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Okay, Open Real Big Now

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As the doctor applied the laughing gas to begin the removal of my wisdom teeth, I slowly felt the effects drifting in. By the time he injected me with Novocain, I couldn't feel the needle at all. Well, I know he injected me at least, but I didn't feel any pain. I felt a pang of familiarity suddenly, like this was a memory, like I was looking back on this moment, yet I was in the moment as well. As a few more seconds went by, my thoughts became less and less clear, and the thought of being in the moment became stronger.

"Okay, open real big now," the doctor instructed to me, but my sense of control was gone. I didn't even know what my mouth was at this point. He repeated "Okay, open real big now," but now I didn't even know I was in the dentist's office. Everything was just darkness, and the words were echoing in mind. Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now.

Now there was no darkness. Sure, my eyes were still closed, but it was like I didn't even have eyes anymore. Or for that matter, a body. The doctor's words were still repeating, but I now noticed they were getting faster. I now realized why this all felt familiar -- this was what everything was. All of life was just the doctor telling to open real big, and a man screaming in pain from a needle injection. "Okay, open real big now" he said again, taunting me, but I knew what was happening, so the scream was louder. But I heard it again, faster, asking me to open REAL big, like I actually didn't get it. But I DID get it now. But now he wants me to open REAL big, with even more intensity, and more speed, so of course my scream was faster, louder, and I ACTUALLY DID get it now. But now he wanted me to open REAL big, and I realized that all of life, it was just a pattern of increasing intensity, and that's all it was. It was just a tug back and forth, and when I thought I got it, it would just come back with more intensity. But he taunted me again with those words; how naive for you to think that you actually understand what they implied. Then I realized that this was IT. This was the very end of the Universe, the end of everything, and this was the beginning of the last parts of it. And it was all only getting faster. It was like a curve just quickly tightening up, with the curve being those words: Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now. It was now so intense that the words couldn't even be heard; everything was just screaming.

Out of nowhere, I could see again. The doctor was hovering over me. No, I thought, it's starting again! Terrified, I knew I had to break the cycle -- I had to make something different, and different meant that no matter what, I couldn't do something faster than before. So I listened. "Are you all right?" asked the doctor, and I quickly responded "I don't know." Oh no, that was too fast. But then there was a female voice, "Calm down. Are you calm?"

"Yes, I'm calm." And with me saying that, I knew it was over. I had escaped an exponential curve of repetition. I had experienced infinity. At this moment, I noticed that I was on the floor. "Is it over?" I asked, thinking maybe I had been knocked out for a while. I still wasn't clear enough in thought to realize that being on the floor meant that something probably went wrong.

"It hasn't even begun." I panicked upon hearing this. No! I don't want the gas again, it will just make it all start from the beginning, and I'll never escape the cycle. My mom and the doctor helped me back in the chair, and my mom asked what happened. Shaking all over in fear, I tried to explain to the best of my ability that I felt the whole Universe, and that it only consisted of repetition of that single phrase: "Okay, open real big now," just getting faster and faster.

As I continued to calm down, the doctor explained what really happened. "I gave him the gas, but when I tried to get him to open his mouth he just shut it. Then he got up so fast, I couldn't do anything, and he fell on the floor and broke this." He pointed to one of his instrument holders, which was snapped in two. Shocked that I somehow managed to do that without even knowing, I felt a small pain on my shin. "I think I cut myself," I said, pulling up my jeans to look at it. There was a small cut there, but it barely felt like anything compared to the shaking and terrifying thoughts that I had just experienced.

The doctor said he'd never seen anything like it in his 30 years of experience. The worst he'd ever seen before were people swearing or laughing under the gas, but he'd usually just give them more and they'd be fine. Never had anyone freaked out like I did. My mom told me I was screaming for two minutes. Now I knew where the man screaming came from.

I repeated it to myself: "Okay, open real big now." Those words terrified me, but now, it seemed so silly. How could all of the Universe just be a doctor's operation? That's way too specific for the Universe to be that way, and it was my most comforting thought about the whole thing. Still, I knew I'd never have the gas again. So we couldn't remove my wisdom teeth on that day, but we made arrangements for later in the week, this time without the gas.

In the car as we went home, I tried to explain in simpler terms what it was like. "Some people are afraid of snakes, some darkness, but what I'm really scared of is repeated patterns, and not knowing you're in one. It's like the movie Groundhog Day, have you seen that? No? Well in the movie, Bill Murray is reliving one day of his life over and over again, and he's aware of this, but all the other people aren't. It's like I'm one of the other people, going through each day over and over again in this naive pattern, not knowing I'm repeating myself, except suddenly I learn that I am, but when I do, the day just starts over, but this time it's faster. Do you get why that's terrifying? Except instead of a day being repeated, it's: Okay, open real big now." She didn't really get it.

Before I knew it, I was back at the dentist's office, ready to get my wisdom teeth removed while conscious this time. I rested in the dentist chair, looking around the room. He got a new instrument holder, clearly, as this one wasn't snapped in two. I was really dreading this encounter, since most people need the gas to not feel any pain, so it might really hurt.

The doctor came in the room, and it was time to operate. He joked, "You sure you don't want the gas?" For a moment, I thought it might actually be a good idea. I mean, how would I get over my fear of laughing gas if I never took it again? But of course, I declined. He told me to recline on the chair while he got the Novocain shots. "Okay, open real big now," he instructed, hovering over me. I did as he said, and the needle went in. It was extremely painful, and felt like he was stabbing me so deep up my gums that he was stabbing me in the eye.

I screamed. I couldn't take the pain. "Give me the gas," I found myself pleading. "I think I can take it now. I'll breathe through my mouth if it gets too much." He seemed skeptical. "Are you sure?" the doctor inquired.

"I'm sure." I could do this. I could face my fear. Besides, it would help the pain. Remembering my bad experience last time though, I quickly added, "Just please say something different than: Okay, open real big now." The doctor seemed confused by this comment as he put the mask on me.

As the doctor applied the laughing gas to begin the removal of my wisdom teeth, I slowly felt the effects drifting in. By the time he injected me with Novocain, I couldn't feel the needle at all. Well, I know he injected me at least, but I didn't feel any pain. I felt a pang of familiarity suddenly, like this was a memory, like I was looking back on this moment, yet I was in the moment as well. As a few more seconds went by, my thoughts became less and less clear, and the thought of being in the moment became stronger.

"Okay, open real big now," the doctor instructed to me, but my sense of control was gone. I didn't even know what my mouth was at this point. He repeated "Okay, open real big now," but now I didn't even know I was in the dentist's office. Everything was just darkness, and the words were echoing in mind. Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now.

Now there was no darkness. Sure, my eyes were still closed, but it was like I didn't even have eyes anymore. Or for that matter, a body. The doctor's words were still repeating, but I now noticed they were getting faster. I now realized why this all felt familiar -- this was what everything was. All of life was just the doctor telling to open real big, and a man screaming in pain from a needle injection. "Okay, open real big now" he said again, taunting me, but I knew what was happening, so the scream was louder. But I heard it again, faster, asking me to open REAL big, like I actually didn't get it. But I DID get it now. But now he wants me to open REAL big, with even more intensity, and more speed, so of course my scream was faster, louder, and I ACTUALLY DID get it now. But now he wanted me to open REAL big, and I realized that all of life, it was just a pattern of increasing intensity, and that's all it was. It was just a tug back and forth, and when I thought I got it, it would just come back with more intensity. But he taunted me again with those words; how naive for you to think that you actually understand what they implied. Then I realized that this was IT. This was the very end of the Universe, the end of everything, and this was the beginning of the last parts of it. And it was all only getting faster. It was like a curve just quickly tightening up, with the curve being those words: Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now. Okay, open real big now. It was now so intense that the words couldn't even be heard; everything was just screaming.

Out of nowhere, I could see again. The doctor was hovering over me. No, I thought, it's starting again! Terrified, I knew I had to break the cycle -- I had to make something different, and different meant that no matter what, I couldn't do something faster than before. So I listened.

"Are you all right?" asked the doctor, and I quickly responded "I don't know." Oh no, that was too fast. But then there was a female voice, "Calm down. Are you calm?"

"Yes, I'm calm." And with me saying that, I knew it was over. I had escaped an exponential curve of repetition. I had experienced infinity.

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