August 16, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged


            Some years ago, I remember sitting with a best friend who asked me the question, “Dude, why do you want to be a dentist?”

            My answer was short and simple,  “I like people.”

            Fast forward a few years or so...

            We are on the cusp of my son’s seventh birthday (he can’t read my articles, so this is no spoiler to him).  Reflectively, I remember my own seventh birthday quite well, because that night I killed (loosely speaking, as my shotgun aim was affected by shaky legs) a rattlesnake with seven buttons on it’s rattle.  Ever since, my lucky number has been seven.

            Parker’s birthday request this year was one that many Texas boys reach at some point in their lives.  “Dad, can I get a gun to shoot a deer with for my birthday?”

            This lead to an immediate rush of joy for old dad...we get to go gun shopping.

            So we went to a big box store in search of the perfect youth hunting rifle.  After browsing a bit, we drew a number and waited.  In a short while, they called our number and we proceeded to look at the youth models available.  There were hundreds of guns on the rack and a grand total of two were appropriate.  We both left a little disappointed.

            So here comes the good part.

            I was stuck with a promise that I was reluctant to keep with some meaningless mass produced gift.  Two days later, I am visiting with a patient who happens to be a gunsmith.  After a short discussion, he explains how he can convert my old hunting rifle that I received as a gift from my parents on my sixteenth birthday into a youth model for my own son.  In the blink of an eye, we switch gears from a gift to a family heirloom.  My heart skipped a beat.

            There’s only one problem.  Time is not on our side and the work will probably stretch past the big seventh birthday party.  “No worries,” I said, “just email a picture of how it’s going and we’ll put the picture in a card.”

            Fortunately, our gunsmith is a father, too.  Long before the party, the gun is to be delivered, fitted, polished, and ready to give.  I’m not sure who is going to be most excited, me or my son.  Either way, it’ll be a great seventh birthday surprise.

            Every day, we dentists are fortunate to serve a variety of patients with a variety of talents, gifts, jokes, opinions, and personalities.  Sometimes they put a smile on our faces much bigger than we can ever put on their’s.  We learn from from them all.

            Of course, it helps to like people.  Until next week, keep smiling.

-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at