Charles Nevin: News from Elsewhere

This should touch a nerve: Wisconsin is celebrating dentistry and root canal work

Share

Ah, there you are. Time for some better news. From Wisconsin, for example. Wisconsin seems a rather interesting place. Did you know, for example, that, before the California Gold Rush, there was a Wisconsin Lead Rush? There was, although it must have been a bit slower, presumably.

Liberace was from Wisconsin, too, but I don't think he had any mining connections, despite the candelabra.

I mention all this to show that Wisconsin is a broad-minded, pioneering, wide-open kind of a place with an established interest in extraction. Which is why I was intrigued to read last week that it celebrates a Root Canal Awareness Day.

And pleased, too, because I have tirelessly campaigned to promote more recognition for dentistry, a profession that has long had to battle against a reputation for one-sided conversations about current affairs, and for such unfortunate role models as Dr Crippen, and Doc Holliday, who, in the words of his biographer, fellow dentist Dr Frank Heynick, "knew how to drill a man in more ways than one".

And pleased, too, because, let's face it, there are not that many opportunities to mention the man undergoing root canal treatment who turned down painkilling injections because he was pursuing the path of enlightenment offered by eastern religion and wanted to transcend dental medication. Sorry? Yes, you're absolutely right, after that he did go into the pizzeria and say, "Make me one with everything."

Anyway, let's hope that the Wisconsin initiative touches a nerve, and that orthodontics finally obtains the respect that has so far eluded it due to some entirely understandable negative associations such as your memories of searing pain accompanied by merry if tuneless humming. Similarly, Tandlæge På Sengekanten, or, as you may know it, Danish Dentist on the Job, though a remarkably energetic film with an arresting title, was, in my view, not entirely helpful, either. And, while we're at it, let's have an end to tired old gags like, "Your teeth are like stars - they come out at night." Thank you.

Finland, which is quite close to Denmark, is also having a bit of an image problem, isn't it? I've been there, you know. The food was rather good, as it happens, and, at the hotel on New Year's Eve, we had a milking contest between the Finnish and French guests involving an interesting contraption with four rubber teats. What larks! We were honorary Finns; modesty and sensitivity prevent me from revealing who won, especially after last Wednesday, although I would have expected a better performance, frankly, Jacques, given all those subsidies.

The other big sport in Finland is wife-carrying. They've just had the world championships. Margo Uusorg of Estonia sprinted 200 yards to win the title for the third time, with his partner, Egle Soll, 23, clinging to his back in the trademark "Estonian Carry", hanging upside-down with her legs clenched around his neck. Mr Uusorg won his partner's weight in beer and a mobile phone. I'll ignore the Gavin Henson-Charlotte Church joke opportunity and further underline Finnish family values by telling you that the top Finn rock band Apocalyptica, appearing in Serbia, demanded stamped postcards so they could write to their mums.

In neighbouring Croatia, meanwhile, a 35-stone brown bear is attempting to break out of the bear-woods stereotype: this one has learnt how to knock on the door. The Loknar family from Gerovo said he'd done it three times and they were now refusing to answer. If it were me, I'd be inclined to buy the double glazing and have done with it.

Estonia, though: did you know they played cricket? Let's hope they don't take up rugby, Clive. Whatever, a Scot writing a book about cricket in eastern Europe on the advice of a Canadian psychic - and that's not a predicate you'll see too often - has met a leading Estonian cricketer called Jason. "Hardly anyone in the country is called Jason," said Angus Bell, 24. Remarkable.

Canada? No, wait, it's interesting: Newfoundland's biggest folk festival is aiming to break the world record for the largest number of accordionists playing together, which stands at 566. They're aiming for 567 but it could be a tight squeeze.

What else, what else? Well, further south, at the Samuel E Coston Funeral Home in Pittsburgh, Mr James Smith, dedicated Pittsburgh Steelers home-viewer fan, has been laid out on his recliner, with his feet crossed and remote in hand in front of a TV playing Steelers highlights. A pack of cigarettes and a can of beer are at his side. "I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steeler blanket in his lap," said his sister, Mary Ann Nails, 58. And in Vermont, there's a hunt on for a blue parakeet that speaks only Hungarian. Ears cocked, please, for "Ki van egy szép fiú, akkor?" and, "Bábu-ból nyolc!"

And finally, I'm delighted to be able to tell you that the A50 trunk road between the M6 and the M1 near Uttoxeter has been voted Britain's Bumpiest Road. Marvellous. Sorry? No, you've missed it: the next Root Canal Awareness Day will be in May 2006. Meanwhile, get ready for Wisconsin Winter Awareness Week in November. What? I suppose they look out of the window, probably at a set time.

Sorry? You don't speak Hungarian? Mine's a bit rusty, but here goes: "Who's a pretty boy, then?"; "Pieces of Eight!"

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all