"The X-rays, a check-up," he said vaguely. "Hygiene aside, consider it a matter of curiosity. A matter of self-investigation. Know thyself, you know? I'm acquainted with people who think of dentists as mechanics, carpenters, nobodies. Ridiculous. Dentists are astronomers -- just let me go on -- dentists are geologists. Gabe, when seen from the proper angle, dentistry is a romance. Take the stars. I see the fellow next door up on the roof charting stars. 'Charting' them, is that right? Looking, examining, and so forth. Now I want to put it this way: what's so different about dentistry? I'm serious now -- what's so different about getting directly at what's in a man's head? Not millions of light years away, but right here -- God Almightly, almost touching the brain. Now there are cases, documented cases of the tooth actually piercing the brain. Can you imagine? So galaxies, solar systems -- believe me, a tooth is just as much a mystery as a star. A man's got to have a philosophy of life, why he works, and that's mine. You get older and you wonder why you do what you do. A man doesn't get along without reasons. To go through life, just putting on your garters and eating your food, alone, by myself, without sufficient reasons, day after day, how can a fellow do it? Unless he's got like Gruber, smiling sickness, smiling on the brain. For myself, Gabe, I need a little mystery in life. As I get older I haven't got a lot of the old concerns, you know. Well, I find much to think about in terms of the human mouth. The third molar alone could occupy a lifetime. Don't laugh -- that's a fact. Just the why of it, I'm telling you...Life makes you stop and think, that's the thing. Life changes on a man, and then he's got to have a little something in reserve. I feel a little ashamed about what I didn't have in reserve." He had then to go look off for a moment in another direction. "Look, I don't have to go on and on. It's nice to talk to someone who understands. Lean back again, I want to clean them."