It’s gonna hurt a bit

I got to thinking about old Doc Gibson today.

Doc was a dentist in my hometown. Kind, friendly, a country doctor – think Little House on the Prairie, but with picks and mirrors rather than a stethoscope. His old-school business practices would never fly today. Even in the early eighties, it was a shock to find someone so truly dedicated to his patients. Doc Gibson was that guy.

I grew up poor. Doc had lots of poor patients, which would explain his well-known “five-dollar extraction.” Insurance? Most of us 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.

In pain or not, I was a little leery of putting my mouth in the hands of a fellow who did extractions for pocket change. It wasn’t that he cut corners or did otherwise shoddy work. He was very professional. No, my concern stemmed from the fact that I knew by reputation what lay behind the kind face of old Doc Gibson; a no-nonsense, straight to the point, get the job done because it has to be done determination. Once I entered that office my achy tooth was coming out no matter what, and we both knew it. That awareness petrified me.

I guarantee Doc lost money on this transaction. I’m sure he used five dollars worth of anesthetic alone just to get me numbed up. Six shots of the stuff... I remember it like yesterday. Yet after the sixth injection and plenty of opportunity, it became clear that Novocain wasn’t going to work on me.

Doc’s friendly face changed. He said, matter-of-factly, “If that hasn’t worked by now, it’s not going to. This is going to hurt a bit.”

As I said, I remember it like yesterday -- and I promise you’d never forget it either.

A moment later, Doc clamped his Godawful pliers onto the offending tooth and, using all his strength, proceeded to yank it out of my head. I can see it still, as if in slow motion. He brought his hands to his chest for leverage and lifted himself off the ground on tip-toes. Every muscle in his body 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.”

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. Doc tried everything he could to prevent the pain; six shots of the only anesthetic available at the time, coupled with patience and gentleness until patient gentleness was no longer going to get the job done, at which point Doc switched gears and became the no-nonsense problem-solver.

Our nation is under attack. Everything we’ve known, everything we believe in, every part of what it is that makes us American is being purposefully stripped away. We’re being systematically robbed of our freedom, denied justice, and lined up in the crosshairs with each passing minute.

The world around us at this point is that decayed, aggravated tooth, and somehow, we’ve got to be that old country dentist with his Godawful pliers. We’ve been patient, even kind (some would say too kind). Now the time has come to switch gears and become no-nonsense problem-solvers. It’s gonna bloody hurt a bit, but it’s got to be done.

Doc Gibson would pull that tooth. He’d sweat in the process, but the extraction would be done. And for five bucks 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?

I’d like to think that we can summon our inner Doc Gibson and collectively rise to stop the devastation sweeping up any number of similarly good people in its chaos.

It’s going to hurt a bit, but it’s time to deal with that tooth.

Jackson P. Chamberlain is a right-leaning, liberty-loving husband and father whose American heritage dates back nearly four hundred years. He writes from his home at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. He can be found on GETTR @jpchamberlain, or on MeWe as Jackson Chamberlain

Image: Public Domain Pictures

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