Soup and squinting

The information contained in the Product Report (pages 40-46) takes a day to prepare. One page (10 a.m.), two pages (2 p.m.), three pages (4 p.m.) - finished for the month! I`m so happy that I lick the adhesive on the FedEx envelope - just for the sheer joy of it. Ship it off to the printer with the instructions: "Give everybody you see a copy. Except me, of course. I`ve seen it; don`t need to see it again." The time spent on this section of the magazine equates to approximately 5 percent of my

Mark Hartley, Editor

markh@pennwell.com

The information contained in the Product Report (pages 40-46) takes a day to prepare. One page (10 a.m.), two pages (2 p.m.), three pages (4 p.m.) - finished for the month! I`m so happy that I lick the adhesive on the FedEx envelope - just for the sheer joy of it. Ship it off to the printer with the instructions: "Give everybody you see a copy. Except me, of course. I`ve seen it; don`t need to see it again." The time spent on this section of the magazine equates to approximately 5 percent of my salary as the magazine`s editor. More than likely, some manufacturers would like to see the percentage higher. Some hygienists probably would like to see the percentage lower. Depends, I guess, on how you feel about announcements regarding new products.

Preparing the Product Report is sort of like eating soup on a rainy, dreary day. A newspaperman has his obits to write. A magazine editor has his product announcements. It can be, uh, unexciting stuff, but, hey, it`s a service we provide.

The product information in this month`s issue was, in fact, written on a rainy day with the temperature in the 40s. To top it off, I had a cold and ate soup for lunch. I must distinguish myself from the majority of Americans who view soup as a delicacy. For me, slurping down a broth has always been reserved for the occasion when more solid food is not an option. Soup is the meal of choice when you`re sick or eating at a "trendy" Los Angeles restaurant.

To the manufacturers who frown at the direction the editor`s note is taking, I say this: I am very seldom ill when I prepare the Product Report. Colds apparently decide to mug me once every two years or so, since I don`t carry a lot of cash. I usually am of sound mind and health when writing about products ... well, healthy, at least.

To hygienists who think the above percentage should be higher, I say this: It`s a guy thing. We published a Dialogue survey in the January issue (responses are on page 28), asking hygienists to comment on the boom in the number of home care products. Several readers fired back at RDH, asking why we don`t spend more time evaluating the products. The thought of squinting at the microscopic lettering of the ingredients on a tube of toothpaste makes me shudder. I`d hate to be the guy who writes a company`s marketing director about the angulation of bristles on their toothbrush: "You recently mailed me a press release stating that the bristles on the Wunderkind Toothbrush are angled at 112 degrees to ensure maximum contact with all tooth surfaces. Well, I got down on my hands and knees, squinted real hard, and I yelled aloud (from the excitement of my discovery), `Them bristles are 113 degrees!`"

As most of you know, guys don`t like to squint - unless it`s while trying to see the stones at the jeweler`s store. "Oh, honey, look! There`s the diamond. Right there! See it? I`m pointing right at it. Go one quarter of the way across my fingernail there, and you can see it. This is the perfect ring for you."

So there it is; the "guy thing" is out in the open. One page, two pages, three pages - pass the soup.

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