A Tale Of Two Canals – The Erie & The Root

Isn’t Zoom wonderful! In this crazy time of Social Distancing when we are told to remain indoors, stay away from people, don’t touch anything, etc. When only one customer is allowed inside the Mall Of America at a time. When grocery shopping can take hours just to buy a loaf of bread and a jar of beets (don’t expect to find beets on the shelf because I bought every can and jar weeks ago) When men are walking around with hair to their waist because all the barber shops are closed. We can still communicate via this technology called Zoom.

A few nights ago, I got together with my friends from the Greater Delaware Procrastination Society for a Zoom session. Quite naturally the conversation turned to the subject of canals and their importance to the field of commerce and economic growth of the great Canadian plains. I started the chat by asking about the Erie Canal. Ben, who has done a comprehensive study of the Erie Canal, told us the pertinent details. It was started in 1817, ran for 363 miles and has 34 numbered locks starting with Black Rock Lock and ending with the Troy Federal Lock. Blah! Blah! Blah!

I could see the other members of the GDPS yawning and losing interest fast. Being a procrastination society, we don’t normally do anything fast. I decided to switch from the Erie Canal to a more important and contemporary canal – The Root Canal. Now don’t run out to buy a world atlas to check the location of the Root Canal because I’m talking about Root Canal Treatment otherwise known as Endodontic Therapy, which is quite different from other canals like the Panama, Suez, or the afore mentioned Erie – more about the Erie later.

I mentioned to my fellow society members the fact that I have terrible teeth. I’ve been going to dentists my entire life it seems. Three days after my first tooth popped through – when I was four months old – I went to the dentist and had my first cavity filled. The mean ol’ dentist didn’t even numb me up and I didn’t get to choose the sucker I wanted. He gave me a yellow one that had probably been in the box of suckers for a hundred years. I mean what kid would choose a yellow lollipop. Since then I’ve been going to dentists more often than I would eat a healthy breakfast. Unless you consider Frosted Flakes with extra sugar a healthy breakfast.

I’m not sure why my teeth are so susceptible to cavities. I have a cousin who hasn’t been to a dentist in like a century and he has no cavities at all. Not a single filling in his mouth. His teeth are strong enough to crack diamonds. I doubt if he spends several hours a day brushing and flossing, so maybe it’s genetic. I don’t know. Perhaps I have been lackadaisical in my oral hygiene. Okay, I was lazy as a kid (and adult) and maybe swiped the toothbrush across my teeth once or twice and called it finished. Surely it can’t be the thousands or millions of cans of Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper – you name it – that I have consumed over the last ninety some years. Hey! I even drank diet Crap – I mean Cola – for a year or so until my wife learned it was even worse than the stuff with tons of corn fructose or whatever bottling companies use.

Several years ago I was told I needed a root canal. Back then you had to see a specialist. I think the medical (or legal) term is an Endodontist. Anyway, it was quite the ordeal. Of course, endodontic therapy has advanced by light years in the fifteen decades since my first one. In fact, I had one done today. Granted, it still takes a while even with today’s modern technology. Fortunately, the practice I go to has giant TVs on the wall and even on the ceiling so you can watch a movie or the Bulls game – Wait! I forgot. Sports don’t exist anymore – At least Netflix is still around. So I settled back in my chair, watched a chick flick for a time and then took a nap. I could hear the doctor and the assistant (the dental hygienist or whatever the politically correct term might be) chatting away as she filled my mouth with tools and instruments of varying size. At least the days of using a hammer and chisel are long gone. Yeah, I’ve been going to the dentist since Julius Caesar was still a popular emperor. Voila! Before the chick flick ended – I will have to watch the ending at home because I really got into it. Though I suspect the boy and girl get back together and all will be well with the world – the procedure was finished. They removed all the dental and surgical instruments, an old oil derrick or two, packed them away in a shipping container the size of a train car and I was free to go. (legal note* All surgical and dental instruments and oil derricks are thoroughly sanitized, sterilized and sandblasted to the highest standards before each use).

Okay, I’m being facetious in case you haven’t figured it out. I am fortunate to live close to a great dental practice. Just to protect their anonymity, I’ll give them a fictitious name. I’m call them… uh… how about… I know… CatonField Dental. I’m not saying I’d rather go to the dentist than a Paul McCartney concert, but if one has to see the dentist, I would choose – what fictitious name did I use – oh, right – CatonField Dental. Everyone is friendly, great at their jobs and make the experience almost painless (I don’t care how much anesthetic is used there is some discomfort with having a tooth worked on using a rechargeable 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless 3/8 in. Black & Decker drill.) Just kidding! The technology at this place is amazing. They could probably drill to the center of the earth without causing any pain. They have this machine to make crowns. I saw one the Royal Family would envy.

I always tell the grandkids to brush their teeth 74 times a day. (even more after Halloween) Floss without ceasing and never, ever, ever, ever drink Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper or anything else that tastes good. Ice water with lemon is a good thing. Just not too much lemon. That way they might have a chance of staying away from the dentist office. Not that going to the dentist is a bad thing especially if you can find one as great as mine.

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