Younger brother shows no respect

I am their younger brother. Back in the Seventies, yeah, I liked to give a final twirl on the vinyl in the family room, index finger pointed toward the sky. I`d pop the Bee Gees out of the eight-track, and suggest, "Let`s watch Bob Newhart on TV." They laughed uproariously. It seems younger brother was a cultural deviant. These older brothers and sisters knew how to push buttons and make me scowl. What really irked me happened when I stood tall and proud as an 18-year-old kid, decked out in my w

Apr 1st, 1996

Mark Hartley

Editor

markh@pennwell.com

I am their younger brother. Back in the Seventies, yeah, I liked to give a final twirl on the vinyl in the family room, index finger pointed toward the sky. I`d pop the Bee Gees out of the eight-track, and suggest, "Let`s watch Bob Newhart on TV." They laughed uproariously. It seems younger brother was a cultural deviant. These older brothers and sisters knew how to push buttons and make me scowl. What really irked me happened when I stood tall and proud as an 18-year-old kid, decked out in my white polyester suit, full of peaking hormonal rages. Younger brother noticed they had difficulty suppressing their grins when reporting, "The Summer of Love is over, dum-dum, and love isn`t free anymore." What a rule change to spring on an 18-year-old male!

So the Baby Boomers are turning 50, huh? Man, I`m loving it. Younger brother is laughing, laughing, and laughing. Younger brother is saying, "Hey, Bubba, you`re shuffling a little slow this morning, ain`t you? Get a haircut. That gray is really showing."

I wish you could join me in my merriment. But, as much as the temptation is there, I know you can`t. A customer is a customer, right? You`ve got to be respectful. You`ve got to say things like, "Yes sir, Mr. Deadhead, we got intraoral cameras. We got these tiny fiber-optic probes that electronically tell you if you got perio. An old-timer like you probably haven`t seen this kind of stuff before. You need a wheelchair to get to that operatory way down at the end of the hall? You don`t? Why don`t we just amble down there, and I`ll talk real slow so you can understand what I`m saying."

And, yes, I know you`ve got to be much more respectful than that when the Baby Boomers crash from their latest flashback to the Sixties, suddenly remembering the dentist is beckoning like Lucy in the Sky. But don`t worry. Younger brother will be there with you. Together, we`ll help the old geezers find the way. Younger brother will be smirking along with you as these Baby Boomers whine about how old their 50-year-old teeth look. We`ll just smile in a patronizing way, reassuring them every so often, "Yeah, those Sixties were one of a kind. Like, wow, like far out, man, they were really special. Best years for mankind since the Egyptians built them pyramids."

At some point in the conversation, though, I`ll probably slip away. Younger brother doesn`t want to overdo it. The candles on his birthday cakes are getting crowded too. By the way, Colleen Reiter, on page 36, has some good suggestions for making me feel at home when younger brother comes to visit in about, uh, nine years.

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