Monday, September 12, 2011

Did Your Dentist Sing to You?

Recently I lost an inlay (precious metal valued at $14.10).  While reclining in the dentist chair and thinking of the Class of '62 blog, I couldn't help but think of Dr. H. F. Johnson, so I asked my dentist if he would sing to me like my dentist did 50 years ago.  But he demurred.

While in high school, a trip to see Doc Johnson was normally painful even if beneficial.  Seemed he was always coming up with gadgets to help avoid the pain, but never used Novocaine as a solution.  The very last gadget that I recall being used was a water hose affixed to the drill, and I was directed to squeeze a trigger of some type whenever I felt any pain.

"We're not hitting a nerve," he insisted.  "It's the high heat that the drill generates that causes the pain."  And thus the water was a cooling agent.  Theoretically at least.  It still hurt.

When the drilling ended he would direct me to lean over the spit bowl that had water spiraling downward, carrying away all the blood, tooth chips, and other crap that had been in my mouth during the event.

Then he shoved amalgam into the hole he had just created, and screwed down with a thumbscrew the forms used to hold it there.  And then I would heave a sigh of relief.  For the moment there was peace.  He often would leave the room to do paperwork or whatever, or perhaps he stayed right there, right foot up on the radiator while he pulled the blinds down to peak through them and into the street.

And then he would ask how good our football team would be that fall.  Or he would break into song.  It's a song I can repeat after all these years, because it didn't have many words, and was extraordinarily memorable.  It was a simple tune with simple words:  "Because LeRoy is the best guy in town!!"

They don't make dentists like that anymore.  Even though I taught him the words last week, my new dentist wouldn't sing it.


  1. Oh does this bring back memories. I had forgotten about how Dr Johnson sang to his patients. He made you feel very special. I wish I could remember things like you do, Lee. You seem to remember every little detail.

  2. One can remember so much detail under moments of stress, you know. (And what I don't remember I make up.)

    Don't be spoiling my story by saying that he sang the same song to you. Or did he? It would be just like it that he was two-timing me by singing that to everyone.


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