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Visiting the Dentist?

March 22, 2024 | McAvoy Lane

What Would Mark Twain Say?

My first visit to a dentist here in the Village of Incline, was to see the intrepid Doctor Cherry away back in 1983. I had heard that he was very good at his craft, and that he sometimes practiced pulling teeth on iron rakes. While in the waiting room I read the license that hung on his wall and was surprised to see that we attended the University of Oregon about the same time. Just then, Dr. Cherry popped his head into the waiting room and said, “It won’t be long.”

You know how it is, when you meet someone about your own age, you always think they look older than you. So I was sure Dr. Cherry must be a few years ahead of me, and when I took a seat in his dental chair I mentioned, “We were at U of O about the same time.”

He looked closely at me, and asked, “What did you teach?”

We became friends, and I learned from Bill, well, let’s let Mark Twain tell us…

“The dentist who talks well -other things being equal -is the one to choose. 
Dr. Cherry for instance, tells anecdotes all the while and keeps his patient so interested and entertained that one hardly notices the flight of time.  For he not only tells anecdotes that are good in themselves, but he adds nice shadings to them with his instruments as he goes along,
and now and then brings out effects which could not be produced with any other kinds of tools at all.  All the while he is plowing down into a cavity and has discovered a nerve that he only visits at intervals, according to the needs of his anecdote.
          The suspense grows and you can hear your heart beat as his voice diminishes to a murmur.  Then with lightning suddenness the “nub” is sprung and the drill drives into the raw nerve! The most brilliant surprises of the stage are pale and artificial compared to this.”

While boating out on Lake Tahoe, Bill would instruct me on what things were best to eat and drink to preserve my teeth. I was tempted to protest, “Sounds like the only way to keep my teeth, Bill, is to eat what I don’t want, and drink what I don’t like.” But I held my tongue. Bill proved to be the best dentist, and even better friend.

As is our custom, we shall leave the last word to Mr. Twain…

“Dr. Cherry invented an instrument, combining the properties of the screw, the lever, the wedge, the hammer, and the incline plane.
              A patient came in and sat in the chair. One turn of the crank, and out came that tooth! Its roots were hooked under the patient’s right big toe, and his entire skeleton was extracted with the tooth. They had to send him home in a pillowcase. But no matter, Dr. Cherry got a patent on that instrument, yes, as a turkey de-boner.”

Audio: https://open.spotify.com/show/7Fhv4PrH1UuwlhbnTT23zO

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