The other morning at the dentist’s office, a dental hygienist cleaned my teeth with a tiny metal  pickaxe. She wore a tiny headlamp to see inside the cave of my mouth, a facemask and a transparent shield over her face. I removed my mask so she could begin her work.

Such tools of the trade are now routine for dental hygienists like Mackenzie.  She’s one of the healthcare professionals I’ve come to trust since this pandemic began. Trust is crucial.

What we don’t want is someone who exhibits a lack of concern for our well-being, especially as we lie horizontal in a chair feeling kind of vulnerable,  as the hygienist carefully probes and scrapes with that miniature pickax.

My own teeth have seen better days, which means that Mackenzie has her work cut out for her the minute my jaws open wide. There’s more silver inside there than a Coke machine.

Now, about that mask. With a pandemic shaking up our world these days like a snow globe full of  virus, she protects her patients and herself. She didn’t complain about having to wear a mask or a shield, nor did I mind having to wear one into the office prior to my appointment. 

So I ask those of you who whine about wearing masks, what is that you don’t get? 

Do you whine about wearing sun glasses or ski gloves or hiking boots for protection against the elements? If you did, people would say you were a born fool. 

Now with the state of Colorado telling people to mask up in public places, a few so-called patriots are whining about being violated. “I have my Constitutional rights!” 

Sure you do. You do until your irresponsible behavior threatens the well-being of the rest of us. 

You can ignore the evidence. Exercise your right to be stupid. But it’s not only about you, knucklehead. Infectious disease experts have an arsenal of scientific evidence showing that masks prevent the spread of Covid-19 from person to person.

Another thing about my trip to the dentist’s office. The minute I checked in, an office worker pointed a gun-like thermometer at my forehead to make sure I didn’t have a fever, which is a symptom of Covid-19. (The thermometer read 98.1.)

If I’d had a fever and carried the virus, my presence in that dentist’s office would have potentially threatened the health of everyone there.

To be sure, I could have shouted at this office staffer with the thermometer, “Put that thing down. My body temperature is none of your business. You’re infringing on my Constitutional rights.”

I opted not to say that, however. (When I go through airport screening, I also don’t object to a TSA body scan. Nothing to hide here or even there.)

Had I objected to having my temperature measured, the dentist probably would have ordered me politely to leave his office immediately. 

He would not want me putting him, his staff and patients at risk. He’d have every right to do so.  He’d probably be thinking, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.”

What an outrageous scene. I would have shown everybody just how patriotic I am, and in the process, proven once again that you can’t fix stupid.

The more I think about the situation, the clearer things become. Maybe there’s a connection between the Constitution and the pursuit of life, liberty and the right to go maskless after all.

The next time I end up on a hospital gurney in an operating room, I’ll snicker at the surgeon and nurses wearing masks before they cut into me.

Don’t they know when their rights are being violated? 

I’ve seen the light. It’s a slippery slope.

 Today, our government says we all must wear masks. What’s next? Body bags?