A guest post by Jackson P. Chamberlain of Blue State Conservative
I got to thinking about old Doc Gibson the other day.
Doc was a dentist in my hometown. Kind, friendly, the sort of doctor you’d expect to find in the country. Think “Little House on the Prairie”, but with picks and mirrors rather than a stethoscope. He was nearing the end of his run as I was reaching puberty, and his old-school business practices would never fly today. Even in the early eighties, it was a shock to find a dentist – or anyone, really – so truly dedicated to his patients. Doc Gibson was that guy.
I was referred to the good doctor by someone who’d been in my circumstances. I grew up poor, but basically didn’t know it until something like a sore tooth left a reminder. Doc had lots of poor patients. I suppose that explained his “five-dollar extraction”. Insurance? We never heard of it. But even I usually had a fiver in my pocket.
Who pulls a tooth for five bucks? Doc Gibson, that’s who.
Now mind you, I was a little leery of putting my mouth in the hands of a fellow who did extractions for pocket change, and looking back on the experience, I probably wouldn’t go through it again. It wasn’t that he cut corners or did otherwise shoddy work. On the contrary, he was very professional, and I guarantee he used five dollars’ worth of Novocain alone just to try to get me numbed up. Six shots of the stuff. I remember it like yesterday.
No, I’d hesitate simply because Doc Gibson was precisely what you’d expect an old-school doctor to be. No nonsense, straight to the point, get the job done because it has to be done. After the sixth injection, it was clear that Novocain wasn’t going to work on me. He gamely gave it every opportunity to kick in, but in the end he looked at me and said, matter-of-factly…
“If that hasn’t worked by now, it’s not going to. This is going to hurt a bit.”
I remember it like yesterday – and I promise you’d never forget it either.
A moment later, Doc clamped whatever God-awful pliers dentists use onto my aching tooth and, literally using all of his strength, started yanking that tooth out of my head.
I can see it still, as if in slow motion. He brought his hands up to his chest for leverage, the way an arm wrestler would, and lifted himself off the ground on his tip-toes. Every muscle in his body was flexed, to the point that his arms were shaking with the effort. And I wasn’t numb at all.
Somewhere in this world, there exists a dentist’s chair that retains the finger marks of a fifteen-year-old kid. It did, indeed, “hurt a bit”.
Proud country boy that I was, I really didn’t care at that moment. I bawled. I couldn’t tell if it was tears or the profuse sweat that he’d worked up, but it sure seemed the good doctor may have cried, too.
I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Truth is, at this moment in time I’d wish the experience on pretty much everyone because the lessons to be learned from it would serve us all well right now.
Doc Gibson hurt me to help me. The short-term pain was as unholy as anything you can imagine, but the long-term benefit of having that decayed, aggravated tooth out of my mouth outweighed the immediate discomfort. And it wasn’t like he didn’t try everything he could to prevent the pain; six shots of the only anesthetic available at the time, coupled with patience and gentleness up to the point where patience and gentleness was no longer going to get the job done.
At that moment Doc Gibson, the kind, old-school country dentist who would pull a tooth for five dollars, switched gears and became the no-nonsense problem-solver.
This is going to hurt a bit, but I’m going to do it because it’s got to be done, and you’re just going to have to deal with it.
Our nation is crumbling. Everything we’ve known, everything we believe in, every part of what it is that makes us American is being purposefully stripped away. We are being systematically robbed of our freedom, denied justice, and lined up in the cattle-car crosshairs with each passing minute. We know it – everyone knows it – but we’re still sitting around allowing it to happen. The world around us at this point is that decayed, aggravated tooth.
Somehow, we’ve got to be that old country dentist with his God-awful pliers.
Look, we’ve injected the Novocain. Waited. Injected some more. Waited some more.
We’ve been patient. We’ve even been kind (some would say far too kind). At some point, we have to switch gears and become the no-nonsense problem-solvers. It’s gonna bloody hurt a bit, but it’s got to be done. That tooth will just fester and bleed, and as the naked nerves are exposed it will ultimately cause far more pain in the long run if we don’t do what we must.
Doc Gibson would pull that tooth. He’d sweat in the process, maybe even cry, but the extraction would be done. And for five bucks, I guarantee you he’d suffer a loss on the transaction, but his patient would be better for it in the end – and isn’t that ultimately the most important thing?
As a side note, some years later I had the privilege of meeting Doc Gibson’s son and coaching two of his grandkids. You couldn’t ask for better people. Truly, they serve as a living legacy that to this day stands in testament to the values embodied in the kindly but no-nonsense fellow who served as their patriarch. Both of the boys became Olympic-caliber athletes, and the entire clan demonstrated that you can be both successful and grounded, hard-working and fun-loving, polite yet serious. Good Americans. Good, good people.
I’d like to think that we can collectively rise to stop the devastation that will sweep any number of similarly good people up in its chaos. Failing that, we’re all just sitting idly by while our world devolves into tyranny, slavery, and destruction. I just don’t think the good doctor would approve.
It’s going to hurt a bit, but it’s time to deal with that tooth.
By Jackson P. Chamberlain