons lovingly tease me) half in and half out of the dental chair, sweating, heaving big gasps of breath; flailing arms and legs in an attempt to get the heck out of there. Dr. Evil hunched over me with a huge, dripping hypodermic needle. A gleam of determination in his eye, shoving the needle into my upper gums without stopping until he had injected the entire hypodermic into me.

As I'm gasping for air, he leaves to return several minutes later to see if I'm numb! Oh yeah. I'm numb alright.

Without a word or hesitation, he proceeds to extract my eleven teeth. All this accomplished in less than 15 minutes whereupon he dismisses me for his next patient.

As I walked to the front desk, I'd prepaid, in cash, before being led into his chamber; I see that there are now 4 patients awaiting Dr. Evil. They are all looking at me, wide eyed, questioning.  They are silenting asking if they should run.

I opened the door and walked out.

The scene in Marathon Man lives on.  I've, once again, lived a part of it.  Dr. Evil enjoyed himself way too much.


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    • romneykat profile image

      romneykat 7 years ago from Near San Francisco, CA

      Indeed, you state it so well. "...Toes curled up in my shoes." : ) I appreciate your response.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      My mouth hurt reading this. I remember that scene from Marathon Man, unable to look at the screen, with my toes curled up in my shoes. Thanks for sharing.

    • romneykat profile image

      romneykat 8 years ago from Near San Francisco, CA

      I appreciate your comments. Thanks

    • Carol the Writer profile image

      Carolyn Blacknall 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Also reminds me of a dental part in "Little a Shop of Horrors". Nice hub.