Do not call 🦷

Today I forgot an appointment.

They called me, of course, as all good places where people have appointments do, and the moment the number popped up on my phone I remembered what I had forgotten. Naturally, I didn't answer the call. The chill of anxiety radiated through my every atom. I became guilt and self loathing.

So no - I didn't answer the call to say 'Oh, I'm sorry, I totally forgot and can I reschedule.'

Never answer the call. Not without a plan.

When you forget an appointment, it's important to make sure that you protect yourself from embarrassment at all costs. The forgetting of an appointment is a social faux pas of such gravity that you really can't afford to leave anything to chance, which is why I've spent literal minutes formulating the research (speculation, imagination, delusion) underpinning this piece.

The following is an ordered list of options to consider when forgetting an appointment, constructed today based on my own considered (frantically anxious) thought process.

For the purpose of this list, let's say it was a dentist that the forgotten appointment was at. Let's say that.

  1. The Innocent Bystander.
    Stop someone on the street and pay them $20 to call the dentist, claiming to be an innocent bystander in your life (which will be easy enough, given that is exactly what they are). The bystander then tells the dentist they've found you unconscious in a gutter with a reminder sounding on your phone which says 'dentist', and they have pretty impressively deduced which dentist and have called to say that you won't make it. How could you possibly make it. You're unconscious in a gutter. Anything could have happened to you. This is more serious than the freakin dentist.
    'Will you next be ringing the emergency services?', the dentist's receptionist might ask the bystander. Sure. But the reminder alert was sounding, and who ignores a notification? No one. Except you. Today. (The one about the appointment you forgot.)
  2. Ocean's Elevened.
    Find out how to get onto the dark web. Pay a hacker on the dark web to hack the servers of the dentist's practice and to delete any record of there having been an appointment for you that day. It was never planned. The hacker could even replace your name and number in the appointment book with those of someone with a similar name and number. They've been Ocean's Elevened.
  3. The Calendar Clunk.
    Bide your time. Wait a week. Keep waiting. For 51 more weeks. Exactly one year after your scheduled appointment, you arrive for your appointment. 'You're not booked in to see the dentist today', the receptionist will say. You'll reply, casually, 'Can you check that? Maybe run a search for my name within 366 days of today?'. 'Oh, there you are', she'll exclaim. You've accidentally turned up on the exact right day at the exact right time, just one year too late. You both laugh, and she winkingly offers to pull some strings to get the dentist to see you, especially given you're now dangerously outside of the recommended check and clean schedule.
  4. Works In Progress.
    This one only applies if you are really, really close to the dentist in question when you realise you've forgotten your appointment. You could obviously just arrive late in this case, but no one's going to do that. Arriving late is horrifying. What you could do is commandeer a piece of heavy machinery from a nearby construction site (I'm thinking along the lines of a 'digger', but I'm not sure they're really called that outside of children's literature). Using the digger, demolish a footpath or any other piece of civic landscaping directly outside of the dentist's rooms. Make a mess, being sure only to damage public property. (There's almost no consequence attached to demolishing something that everyone owns, whereas damaging something that one person or corporation owns will absolutely end you, so it's important to follow this part of my advice to the letter.) Finally, call the dentist asking to reschedule your appointment. 'Yes, we didn't see you this morning', the receptionist will say. 'No - I arrived and saw the police cordon and assumed the practice was closed today', you'll reply. The receptionist will briefly consider taking you to task on the fact that your appointment was missed before a maniac using your likeness committed an act of civic terrorism on their doorstep. They'll then figure it's not worth it. They'll likely hang up. Win. Win. (Also: find a new dentist. It won't be hard. They're everywhere.)
  5. Identity Theft.
    This one has two possible iterations, and you can do one or the other but not both. I do need to figure out what to say to my dentist about my actual missed appointment, so I can't go in depth on this one, but you'll be able to do your own research to flesh things out.
    The first option is to pursue a narrative whereby another patient of this dentist has stolen your identity, and has received treatment using your health insurance details for some years now, including handing over samples of your DNA (contained in gum tissue), and detailed X-ray images of your teeth. The problem with this option is that they do know your teeth, and as we know teeth are essentially snowflakes in the uniqueness stakes, so if you do go for this option you're going to have to have your teeth removed by some sort of back alley pet dentist, crushed into a dust, and scattered over that part of the sea where Dexter starts sinking his victims when he works out there's a current. You could also use the current Marlin uses to get to Nemo when he rides on his turtle friend.
    The second version of the identity theft option is you steal your own identity. Bear with me. If you don't exist, there's no one to have missed the appointment in the first place. 'Our records show that Person X missed her appointment today.' Really? What Person X? There is literally no such person. Google it. You will find zero. Nothing. You've entirely erased yourself from the internet, from government records and from historical records.
    This could take some doing, but like... do you want to avoid the minor social embarrassment of missing an appointment, or not?

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