Smile America

I’m at the dentist.

Not just any dentist, but a brand new one offered on my nifty new Dental Plan.

After traveling to what feels like Chicago, I come upon a storefront right out of Mayberry (or Tombstone), with a huge grinning face that says…

                                   SMILE AMERICA

I walk in thinking, oh, maybe it’s a Day Care Center and the office is upstairs.


It’s the dentist’s office alright, with a bunch of unsupervised children running around having had a tad too much sugar.

I know I’ll probably have to wait, so settling down with my book, realizing reading is not going to happen, not when I suddenly have a wee lad of 3 on my lap.

Manuel with curly hair and big brown eyes, is so happy to see me with a wet diaper that makes a charming imprint on my freshly donned khakis.

He grins.

Me, being me says, “Well sir, that’s a fine how do ya do.”

He giggles, handing me the banana he had with him.


A willowy Latina with beautiful black hair, all of 7, comes out to see what her baby brother is up to. Apparently while their mother is in the chair, she’s supposed to be babysitting.

I smile, suggesting a Pamper change.

She rolls her eyes taking him off my lap, something he’s not too happy about.

It’s always the guys who want you even though they’re unavailable.

Before opening my book again, I notice across the aisle, a plump black girl I assume is at least 12, staring at me while holding a phone blasting music.

I sigh thinking, hearing loss sometimes comes in handy,


She jumps up and starts frantically dancing.

Her hot pink dress barely covering her curves, is swirling and twirling like there’s no tomorrow.

Her enthusiasm is fine.

The part that throws me is her gyrating like a fat, frisky snake…winking, thrusting. I’m waiting for a pole to drop from the ceiling for her to climb on.

Both receptionists shake their heads but do nothing. Two weary women clearly feeling they don’t get paid enough for child rearing.

After 20 minutes I suggest to Shalisha, perhaps she should sit down and rest.

She listens

“How old are you,” I ask, trying to keep her in her chair.



I almost fall off mine. She’s huge, clearly in need of attention, same as me at that age, plucking my heart strings like a banjo.

She then digs into an enormous bag pulling out chips her chubby tummy surely doesn’t need, when who comes crashing into the room like a bull at Pamplona, but mom, the size of a shopping center.

Without acknowledging her daughter who’s been on her own for over an hour, grabs the bag of Lays and the phone screaming,

“What did ah’ tell ya?”

Just then Manuel is back to show me his complimentary toothbrush, determined to teach me how to use it.

As Shalisha is about to leave, I say, “You’re a wonderful dancer Shalisha, and thanks so much for dancing for me.”

Her sad face lights up as if she’s just swallowed a 40 watt bulb, throwing her arms around me, giving me the biggest hug.

“Miss Bianca, are you alright?”

“That’s Bianchi, and yes, but I could use a little Kleenex.

SMILE AMERICA images.jpeg


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in Culture, Family, Health, humanity, humor, kids, New York City, parents, words and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Smile America

  1. Dale says:

    I cannot lie. I would have cringed to walk into such a waiting room. Unsupervised children left to their devices often leads to chaos and frustration for the others.
    You, however, turn this into a loving and caring moment. Now all I can think of is: “You is kind, you is smart, you is important”… You, Susannah, is kind, you is loving, you is making a difference…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorryless says:


    At first I thought this was going to be a pep talk for the good old US of A, after that extravaganza in D.C. the other day. And to think, you didn’t even get a discount for being a kiddie supervisor while you waited. What’s up with that?

    And is it not incredibly disturbing that we have so many kids who have diabetes in this country? Is no one concerned? Because I know one thing for certain, Big Food isn’t. Not in the least. But we should be. Very.

    Outside of that loose thought, this one made me smile. So yanno . . . mission accomplished. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia says:

    I have had the same dentist for 25 years. I don’t have insurance now but if I had it and he wasn’t on it I would give up the insurance and still go to him. Because I no longer have insurance he gives me a bit of a discount. Maybe partly because I helped put his kids through college. As for insurance not covering back teeth…that is stupid!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apparently it’s the norm. My dentist also gives me a 10% discount and will let me pay it off, no interest. It’s just a whopping debt I so can’t face at the moment. But I will since I’m a huge advocate of self-care.


      • Patricia says:

        It amazes me how much dental work costs. But if we don’t have it done we will be miserable and the cost will just go up when we give up and get it done. If I didn’t have so much invested in my mouth I could have bought a bigger condo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know that’s not funny, yet it is. It’s true. There’s an upside in maintaining things. The longer you wait, the more it will be.


  4. aFrankAngle says:

    That environment would drive me bonkers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eilene Lyon says:

    This is all quite a sad commentary on child rearing and dentistry. YOU are the bright spot – truly. You do know how to tell the story. And no use for back teeth? WTF?!! Are you supposed to nibble like a squirrel the rest of your life?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They don’t feel, since you don’t see them and you have so many others, they’re not needed. No, I did not make this up. But here’s the kicker, if you don’t fix a cracked tooth, you’ll eventually need root canal. HELLO!!! As far as the Shalishas of the world go, they’ll all be pregnant by the time they’re 12. Though it may come off glib, I say it with great regret. I left there with more than a tooth ache. Sigh

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thankfully, I’ve never had such an entertaining visit to a dentist. You were so kind to the children, as you always are.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sure you give from the best of times.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Robert says:

    Cute story. Free spirited kids can always bring a tear the eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, your compliment will stay with that little girl for the rest of her life. I’m not exaggerating, she will always remember it. The fact that she didn’t just say ‘thank you’ tells me that compliments might not come her way too often. As for the diaper imprint, I don’t think I would have handled it as well as you did.
    I have a niece on Pookie’s side who looked twelve when she was only six, too. As a young adult she got the stomach surgery thingy and is still the delightful person she has always been. Let’s hope the little girl’s future is as bright.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s sweet. One of the things I liked about teaching elementary school was how friendly the kids were and how enthusiastic they could be. It’s something they often lose when they get into the older grades.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I thought of your post today when I was in the coffee shop and a little kid broke away from his mom and went straight for my baseball hat, which was sitting on the table next to me. The mom leapt and intercepted him before he could grab it but of course I wouldn’t have cared if he had played with it as long as I got it back eventually.


  12. AH children. I was asked at a family gathering last night if I wanted to raise another child someday. When I said “no”, her answer was “you mean you aren’t interested?” I said, “no. I said I will not”
    Then I said, “she would have to be one special lady to get me to want to raise another child” She looked at me and said, “I meant, like, a grand child.” I really didn’t think I would be raising my grandchildren, though I know it happens…


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