"It's a ticking timebomb," said the dentist, in a dentist-like tone, as he made the case for my third tooth extraction – and likely second jaw operation – in four months.
Ticking timebomb? A bit over the top for a broken Hamstead, I thought. Couldn't even imagine The Sun's sub-editors going along with such brazen hyperbole.
"I would just like to give my mouth time to recover from having my jawbone drilled nine weeks ago," I muttered, only slightly less eloquently. Besides, I was starting to feel like Petra, the ill-tempered but toothless Blue Peter dog. Despite having all her pegs removed at a young age, poor Petra never lost her desire to bite Peter Purves. We've all been there.
So, as I left the surgery, he gave me the dentists' smile. You know what I'm talking about. That knowing, slightly pitying smirk, a courteous-but-confident way of saying "Ok, well have a good evening, and see you again in a few weeks when you are writhing in agony."
As you have probably guessed, my timebomb went off right in the middle of the Coronation weekend. And it is occasions like this that seriously make one question the new King's forward-planning skills. He could have chosen any day of the year to hold his party, and the Government would have obediently called a bank holiday whenever he wanted. So naturally, he picked a weekend with lousy weather, that clashed with his grandson's birthday, and when I needed an emergency dentist. That's just poor organisation.
Anyway, after several phone calls, and a lot of painkillers, I got my dodgy Hamstead sorted. And for all the criticism it receives, when you really need the National Health Service, it usually does its job. It meant my planned weekend of jubilant, flag-waving hedonism turned out to be a Sunday on the phone to NHS 111, and a bank holiday Monday spent in a dingy waiting room somewhere in a part of Walsall I'm in no hurry to return. But still, even while most of the country was celebrating the party of a lifetime, I received reasonably prompt, efficient treatment. Sometimes we are far too quick to complain.
But getting back to the dentist's smile, I wonder whether, in his more contemplative moments, does Vladimir Putin ever wish he had become a dentist. He seems to have been practising that expression for years.
I think being a dentist would give him that same feeling of effortless, unbridled power that he enjoys as a merciless tyrant, but without the inconvenience of having to spend International Labour Day stood in the pouring rain smiling at a solitary clapped-out old army tank chugging by in a not-especially-convincing demonstration of Russian might.
He would be following in some pretty illustrious footsteps, too. Che Guevara, for example, studied medicine before deciding there was more fun to be had becoming, in his own words, 'a killing machine motivated by pure hate'. Don't know what his bedside manner was like, but I doubt if there would be much of an 8am rush if he opened a GP practice.
Radovan Karadzic, the Butcher of Bosnia, was a doctor and psychiatrist, famously becoming the team medic for the Serbian football team. Francois Duvalier, who turned Haiti into one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, was also a doctor, adopting the persona of the genial 'Papa Doc' when trying to reassure people he was not such a bad guy after all. Syria's Bashar al-Assad trained as an ophthalmologist at a hospital in West London – reputedly because he was afraid of blood – before taking up his role as the head of the family tyranny business.
I'm sure there will have been plenty of psychiatrists who will have researched what it is about the medical profession that makes it such a fruitful training ground for the worldwide war-mongering and oppression industries, But I just think that if Putin had a practice in Harley Street, it would have saved the world from a whole lot of hassle. Not to mention lower heating bills.
We probably wouldn't be staging tonight's Eurovision Song Contest, either.