The editor’s choices

Dec. 1, 2007
Ah, step outside and smell the commerce. A certain breed of dental hygienists labor with a different state of mind.

by Mark Hartley

Ah, step outside and smell the commerce. A certain breed of dental hygienists labor with a different state of mind. “I am a well-trained health professional, got mouths to feed at home, and there’s a purse at Macy’s that I want to buy. I don’t care what you dental associations, you dental journals, and you other Goody Two-shoes think is the nose-up-in-the-air thing for me to do. Just don’t muck this hygiene gig up for me. I want the cash, as much as I can get. Got it?”

Well, yes, I do. But I was just wondering about something.

“Stop thinking. Don’t muck this up for me. I want this cash machine that I call my job spitting out $100 bills. Get it?”

Anyway, a newspaper headline about the Country Music Association awards this evening said, “Oklahomans Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts come away with CMA wins.” Sort of sounds like a headline in the sports section, doesn’t it?

The reason I ask is because I’m hearing impaired. For the most part, I just leave the room when I hear music. Tunes don’t mean anything to me.

I know, though, that everyone else enjoys the sound of music. But while listening to music, you’re not thinking that “big dog routed that little wimp 14 to nothing,” are you? I would have thought the pleasure of listening to art was more important than measuring wins and losses. Why is music competitive? It doesn’t make sense.

“You empty-headed editor! Pondering never earned a buck. Get it?”

Such warnings are duly noted when I comment on my favorite articles of the year every December. They’re probably not your favorites. But there’s a reason why I write this Editor’s Note. I can compliment RDH writers whenever I want to do it.

My choices for the 2007 issues are:

• “The feud between dentists and periodontists,” by Dianne Glasscoe, January issue. There was a big fuss in dentistry about guidelines from the American Academy of Periodontology, and Dianne did a terrific job in summarizing the controversy.

• “Sometimes we meet an angel,” by Dianne Glasscoe, February issue, and “Storm clouds over Florida,” by Cindy Biron, April issue. Two very different perspectives of foreign-trained dentists working as hygienists in the USA.

• “From mortician to hygienist,” by Ann-Marie DePalma, March issue. This profile of Minnesota hygienist/mortician Anneta Rehbein is kind of morbid. Know what I mean?

• “Grape soda, car keys, and five extra minutes,” by Noel Kelsch, May issue. Ever feel bad after doing something really stupid? Read this. Also, the wise quote from Noel’s grandmother withstands the test of time.

• “Finding our footing in the sand,” by Toni Adams, May issue, and “Learning from the lost boys,” by Kelli Swanson-Jaecks, June issue. Both writers have been completing advanced studies in communications, and, uh, it shows in their writing.

• “Aspire to be worthy,” by Donna Brogan, September issue. Yes, this is a little self-serving, since RDH is a co-sponsor of the Mentor of the Year award. But we believe in the value of mentoring, and Donna makes a believer out of you, too.

• “The kindness of strangers,” by Noel Kelsch, October issue. Remember the mortician article from above? This one is about grieving. Honestly, it was not a bad year for us in that regard. It’s just that Noel makes you remember why tissues are needed during bereavement.

• “You belong to the city,” by Ann-Marie DePalma, October issue. Ann-Marie profiled June Caine, who lived among the homeless in Austin, Texas, for five days. Afterwards, you’re glad hygienists do so many good deeds in their communities, yet it’s a reminder of what remains to be done.

You can still read any of these articles by visiting the digital archives at

by Mark Hartley
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