Editorial: Oldies and Old Friends

Editorial: Oldies and Old Friends

Wililam E. Stein, D.D.S.*:

Sitting all week long in my dental office listening to the local oldie radio stations, I frequently hear old songs whose lyrics just assault my ears. For instance: “Song she sang to me, song she BRANG to me. Words that rang in me, rhyme that sprang from me.”
Is Neal Diamond personally responsible for the destruction of the English language? No. He had help from “Spanky and Our Gang”: “Come Saturday morning, I’m goin’ away with my friend. We’ll Saturday-spend ‘til the end of the day. Just I and my friend ... ” And I wonder, would playing the complete works of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap continuously to suspected terrorists constitute cruel and inhuman treatment, and if not, how do you describe their lasting effects on his victims, we the listeners of the 1960s?

I admit to getting older. Recently I read an aphorism that stated, “Everyone aspires to grow old, but no one admits when they get there!”

Today I was surprised to enter my operatory and find my B-squad football coach! I admit I really liked this guy; he let me be the punter! This is a big deal for a guy who comes from a long line of tackles, the position that I returned to after a high snap and futile pass attempt. You really old football fans will remember the same thing happening to Garo Yepremian, the diminutive place kicker of the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl. He was terrible, and announcer Alex Karas would always quote him as, “I’m going to keek a touchdown! I’m going to keek a touchdown!” I was worse.

Coach had long since retired and moved to our area. As I entered the operatory, he was regaling my dental assistant with tales of my exploits as a sophomore tackle.

It dawned on me that I had last seen Coach when he was 27, and now here he was at age 72! He had broken off his right central incisor below the gum line, he had natural diastemas among his incisors, and he was low on funds. Not an unusual situation in these times of “Hope and Change”.

This is what the “art” of dentistry is all about. The root was intact. It had had a root canal and apicoectomy. After excavating it, the root seemed sound, and we placed a large post and built a composite crown using a celluloid crown form.

So far so good; Coach left happy and able to smile at the next senior citizens dance.

I guess that is what keeps me from retirement, that and the fact that my retirement fund has suffered from more shrinkage than an old guy in a baggy swimsuit in 60 degree water. It is so much fun to spend time with our patients, to listen to them and their stories and, when necessary, be creative in their treatment.

Coach at age 72 was one of my younger patients that day. I had three centenarians all alert and ready for action! One was an old friend who remarried at the age of 90 to a hot babe of 89 and finally gave up golf at 96 when he could no longer shoot his age.

The next was a feisty lady of 102 who gets along just fine in assisted living and who just this year gave up her weekly ladies poker game because the gals decided that twenty-five cents was too high an ante, so they dropped it to a dime. She found it intolerable to play with such cheapskates.

The third still bowls at a 140 average and beat Erik Perkins of “Perk at Play” fame several years ago.

I think AARP should wait until we’re at least 70 to send us our memberships or make us hit from the red tees, so I and my friend Al Quam have another ten years of playing from the whites!

Would someone please brang me another Metamucil?

*Dr. Stein is Executive Editor of Northwest Dentistry. He is a general dentist in private practice in Aitkin, Minn., AitkinDent@AOL.com.