Sunday, February 1, 2009

Suddenly I'm the Jerk

A guy came up to the desk inquiring about free dental care. Actually, he said he needed a dentist. Quickly applying my RefSkillz, I ascertained that he lived in the immediate area and prepared a listing of local dentists using the excellent ReferenceUSA database. Printing it out, I noted which dentists were closest to DeskSlaveCentral.
"Are they free?" he asked, grabbing the proffered sheet of paper.
"Kinda doubt it."
He dropped the paper and fixed me with a "you dumbass" look. The look was practiced, like he spent a lot of time putting up with idiots like me who were unfamiliar with deep subtext and mind reading.
"It's gotta be free," he sneered, "I can't pay for no dentist."
I was inclined tell him that I couldn't either and you didn't see me whining about it. Instead, I told him that I'd see what I could do, but I held out little hope. I also asked him to check back in a while since the would-be reference customers were stacking up. At this point, he became like the paperboy in the John Cusack movie "Better Off Dead" where he keeps cropping up every few scenes wanting his two dollars. He kept circling back, giving me the hairy eyeball every few minutes.
Eventually I found several low-cost dental outfits that serve uninsured, low-income people. During the next stinkeye pass, I handed him the list, being careful to note that none of the listed places would be without charge.
I thought that would be the end of it. But he was back an hour later to give me hell because none of the numbers I gave him offered free dentistry.

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