By Mark Hartley
Howdy-do. I'm your, uh, consultant for the month. Get those patients' eyes transfixed on you. Tap the chair's pedal to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel" and sort of hum, "Bump-de-bump, Bump-de-bump, all the way the Plaqueville."
Although it's not in my atlas, there is a Plaqueville in Louisiana. I stumbled across that fact this morning while debating on whether to read a clinical research article or search the Internet for Plaqueville. A chemist, who is a resident of Plaqueville, was listed among the distinguished alumni of Rice University's Quantum Institute. Maybe I should have read that clinical research article. The next link was for the 256th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, which has a unit stationed in Plaqueville.
The best link was for a children's book written by Laura Keller. In Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, Keller wrote, "... there will be a dance after the big football game on Friday night between our own Tooth School Chompers and the Plaqueville Germs. Go Chompers! — we're rooting for you!"
A few years ago, we replaced the fence in my backyard on three sides. It was hard work, but that's not why we ignored the fence on the back side of the yard. The utility companies reserve a small strip of land several yards wide that snakes through the neighborhood. Even though there are no wires, poles, pipes, or tunnels running through it (above ground, at least), it's there for their maintenance purposes. Otherwise, the land is a bunch of untended trees and scraggly brush. The trees and brush sort of serve as a second fence, and you can't replace the existing fence because of all the tree roots — we're talking about some major grinding and cutting here. In addition, in my weird way, I've thought of the fence as being sort of a burglar alarm. If anyone attempts to access the property via the back fence, you're going to hear the snapping of rotting wood and the crescendo crash of the whole thing falling down all the way to Plaqueville.
My 80-something father-in-law has figured out a way to fix the fence without cutting down the "forest." I've listened to his plans at least a dozen times during the last month. It's his favorite topic of conversation, and it's probably the one topic, for reasons mentioned above, I could care less about — probably sort of how you feel about reading about Plaqueville.
However, he's a good man and someone I've grown to respect greatly after 21 years of marriage. So I try to listen politely. I agree with Dr. Sheri Doniger's comments in this issue about the art of listening to senior citizens. It's so easy to brush them off, disregarding all of the wonderful things they do for us (and can still do on a daily basis). So, sometime during the next few weeks, I will be out at the back of my house repairing a fence that I really don't want to repair.
If Walt Disney had hired a dentist or hygienist to write the script for Pinocchio, would the bad place known as the Land of Cocagne been known as Plaqueville?
I enjoyed reading the articles by Anne Guignon and Shirley Gutkowski in this issue about the making and marketing of consumer oral health-care products. It was a little disconcerting at first, because, after all, we're not supposed to ask about how sausage is made. We also sort of glide through life being sort of uneasy about how marketing experts in New York City decide what is best for the folks in Plaqueville, as well as in our towns.
Years ago, I knew a marketing guy in magazine publishing who out of frustration would say, "I'm going to quit and start a magazine for nude bowlers." His other option was, "I'm going to quit and start a magazine for nude bass fishing." Maybe it's just me, but I was thinking, "That ought to be a flop." I'm a terrible bowler — never have bowled more than 100 points in a game. I don't think discarding my clothes is going to help the score. As for his other idea, I am a better fisherman than bowler. But there have been some sorry-looking casts where the shirt or pants I was wearing was a good thing. It's a long ambulance ride from a boat to the hospital in Plaqueville, but it's still not enough time to figure out the answer to the physician's question about how the "hook got stuck there."
Forgive me for being silly, but I wanted to see how many times I could say Plaqueville in this space (13 times). Enjoy the rest of the issue!
Mark Hartley is the editor of RDH. He can be contacted at [email protected].