The good ol days of school

The spouses I really feel sorry for are the ones married to dental hygienists. What is it about dental hygiene school that makes you remember every detail?

The spouses I really feel sorry for are the ones married to dental hygienists. What is it about dental hygiene school that makes you remember every detail?

Mark Hartley, Editor

The local newspaper in Tulsa employs a humorist, Jay Cronley. He recently wrote a column about meeting up again with an old friend from high school. Over lunch, she reminisced with her former classmate.

"She proceeded to begin remembering things as though they had happened last Thursday, such as the time they were singing during an assembly and someone toppled off the stage," Cronley wrote. "She kept remembering things and asking if I remembered. I remembered a little of one incident she mentioned, and it seemed to bring her so much pleasure that I pretended to recall other things that could have taken place in Iceland."

I laughed because it reminded me of my wife. During our courtship, I would ask questions in order to fill in the blanks about the mysterious woman who was kind enough to sit beside me. She likes to talk about her favorite memories of high school and college. Marriage may have made me wiser, and one pearl of wisdom is never to ask my wife about her school days.

I offer you a transcript of a conversation between my wife and me. The limited space allotted to the Editor`s Note does not permit a full transcript, but here`s an abbreviated one:

"The intramural program at the kids` school seems kind of lame. Did you have an intramural program at your high school?"

[insert transcript of 23-minute description of intramural sports program at St. Paul High School]

"This best friend of yours, Chris ... did she really set you up on a double date with the captain of the football team?"

[insert transcript of 37-minute anecdotal review of every party hosted by members of the senior class in 1973]

"Well ... that`s nice to know, I guess. Some of these guys went to the same college you did?"

[insert transcript of 46-minute narration about how the "party" just moved up the highway to the women`s freshman dorm at State University]

Cronley`s article did not specifically focus on how women remember every vivid detail about their high school and college years and men don`t. He was just leading up to how he spoke to students at a local campus.

For obvious reasons, I certainly took Cronley`s column to be an indictment of the memories cherished by the genders. But it`s more than my wife fondly yearning for the fun times at St. Paul. It`s also the fact that I never remembered anything to satisfy her curiosity about the strange man that she decided to date. In my school days, vice principals and football coaches used wooden paddles indiscriminately. So my mischief occurred far from their roving eyes. The electric chair in Huntsville, Texas, was geographically closer to me when I was misbehaving than the vice principal in charge of discipline.

So I remember nothing, honey.

But the spouses I really feel sorry for are the ones married to dental hygienists. What is it about dental hygiene school that makes you remember every detail? Is it the fact that a couple dozen of you were thrown into close quarters for a two-year period? Are the professors that memorable? OK, it`s a pressure-cooker, but you`ve lived through other stressful experiences. Why is hygiene school so firmly imprinted on your mind?

Show this article to your significant other. Ask him if you stretch a yarn about dental hygiene school to last throughout a whole meal. He may politely reply, "No, no, not at all. And your pants don`t look too tight on you either."

If that`s his response, he`s lying through his teeth. Not about the pants, but the rambling about the good old days at hygiene school.

A couple of articles in this issue refer to how hygienists need to return to the basics of what was taught in school. The "real world" of dentistry may have transformed how a hygienist performs professionally, but no hygienist forgets anything about school. Just ask the spouse of a hygienist.

Editor Mark Hartley can be contacted at markh@pennwell.com

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