Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Much as I enjoy a good moan at the state of things today, it is worth mentioning how much better off we are in so many ways. Sometimes I need a youngster to alert me to the progress such as the time I asked Danny to grate some breadcrumbs, and instead of using the box grater (as I always have) he brought out the mini food processor. That's real progress, saving both time and knuckles.

Yesterday, at his dental appointment, Danny was given a yearly fluoride treatment. A bit of fluoride was applied on a cotton swab, and then to the surface of the teeth-that was it. Suddenly the memory offluoride treatments more than forty years ago came back, complete with nausea.

The fluoride treatments of old were thick, sticky cola flavoured gel applied to a gigantic plastic mouthpiece of the sort a hockey player might wear. Keeping that thing in without gaging would have been bad enough, but the treatment tasted so vile, and smelled so bad there was no escape for what seemed like the hours sat in the chair. Mingle that with the scent of clove oil hanging in the air, and it was little wonder I never made it home without my mother pulling over so I could throw up. I'd like to apologise to the people that lived just around the corner from Dr. Slivnick's office on Cicero Ave. in Chicago. If you remember a dark haired child routinely throwing up in your yard from around 1970-75, that was me, and I'd like to say how sorry I am for that, and I'd be happy to buy you a plant or something to make up for it. I don't know why they insisted on those treatments anyway, Chicago had fluoridated water.

Danny started to fuss about the way the treatment felt on his teeth, and I looked out the window of the dentist's office trying to scope out a vomit spot. There are some expensive homes in a subdivision just behind the office, but they'd call out a SWAT team if you threw up in a lawn over there. I figured it would be the thrift store, or the doughnut shop, or Runza if we made it across the street. Fortunately, he was fine though it didn't stop him complaining it was horrible.

So many unpleasant childhood things have been improved from fluoride treatments to flu vaccines sprayed up the nose. Heavy plaster casts like the sort I had on my arm are obsolete, and they can pull your appendix out through a tiny incision. Sometimes I need to be reminded how much better off we are than when I was a child.

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