Poo-Bear, when did you become the establishment?

It’s important that you go to the dentist often so that you maintain good oral health and so that your dentist can make the lease payment on his Mercedes S550. Regular dental checkups are extremely vital, which is why I make it a point to go once every presidential administration.

Sometimes that means I drag myself there once every eight years. In more extreme cases, it means I’m hoping to see the 22nd Amendment overturned.

Nothing good ever comes from visiting the dentist. About the very best you can hope for is to leave there with a lower-than-expected co-pay and a refillable prescription for Vicodin. My dentist happens to be a former fraternity brother, meaning that we’re about the same age. I don’t like this one bit. Your dentist — like Santa Claus or your United States senator — should be about 50 years older than you.

Because I knew him in college, I have a hard time taking him with the level of seriousness his profession demands. We tend to cling to the images of people as we once knew them, rather than to the person they’ve become. If you knew someone back in third grade, you’ll always remember him that way. Even if he goes on to become an important, dignified man who is, say, the secretary general of the U.N., you’ll still remember him as the kid who got a whole carton of chocolate milked poured on his crotch by Becky Thompson near the teeter-totter.

On top of that, all of us in the fraternity were given nicknames, and back in the day my dentist’s nickname was “Poo-Bear.” At his office, the other day, I found myself almost calling him that. I’ve never been treated by a medical professional named “Poo-Bear.” Then again, I haven’t been to a medical marijuana dispensary.

So I’m having trouble developing the normal healthy patient/doctor respect for my friend, even though I realize how hard it is to become a dentist. The Colorado Board of Dental Examiners doesn’t just give a license to practice dentistry out to just anybody. You have to go to a special school for like, three or four weeks to get one.

Like most good dentists, he ended our appointment by reminding me to floss daily, for my health. Sure. This is how deeply concerned about my health he is: During pledge initiation in 1988, he forced me and the other pledges to drink a 5-gallon bucket of beer. Has your health care provider ever encouraged you to binge drink?

The whole thing is surreal. If — 20 years ago — you would have told me that one day I would voluntarily lie down and allow Poo-Bear to stand over me and place a horrifying-looking drill into my mouth, and then pay him money for doing it, I would have said you are on acid. And, since this was in Boulder in the late ‘80s, I probably would have been right.

It’s not just him who’s become respectable either. Another former acquaintance, Monica Marquez, just got appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court. I went to high school with Monica back in Grand Junction High School in the ‘80s. According to the news reports, she is now openly gay, which helps explain why she wouldn’t go to homecoming with me. Then again, under that logic, most of the women from the class of 1987 are also lesbians.

My point is that between Poo-Bear and Justice Marquez, my generation has now become the establishment. We are quickly assuming the role of the productive, responsible members of society. I plan on fighting this development tooth and nail.

Speaking of which, in a few months, I have to go back to my dentist buddy for a follow-up exam. He’ll tell me to brush three times daily and to floss more. And I’ll oblige.

But I don’t care what he says, I’m not drinking a 5-gallon bucket of beer.

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E-mail Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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