Siberian Tigers, Dentistry, Free Stuff and Other Considerations   4 comments

 

Go ahead, put your hand in his mouth!

Go ahead, put your hand in his mouth!

Standing outside Caffe Beano the other morning, I was approached by an elderly gentleman (even by my standards) who wanted to give me a free coffee card. I don’t know what it is about me, people seem to like to give me things.

They say more serotonin is released when we give than when we receive, giving physiological proof to the old adage. Maybe I’m some kind of trigger, something about my face that screams out “Give this guy something! Give him a coffee card! Give him the shirt off your back!” Whatever.

(There is a DONATE button on the left side of the page if you want to FEEL GOOD RIGHT NOW.)

On any account, the gentleman who gave me the card gave me something far more valuable and enduring – he gave me a story. A good one too!

In his career, he was a dental surgeon, and in his free time he belonged to the Board of the Calgary Zoo. These two pursuits came together one day when he became the first oral surgeon to operate on a “big animal” (at least not of the domestic variety) in all of Canada. That animal was a Siberian tiger and he took two broken teeth out of its mouth, obviously while the tiger was under anesthetic.

They had laid the tiger on its side on the operating table and put shackles around its paws. As he was extracting one of the teeth, the tiger’s two front paws, which were not far from its head, raised a little off the table and then one by one its claws shot out from their sheaths. Of course, our good surgeon has his hands in the tiger’s mouth as this was happening.

As calmly as he could, he said “I think we might need a little more anesthetic here.”

Do ya think??

Anyway, he obviously survived and the tiger was relieved of its suffering and on a street corner years hence on a chilly autumn morning, I was given that story along with a free coffee card.

It got me thinking that there a lot of fascinating people walking around out there with stories that sadly enough may never get shared. A few years ago, I wrote a series of profiles for The Calgary Beacon called The Eugenius Questionnaire on people I know and admire, mostly from the Calgary arts scene. When I stopped writing for The Beacon, that idea died, but yesterday’s encounter with my new dentist friend rekindled my desire to create profiles on people by way of the questionnaire who have an interesting story to tell.

I think I ought to start it up again, and if he calls me (I gave him my card) I’ll start with my dentist friend and his story about being an oral surgeon to the big animals. Then you can hear it right from the horse’s – or the tiger’s – mouth. So to speak.

If you can think of a likely subject for this enterprise, why not let me know? There’s a comment button down below, so it’s easy enough to get in touch with me. (There’s also a donation button on the left . . . )

And by the way, if you’d be interested in doing something like this yourself, check out Dave Isay’s wonder Ted Talk on his project, StoryCorps. With their convenient App, you could be out gathering stories of your own in no time. I’ve shared it below. (Or at least tried to.)

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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4 responses to “Siberian Tigers, Dentistry, Free Stuff and Other Considerations

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  1. I work with seniors. I have worked with the woman who founded the British War Brides club for Ottawa. She would entertain me with stories of what it was like to grow up in World War 2 London during the blackout. I was told a story by a dentist who had to save a man who was bleeding out of the mouth in the war. I worked with a 100 year old woman who travelled to every corner of the earth. Many of my seniors were survivors of great personal hardship both in the past and now. If you want good stories do some volunteer work with seniors.

    • Yes, of course. The dentist I spoke with is definitely a senior. But I agree, they are a rich resource, too often ignored. And as was the case with my own mother, once they’re gone, so are their stories. Thanks!

  2. There is a lovely British TV series available on Netflix called “Derek” whic is written, directed and performed by Ricky Gervais. The show takes place in a nursing home and interspersed among the comedic scenes are some very heartfelt stories shared by the seniors. You both laugh and cry while watching that show. Your posting reminded me of it.

    Good luck with your project. So worthwhile.

    Diane Guichon

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