Monday, November 5, 2012

Last Will and Testament of Morris Workman

Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to mark the passing of a friend and neighbor:
Morris Workman
Oh, the fat guy in suspenders isn't dead (yet).  I'm just passing another state.
After 11 years in the desert, eight right here in Mesquite, my family and I are leaving for greener pastures the end of November.  And that's not a euphemism.  Pastures don't get any greener than those you'll find in Washington state.
I could get all maudlin and sad, offering vignettes of past columns, but that's boring and bordering on nothing better than a rerun.
I wouldn't want to go out like that.
Instead, I'd like to offer up my last will and testament, bequeathing a few things, including some nuggets of wisdom I've collected over the years.

To Mesquite Gaming, I leave a half-used Reporter's Notebook.  My hope is that they will use it to write down and remember whatever corporate name they're using this week, since it seems to change more often than the images on a spinning three-reel slot machine.  (Mesquite Gaming...Black Gaming...Tri-Properties...Oasis...Peppermill...CasaBlanca...Players Island...Virgin River Convention Center...Mesquite Star).  I figure by the time they're done playing musical chairs with their moniker, they'll need a notebook big enough to impress Tolstoy, but this will be a start.

To Greg Lee and The Eureka, I leave my old George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine, and a top hat.  The grill is a reminder of the only time I recall Greg Lee really getting mad at me, after I wrote about the Great Weiner War of 2009 between the Eureka and Black Gaming.  Meanwhile, the top hat is symbolic of the remarkable fact that Lee, Andre Carrier, and the staff of the Eureka have proven that even in the down-and-dirty world of Mafia-spawned Nevada casinos, it's actually possible to run a gambling establishment with class and character.

To Mayor Mark Wier, I bequeath a single pane of glass and an oversize bottle of Windex.  Wier and the current council have done a tremendous job of bringing transparency to what was once a very dark and ugly place.  I also offer this admonition: in the unlikely event you find yourself primping and preening while looking at your reflection in the glass, use the Windex.  Otherwise, you're in danger of becoming just like the previous administration.

To The Virgin Valley Water District, I leave a Rand McNally Atlas, and a bookmark placed at page 78 to remind them that they live in Nevada, not California.  Conservation and environmental extremism have helped bankrupt and scrape the shine off the Golden State.  The Silver State doesn't deserve the same fate.  The map also has a little red circle along U.S. Route 95 just outside of Las Vegas, marking the location of the High Desert State Prison, as a reminder of the destiny awaiting any elected or appointed water official contemplating a return to the old VVWD ways of cronyism and corruption.

To The Overton Power District Officials, I leave a box of Band-Aids and a crying towel.  By the time Barbara Ellestad, John Taylor, and the outraged people of Mesquite get through exposing OPD's fiscal shenanigans and spotlighting their greed and arrogance, I suspect they'll need both.

To Barbara Ellestad and the Mesquite Citizen Journal, I leave my blood-stained quill-pen sword and my battered AP Stylebook shield.  Of course, they won't need it, since Barb and the crew have done such an amazing job of slaying bureaucratic dragons and rescuing tax-paying damsels in distress over the last year with their own battle armaments. 
I also leave them my worn out chastity belt, in case some mega-corporate-news organization comes a-calling with flowers and candy.  No matter how big the check, or how badly you might need the money, trust me when I tell you that your soul is worth more.  I learned that lesson too late. 
As for the local businesses, I implore you -- advertise more with MCJ, even if you don't need to.  To the readers, I encourage you to patronize and support those who do.  Without the MCJ, Mesquite will fall victim to profiteers from either side -- with the news filtered through the prisms of truth suppressors from Las Vegas or St. George, neither of whom have ever really understood Mesquite. 

To The People Of Mesquite, I leave a single ostrich feather, a mirror, and a shovel.  In 2005, I used to joke that the official Mesquite City Bird was the ostrich, because so many of its citizens preferred to live with their heads buried in the sand.  Today, the people of this community are engaged, aware, energized, and seem determined never to let the "good ole boys" and carpetbaggers get the upper hand again.  I am so proud of this community, and the way that the people have stood up and cleaned house at City Hall, at the VVWD offices, and are getting their brooms ready for OPD.  Citizens also killed the ill-advised plan for an $8 million soccer tent; and local mothers recently stood up against an out-of-touch, out-of-state hospital corporation, forcing the hospital to back down on their repugnant plan to close Mesquite's obstetrics department. 
The mirror is to give Mesquite a chance to look at itself and decide what it wants to be.  Is it going to be a gaming town?  A golf destination?  An art enclave?  A light industrial center?  A suburb of St. George?  A Las Vegas bedroom community?  A decaying wide spot in the road next to the interstate?  A cautionary tale?  The people need to choose an identity, then commit to living up to it.  No town can be all things to all people.  Once the citizens choose a direction, everyone needs to get on board in order to make Mesquite the growing, prosperous place it used to be, and deserves to be again.
As for the's time to build.  The government institutions have been knocked down, cleaned out, and re-formed.  Corruption is on the run.  The painful, brutal political battles have been fought.  Now is the season to come together and start rebuilding the local economy.  Start creating reasons for people to return to Mesquite, beginning with something as simple as a genuine smile accompanied by the words "we're glad you're here."  That attitude has to include a welcoming hand to businesses interested in coming here.  (Real businesses, not pie-in-the-sky schemes involving imaginary sports parks, desert amphitheaters, and recycled soccer tents). 
I have always said that Mesquite's most valuable asset isn't the sunshine, the interstate, the casinos, the golf courses, or the proximity to Las Vegas or St. George.  No, the most powerful, wonderful thing about Mesquite is and has always been its people.  Now that the people have found their voice, rediscovered their collective power, and done the heavy lifting needed to fix dysfunctional institutions and get rid of narcissistic power mongers, it's time to focus on letting the whole world know that repairs are being finalized and Mesquite is ready for the next wave of people looking for a friendly, thriving place they can call home.

My only regret is that I won't be here to see it, to be a part of it.  But truth be told, I'm a remnant of Mesquite's past.  The city needs to look to the future.
My destiny lies along another path.  But wherever I go, a piece of Mesquite goes with me, because this community has shaped who I am today. 
I want to thank all those who had a hand in that shaping, including people like my former business partner and forever friend Cindi Delaney.  I can't name everyone, but rest assured that the list would look a lot like the Reliance Connects phone book, because in many ways you have all been a part of my journey.  I'm grateful to you.  I'll miss you.  I'll remember you. 
And finally, this ending is poetic.  It's the last Workman Chronicle I'll ever write, a column born at the Desert Valley Times; one which gained momentum and awards while showing up every week in the Mesquite Local News; and which dies today within the electronic pages of the Mesquite Citizen Journal.
All my life, I wanted to be a writer.  While the desire was forged in the crucible of a second-floor classroom in Havre de Grace, Maryland, it became a reality right here in Mesquite, Nevada, where the input, critiques, and encouraging words offered by readers from 2004 to 2012 helped make me the writer that I am.  My first novel was written and published while residing here.  I'll never forget Mesquite, where I became what I believed I was always destined to become.
I've lived an amazing life here, and met incredible people.
Thank you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Khloe Kardashian To Help X-Factor Jump The Shark

To "Jump The Shark" is a Hollywood term that dates back to the 1970's, when "The Fonz" made a water-ski jump over a shark on the sitcom "Happy Days."  It identifies the point at which a TV show or series has turned the corner from legitimate to ridiculous, and usually marks the beginning of the end for the program.
That moment has come for the long litany of "talent" shows on television.
For starters, there are a lot of them. 
It's no secret that networks ran out of imagination and creativity about a decade ago.  Instead, here's how things now work in Loopy Land:
A struggling last-place network, desperate to try anything, will trot out an idea they stole and repackaged from the earliest days of television.  For example, the new ABC show "What Would You Do" is touted as this ground-breaking hybrid of reality TV and news documentary. 
Yeah.  It's "ground-breaking" all right.  As in, the ground should break open over the grave of Allen Funt, the creator of the old "Candid Camera" show from the 1950's, and the dead host should start handing out butt-whoopings and lawsuit subpoenas to anyone even remotely involved with this tired ABC ripoff.
But the show will probably skyrocket the way Simon Cowell's blatant copycats "American Idol" and "X-Factor" hit the stratosphere on the wings of "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour," similar television gold from the 1940's.  Of course, even stealing Mack's idea (which he actually stole from radio host Major Bowles in 1948) isn't particularly original, since Ed McMahon did the same thing with "Star Search" back in the 1980's.
Anyway, once the new version is rolled out and gets some ratings attention at a dying network, executives at every other network on the planet will scramble to "create" their own version of the same lame ripoff instead of actually offering something original of their own.
And that, children, is how you wind up with the "America's Got X-Factor Voice Idol Singing Bee Talent" hodgepodge of screeching Kelly Clarkson wannabes.
Fortunately, the signs of the apocalypse have arrived, heralding the end of the world.  Or at least, the end of these no-talent shows.
And it came upon a pale horse named Kardashian.
Initially, I thought the end of the era was marked by American Idol's decision to blend their Star Search clone with the reality show "Real Housewives of Atlanta," a mess created when they hired has-been Mariah Carey and talentless never-was Nicki Minaj as judges.  The catfight queens were hired to replace two real musical stars -- Steven Tyler of "Aerosmith" and Jennifer Lopez of big-butt fame -- who must have been humiliated or seriously hung over to have ever agreed to appear on this farce of a show. 
According to recent news reports which have carefully and salaciously been leaked by Fox, a very ghetto feud has erupted on the set between Mariah and Minaj.
Even President Obama has weighed in on the nonsense, which is just ratings gold for the network whose news sibling has made a career out of hating the president.
But the real "jump the shark" moment for singing shows was announced earlier this week.
The X-Factor is so starved for attention, it took a similar dip into the reality-TV cesspool and came up with its very own Kardashian.  According to the report, Khloe Kardashian will be co-hosting the show with Mario "Dimples" Lopez in the upcoming season.
In its own way, the hiring is another "ground-breaking" move.  It will now spotlight a host who isn't attractive, can't act, can't talk, can't think, and can't do anything much beyond whining about her more famous but equally untalented older sister.  Basically, she's the Anti-Vanna.
Who would have thought it possible that the show which features singers who can't sing has finally managed to find a host that can't host?
So the era of the singing show is officially over.  And we should be grateful.
All that's left is to find Simon Cowell a leather jacket and a nice pair of skis.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Official Guide To Pets

I’m an animal lover.
That’s not to be confused with the human-hating, anti-leather, fur-destroying, rodeo-bashing vegan lunatics that pretend to like animals but really just enjoy imposing their obnoxious views on a majority that still likes ground cow and deep-fried poultry.
Yes, Pamela Anderson, I’m talking about you.
I love most animals, with the logical exception of those who would like to eat me for breakfast.
(I’ve often wondered where the PETA zealots are hiding when some kid in Florida gets munched on by a creature that will soon become a set of boots and matching handbag.  Why don’t we have a group called “People for the Ethical Treatment of People?”  For that matter, how about “Alligators for the Ethical Treatment of Humans?”)
In America, we’ve gotten a little bit off kilter when it comes to what constitutes a pet.
Snakes and lizards and big freakin’ spiders have actually made appearances in pet stores as candidates to replace the dog as man’s best friend.
In my humble opinion, these are not pets, and I’ll tell you why.
First, consider the name.
It is also a verb, meaning to gently glide your hand along the back of an animal in a pleasant manner without fear of losing digits.
You can pet a dog.  You can theoretically pet a cat, if you can get it to sit still and stop ignoring you long enough. 
You can’t pet a lizard.
I had a friend who had an iguana.
He tried to pet it once.
That particular display of affection required three stitches to stop the bleeding and three weeks in a metal cast while the broken finger healed.
My daughter has a friend who loves snakes.
Unfortunately, the snake needs contact lenses, because it frequently mistakes the girl’s fingers for its noontime meal of mouse on the hoof.
Which brings me to another qualifier for the term “pet.”
If your pet requires that you feed it other pets, it isn’t really a pet.
I once had another friend who had an oscar, which is a fish that enjoys eating other fish.
I recall that his oscar had an affinity for French food.
Frog legs, to be exact.
I won’t gross you out with the bloody details, but I can say that you could almost hear the theme from “Jaws” playing in the background when it was feeding time at his house.
I think mice, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs can qualify as pets, although they are as hard-headed as cats when you call them.
Horses make nice pets, too.
You can pet them, some of them will come when they’re called, and they show loyalty.
Of course, unlike some of the more traditional pets, it’s tough to get your pet horse to sleep at the foot of your bed.
Unless you’re a movie producer with mob ties.
At first glance, it would be fun to have a chimp as a pet.
However, if you’re going to have to contend with putting on a diaper, watching as it makes a mess of your kitchen, and endure endless screaming, howling, and nose picking, you might as well go ahead and have a baby.
Or adopt a teenager.
Another rule is that the critter has to last longer than a CBS sitcom, or two weeks, whichever comes first.
My daughter had fish.
I don’t consider them pets.  They’re decorations.
She even named them.  I never learned their names, mostly because they weren't around long enough to really establish a relationship.
I’ve heard that turtles make nice pets.
I recommend desert tortoises.
There are two big drawbacks.  First, if you decide to take your tortoise for a walk around the block, you better set aside plenty of time.
Like, the entire month of October.
Second, don’t get caught by the BLM police.
Otherwise, YOU’LL be the one in a cage, waiting for someone to feed you something disgusting in a plastic bowl three times a day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Brain Implants A Better Bet

While attending a recent function at a libations facility (what we used to call in the old days “a bar”), I noticed a young woman who wanted to be noticed.
It’s just one more indication that I’m getting old, because instead of taking notice because of her large breasts and thinking “Wow, those are large breasts,” I noticed and thought “You know, she could have put that $5,000 to much better use.”
I’m sure you’ve encountered these women before, the kind that somehow managed to get their hands on five grand and decided that stocks and bonds weren’t nearly as valuable an investment as a good set of implants.
Usually, as in this case, it’s someone who was already attractive but felt that God’s handiwork just wasn’t quite good enough.
Like Dennis Miller, I’m always amused when someone has this procedure done, then gets that surprised look on their face when the Surgeon General suggests that maybe filling an important body part with the same substance used to grout the tile in your bathroom isn’t such a great idea.
Some of the more sophisticated women with money to burn and time on their hands often purchase that particular procedure the way some people buy new cars. 
They don’t really need it, but they have to keep up with the Joneses.  Or the Andersons.  Or the Spearses.
Then you have those like the one in question, who make the purchase then want to drive around town with their new "Corvettes" so everyone will notice them.
I began to think about all the things this individual could have put that money toward which would have given her better dividends.
For example, the money could have been better spent on an English language tutor.
With just a few short lessons, “Iuntnuthrbeeeer” could actually sound like “I want another beer.”
(Did you ever notice that the people who use the word “Iuntnuthrbeeeer” are usually the ones who need another beer the least?)
Wardrobe would have been another more reasonable expenditure.
The woman in question could have bought a couple dozen t-shirts that said “Look at me!” in 24-inch letters and still had enough left over for those English lessons while producing the same result as the implant option.
Speaking of lessons, dance lessons might have come in handy.
One of the unfortunate by-products of this particular body enhancement is that it makes it nearly impossible to slow-dance with someone without looking like you’ve invoked the “book rule.”
The “book rule” is one that used to be imposed at school and church dances, where proctors who felt boys and girls were dancing too close would take a thick-tomed book and place it between the couple with the admonition “no closer than this.”
The difference is that in this case, the book is replaced by silicone.
Then of course is the alternative of taking those five g’s and putting them toward a college degree.
Not a four-year university diploma, mind you, but five thou can get you a pretty decent AA degree from a community college.
Unless your name is “Bambi” or “Blaze,” a certificate in dental hygiene is probably going to earn you more money than some new appendages that will soon have their own nicknames.
Fewer dates, maybe, but more cash.
Personally, my favorite nickname for fake bazoombas is “fire hydrants.”
There is an obvious similarity in shape.
But more importantly, like real fire hydrants, their biggest attribute is the number of dogs that inevitably will come sniffing around.
You would think that a man my age would have an appreciation for artificial breasts.
But like I said, I’m getting old, and staring down the barrel of a future that will probably involve an artificial hip, artificial knees, and artificial heart valves somehow makes the idea of one more artificial body part much less appealing.
Yes, even that one.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

You Might Be From Mesquite If…

If you’ve lived in Mesquite for any length of time, you know that there are certain phrases and statements that are unique to our small city.
Below, I’ve included a few that you might recognize, or have perhaps even said during your time here.
For example, You Might Be From Mesquite If…

…you’ve ever caught yourself saying “It’s ONLY 104 degrees today” in the middle of September.
…you know which casino used to be called the Peppermill, and which one used to be called Player’s Island.
…you’ve not only SEEN a desert tortoise, but have actually helped erect something called “tortoise fencing” as a fund-raiser for your favorite local group.
…you know that “Sy Redd” isn’t a breathing disorder.
…you’ve never been able to say the letters “B…L…M…” in that order without getting mad enough to kick something.
…you’ve ever referred to Las Vegas as “West Mesquite.”
…you can keep a straight face while explaining to someone from “back East” that the Virgin River really is a river.
…you can’t explain what an HOA is without involving words that start with F, D, S, H, or A.
…you know why there is a creek but no bunkers in Bunkerville, and bunkers but no creek at Wolf Creek.
…you believe that the only thing wrong with The Gorge, which separates Mesquite from St. George, is that it isn’t big enough.
…you know why many of the whites and Hispanics in this community wish they were Blacks.
…you understand that the 19th Hole has nothing to do with a golf course.
…you used to know more cattle by their first name than people.
…you realize that the logo on the side of the Grapevine Villas overpass crossing I-15 isn’t really Pac Man.
…you can find your way from West First North to East First South without a map and a GPS.
…you can explain why the CasaBlanca hotel has a golf course called “CasaBlanca,” but the Oasis golf course has nothing to do with the Oasis hotel.
…you know that there are no cows on Dairy Lane.
…you remember Mesquite Heights by it’s maiden name, the Old Dump Road.
…you know that when you mix the colors Sy Redd, Allen Green, and Randy Black, you create the color of money.
...your city government doesn't have wards but your town's biggest church does. know what that big empty grocery store across the street from the Stateline Casino used to be called. can name at least three different restaurants that have existed in that little building next to the big empty grocery store across the street from the Stateline Casino. have paw prints painted on the road at Hillside Drive, and know why. know which resort casino was built by Merv Griffin
…you can explain where to find Pirates in the middle of a barren desert, and why they’re worse than anything that’s ever sailed the seven seas.
…you know exactly how long an egg can sit on a local city street in July before it’s ready to be served up with bacon and hash browns.
…you can say you’re going to the Dam Bar, and you’re not cursing.
…you’ve come to the conclusion that, after visiting Virgin Valley and Scenic, Arizona, the federal “truth in advertising” laws simply don’t apply out West.
…not only do you know nice families named Hafen, Hughes, Jensen and Leavitt, you’re related to all four of them.

To those who have heard, said, or know all of the above, congratulations.
You are now officially a native of Mesquite.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Get Naked Like A Royal

Once upon a time, in a land about eight time zones away, there lived a handsome prince and a lovely duchess.  A century ago, she would have been considered a princess, but there's some technicality nobody can figure out involving bloodlines and a wicked old queen, so we're going with "duchess" for this tale.
The prince was a studly guy who enjoyed a good time, especially those involving Mead Light.
It came to pass that the studly prince engaged in some friendly games of chance involving cue sticks in a place called Ye Olde Sinneth City. 
Being somewhat vain, and a smidge intoxicated, the prince appeared before some people (not his people, mind you, but they were probably somebody's people) and proclaimed himself to be the greatest Beer Pong player in the world.  As is the habit of people who go around referring to themselves as the greatest, he insisted that he be clothed in only the most exquisite garments.  In fact, he claimed that his royal togs were so magnificent, they could only be seen by those equipped with magic spectacles, called "Beer Goggles."
None among his entourage wanted to appear ill-equipped in his presence, and all agreed that the prince's outfit was the most wondrous they had ever seen.
However, after an unsuccessful game of Strip Polo, the prince was beheld by one honest woman who was Beer Goggle-challenged. 
"Alas," she said, or maybe it was "egad" or "forsooth" or one of those other medieval interjections peasants toss around while in the company of royalty, "I am bereft of Beer Goggles, and therefore cannot partake of your splendor."
"Fear not," the studly prince replied.  "Have you not a Telecommunication Device of Wisdom?"
"Yes, m'lord," the wench replied.  "I have a smart phone."
"Then simply engage thy iPhoto app and capture my haberdashery in all its royal wonderment."
The hand maiden, or maybe ankle maiden, or upper left incisor maiden (when your family owns an entire country and dresses up in crowns without the intervention of a mental health specialist, you can basically get away with having maidens for every anatomical part) complied and captured several images of the Ginger-bred man in all his glory.
"I don't see it," the maiden said once she had examined a few snapshots.
"It's right there," the prince counseled her.  "Behind the philodendron."
"No, that's a tube of ChapStick," she replied.
"I meant my fine new clothes," the prince said.  "Can't you see them?"
"No, m'lord, I see no threaded finery.  I did, however, notice that you really are a natural redhead."
The prince gathered his peers around the device, each in turn offering compliments regarding his couture. 
(Censor's note: "peers" is a disgusting, obscene term that has no place in a family newspaper, particularly after the line a few sentences back about having servants for every body part.)
(Author's note: It would only be distasteful if the scene involved his compatriots standing at a trough in a men's bathroom.)
"Sire," the woman finally said.  "Methinks thou art nekkid."
"Nonsense," the crowned royal said after downing another shot of Crown Royal.  "Fire up thy Facethbook and let's get a few million other opinions."
And that's how the studly prince's crown jewels wound up on TMZ.
The moral of the story: Never show off your German bratwurst when it's obvious you're from Vienna.
As for the lovely duchess?
She got caught with her top off while hanging out in some French guy's back yard.
(When you're only a duchess, you're not afforded the privilege of having your folly spun into a fable by Hans Christian Andersen.  Just ask Sarah Ferguson.)
Scientists are continuing their tests of Ye Olde Royal Water Fountain in search of an explanation for why British Royals continue to have so much trouble keeping their clothes on (above-normal levels of tequila content are currently suspected), and whether there's any truth to the concern that there may be Kardashian blood running through some of their veins.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Loving My Dentist

I just finished another round with my favorite dentist.
Ordinarily, "favorite dentist" is an oxymoron, like "military intelligence" or "Congressional action."
Not with my dentist.
I've written about the amazing Dr. Blazzard before.
For starters, he is a nice, clean-cut family man; but when it comes time to yank out one of my failing wisdom teeth, he's more "pro-drug" than Cheech or Chong.  His staff is extraordinarily generous with whatever the liquid substance is that turns my speech into one long vowel movement.  And I am deeply grateful. 
In all the years I've been going to him, the only time I can recall experiencing pain of any kind was once when the lady at the front desk announced that I had exhausted my insurance limit.
Like a lot of people my age, the first thing I think of when settling down into my dentist's pleather La-Z-Boy is Bill Cosby.  Back in the 1980's, Cosby released a comedy album that included a classic bit about visiting his dentist, a routine that is as true today as it was when the first western barber unwrapped his very first Black and Decker.
"Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp, metal objects," Cosby's bit began.  "Then you sit in their chair, and the first thing they grab is an iron hook."
Not my incredible dental hygienist. 
The first thing she grabs is a couple of Q-tips. 
I suspect she's going to use it to plug her ears against the blood-curdling scream certain to follow as soon as I see the size of the needle she has hidden behind her back.
Instead, she puts some sort of numbing agent on them and strategically places them wherever she intends to soon inject.
That's right, she's going to numb the places she's about to numb.
My first question, asked as only a 51-year-old man who is terrified of needles can ask, is...why hasn't my family doctor heard about this?
If Obamacare added this one line, "no numbing with needles until you've numbed with Q-tips," I'd be on board quicker than a nurse could lie "this won't hurt a bit."
After 15 or 16 shots (following my devout religious belief that, when it comes to painkillers at the dentist, more is better), my dental hygienist then turns on some Beatles music, because she knows that people my age find it hard to act uncool while listening to John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  That is, of course, so long as you're not strapped into a chair when the songs "Help!" or "Helter Skelter" come out of the speakers.  Also, I can attest that "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" are much more profound after the 17th or 18th injection.
After she starts scraping my teeth with what I can only assume is a rat-tail file (remember, I'm up to 19 or 20 shots by now, so I don't care if she's using a belt sander in there), she finally gets around to the iron hook.  I'm told dental professionals call this a "pick."  In my head, all I can see is an image of a grizzled miner breaking gold out of stubborn rock with a similarly-named tool.  After 20 minutes, I'm hoping she'll give it up and opt for some dynamite on that stubborn tartar.  My hygienist is very skilled, and it doesn't hurt a bit, but the sound is like chipping old grout out of a concrete sidewalk with a balky jackhammer.  She's a sweet and dainty little thing, but with her hand strength, I'm pretty sure she could whip Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm-wrestling contest.  Or at least a good thumb-war.
Once my extremely talented hygienist finishes her warm-up act (did I mention it didn't hurt a bit?), it's my dentist's turn.  Where she was a gold miner, he's an accomplished oil driller.
But after a few more Q-tips and a few more injections, I wouldn't care if he actually discovered Brent sweet crude in there.
First he drills out a couple of cavities and refills them with what I can only guess is some form of Spackle.  He does it faster than Denny Hamlin's pit crew can replace four tires and fill up with two cans of Sunoco racing fuel.
Then he extracts my stupid wisdom tooth without either a doorknob or a spool of fishing line (which is how it was always done in the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth).  He also does it without any pain.
So in less time than it takes to renew my driver's license, my dental care is done for another year.  And with less aggravation than is usually experienced at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Of course, if the DMV would simply start using those magic Q-tips and a few well-placed injections...