Surely many of you remember "Marathon Man," the movie in which the jolly Dr. Szell demonstrates a little impromptu root canal on Dustin Hoffman, by sticking a needle the size of Illinois into Dustin's molar, and cooing, "Is it zhafe?"

Hush, boychick. A touch of oil of clove and it's better, yes?

Zo tell me, is it zhafe?

That scene made you want to go out and floss, huh? Just what you want to see eight times larger than life: some maniac Nazi sadist with an ice pick and a spit sink.

Now get a load of this. A Reuter story this week identified a bizarre side effect that may occur when people who are taking the tranquilizers Valium or Versed are given pain-killing drugs by dentists or anesthesiologists: "hallucinations that can make some patients believe their sexual organs are being fondled by the person treating them." (Doctor Wally, is that an air hose in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?)

Dr. John W. Dundee of Belfast, who reported on this phenomenon, also reported that some people who use the drug clomipramine "experience orgasm when they yawn."


One man said the orgasms tired him out so much, he had to lie down for 15 minutes after yawning.

One woman said she could become sexually aroused by deliberately yawning.


("Waiter, I'll have what she's having.")

Honey, throw out all that Vivarin. We're loading up on Sominex.

Clomipramine isn't used in dentistry. But it could do wonders to reverse the negative PR dentists get. Who wouldn't want to swallow a few tablets and then slide back for a cleaning? Remember the Orgasmatron in "Sleeper." Remember Woody Allen caressing the magic Egg and struggling to get back inside the cylinder. That's what your dentist's office will be like.


No thanks.

Nitrous oxide?

Never touch the stuff.

What then?

I was thinking we might count sheep.


Rob "Mr. Camcorder" Lowe will open up a dental clinic/home-video studio.

Crest will dump fluoride and start working on a yawning additive.

Sleeping sickness will become the yuppie disease of choice.

Catalogues will push incredibly boring items: philosophy texts, bootleg copies of the Law of the Sea Treaty, new age CDs, tax code manuals, collections of Brady's Bits.

And here's really great news: Yawning is contagious. You know whenever you see someone yawn, you start yawning yourself. You're doing it now, aren't you?

Granted, there are some potential problems. Productivity will decrease; the work force will become lethargic. Closer to home, marriages will be threatened by yawning spouses.

"I've seen that telltale yawn before, Helen."

"It's late, John. It's after midnight."

"Don't patronize me. It's William Hurt."

Another drug, fluoxetine, can produce a delayed orgasm. "It's slow-release sex," the Reuter story quotes one pharmacist as saying, adding this caveat, "The general rule of thumb is, if it's been over 24 hours, stop waiting." (Kinks fans, let's sing along: "So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you-oooh-oooh.")

What's intriguing is the notion that seemingly innocent things can discombobulate a person. What a perfect defense for wacko behavior. "That time I drank the water from the goldfish bowl? I wasn't myself. Those 'Lectric Shave and white wine spritzers made me do it."

Here's a test you can try at home. Match the behavior to the combination of ingredients: