Editorial: It’s Fruitcake Season

Editorial: It’s Fruitcake Season

William E. Stein, D.D.S.:
Fruitcakes in the kitchen
Fruitcakes on the street
Ridin’ bicycle through a blizzard
In the middle of the week
 
Half-baked cookies in the oven
Half-baked people on the bus
There’s a little bit of fruitcake left
in every one of us.
 
             With apologies to Jimmy Buffet
 
 
Our late, unlamented long winter had dragged on with no end in sight, and the people of my home town were at the end of their frayed ropes. Minds wandered, mine included …
 
Most people think of Christmas as fruitcake season; fruitcake, that candied-fruit-and-nut-fi lled, bricklike confection created by Grandma’s loving hands, gifted to her offspring and regifted year after  year to unsuspecting relatives and friends. A kind and thoughtful person would take the time to refresh the heirloom with a splash of rum or brandy, one for the fruitcake and two or three for the  gifter. This is the Christmas fruitcake we all know and loathe. 
 
However, when faced with a winter as never-ending as we have endured, a condition also known as “cabin fever” sets in, turning even the hardiest denizen of the state slightly batty. As Jimmy  Buffet tells us, “There’s a little bit of fruitcake left in every one of us.” 
 
I was listening to the morning radio show on KWTF the other day. The host was interviewing a young naturalist/fruitcake who was proclaiming that the presence of ciscoes or white fish in a lake  signal that the lake is healthy and the water pure; she said, “You know, they are like a canary in a mine field”.
 
The highest example of fruitcakism was the story I read this February in the Aitkin Independent Age. It seems there was this complete fruitcake riding through Aitkin on a mountain bike in the middle  of a blizzard in sub-zero temperatures raising money to combat the scourge of “global warming”. Dear readers, you can’t make this stuff up fast enough!
 
As you all remember, by “late winter” last year we were all golfing and boating and fishing. Rather than enjoying that good fortune, many were wringing their hands that we had the warmest March  on record. Then came the rains and the floods. Weather happens; climate does change. “Did we sell enough carbon credits to conquer global warming in one year?” cries a cabin-feversih brain. “Can  we get reimbursed so things will warm up a bit, and we can maybe go crappie fishing out of a boat by July Fourth?” And just exactly what is the perfect temperature for planet Earth? How do you  know, and how do you get there? 
 
In this issue, we discuss the “Top Ten List of Things We Don’t Do Anymore”. Well, aside from the recent advances made in digital radiography, computer records, and so on, I will offer a few  reminiscences of my own about a couple of “revolutionary breakthroughs” that amounted to less than nothing, or worse.
 
Thirty-five years ago, I was sucked into the dawn of the implant age. The University put on a groundbreaking seminar on “Vitreous Carbon Implants”. This was indeed the cutting edge. A good- fellow, “lead-the-way” buddy of mine from Brainerd accompanied me. We bought the kit, but never had the nerve to subject our patients to the procedure.
 
I wonder if I can find that kit in the “Basement of Broken Dreams”. Perhaps it languishes next to my “Nuva Light”. The same was true for “Silastic TMJ implants”. Luckily we didn’t fall for that one  either; again, total failure. We must have had great guardian angels looking over us, for we didn’t fall prey to these alluring pipe dreams.
 
I don’t see this happening in the future. For instance,  implants have had a long clinical trial and are state of the art. Computer software can fix glitches in minutes. Restorative materials are time  tested and only need minor tweaking to improve them. 
 
But I run the risk of sounding like the fruitcake who said the Patent Office should be done away with because everything has been invented.
 
There will always be crazy thoughts and wildly radical inventions; some just rubbish, and some that change the world. Long live the fruitcakes! 
 
 
*Dr. Stein is Executive Editor of Northwest Dentistry. He is a general dentist in private practice in Aitkin, Minnesota, AitkinDent@AOL.com