Did you think of your dentist when you bit your bird?


November 26, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Have you hugged your endodontist lately? Have you ever taken the time to thank him for that fine root canal? When you sat down to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, did you express gratitude for the painless way in which he relieved your mouth of abscess and infection? Did you think of your dentist when you bit your bird?

"Once in a while I get a letter," Craig Schneider, D.D.S., of Columbia, says when I ask if he ever gets thank-you notes from patients. It's a fact of life for a tooth doc: Your patients are unlikely to express gratitude beyond the prompt payment of a bill. "Don't expect anyone to bake you a cake" is sort of what the profs tell students in dental school.

But check this out: One of Craig Schneider's patients, Karin Heffner, was so pleased with the way he promptly and painlessly took care of her teeth earlier this week -- specifically, her upper-right second bicuspid and her lower-right first -- that she went home and cooked him a Thanksgiving dinner. (Heffner once hosted a cooking show on Howard County cable television.)

And Schneider, a single dad expecting nine for Thanksgiving dinner, was so impressed with this act of appreciation that he felt compelled to call This Just In.

"I couldn't believe it," he says.

"I was planning on cooking myself, but she showed up here [Wednesday] afternoon with everything: a turkey, all seasoned and in a pan, gravy, fresh cranberry sauce -- everything double what I needed -- mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, apple-raisin stuffing, an apple pie, a pumpkin bread and a bottle of Zinfandel."

And, of course, after dinner everyone retired to the liv- ing room for a group floss.

A better image

No more giggling bank tellers. No more humiliating double-takes from state troopers checking our driver's licenses. No more photos that look like FBI mug shots. Hallelujah! The Motor Vehicle Administration is unveiling a new driver's license that promises to make us all look a whole lot better than our present ones do.

I learned this while reading correspondence between Arlen Emory of Blakeford-on-Chester, Queenstown, and W. Marshall Rickert, MVA administrator. Emory had written to complain about the agency's feminization of him as "Arlene" on records, and the poor quality of photos on driver's licenses.

"I've been told by quite a few female friends that I am very handsome," Emory wrote Rickert. "I don't pay attention to this, but the picture on my license shows big ears, which I don't have, and a face that my better half tells me does not belong. Hers is just as bad."

Rickert wrote back: "We have developed a new driver licensing system which utilizes contemporary technology to produce a much higher quality photograph. When this new system is in operation statewide (Jan. 1), I expect our customers to be much more pleased with the appearance and quality of their driver's licenses."

Reach The Beach, Keno, MVA Express, new driver's license photos -- no wonder they call this the Land of Pleasant Living.

'Yuppies in Distress'

As this could very well become an ongoing feature of This Just In, it deserves a title. Let's call it: "Yuppies in Distress," or "My Stocks Have Fallen and I Can't Get Up." In this premier installment, we see a blue 1987 BMW 325i convertible that, along with its owner, has known more prosperous times. It is moving, with noticeable engine ping, southbound on the JFX. Its rear vinyl window is dingy, and it has been torn away from the canvas top. The canvas top is filthy and it has been patched several times with duct tape, now curling along the edges. Wind pours through the car. The driver, wearing a wrinkled white shirt and tie, appears to have spent the night in the car. He is dazed, oblivious to all, a catatonic commuter on his way to another day in the corporate asylum. He's burned out, wasted. In the rear seat of the Beemer is a dirty spare tire. A picture of the Nineties, and not a pretty one.

The jurors are dismissed

From our "Doesn't-Happen-Every Day Department . . . Last weekduring a criminal trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court, Judge Leonard Jacobson had to dismiss not one, but two jurors. At the end of the second day of trial, one of the jurors was injured when the car in which she was riding collided with another vehicle inside a Towson parking garage.

"So I seated an alternate juror," Jacobson says. "The [injured] juror had been the passenger in a car driven by another juror."

Ironically, the relatives of the defendant in the criminal trial had seen the accident and volunteered their names and phone numbers to the juror in case she needed them for an insurance claim.

"She [the driver-juror] approached me about what happened right away the next day," Jacobson says. This presented the judge with an odd dilemma: Overnight, the defendant's relatives had become potential witnesses for one of the trial jurors. To avoid conflicts, Jacobson excused the juror and seated the second alternate. Trial resumed. Two days later, the defendant was found guilty.

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