Sunday, October 23, 2011

To All The Dentists I've Loved Before!

(From today's Times and News-Star -- about our annual Doc Jack Witte Golf Day to benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes)

Four out of five dentists surveyed say four out of five people hate their guts.

I’m that fifth guy!

The fear is probably from the unnerving whirring of those insane drills. Having your mouth open while reclined in such a vulnerable position. Being reminded you aren’t flossing enough, and in an “Eat your vegetables!” tone.

Or, it could just be fear of the sheer pain. There is that.

But I love going to the dentist. I like my dentist! And he pretends to like me, and my teeth. It’s a beautiful working relationship.

A few months ago I had a tiny cavity filled. I slobbered a “thank you” and smiled a crooked smile. They gave me a freshly baked cookie and coffee, which I drank and spilled down my numb chin. I felt like I was in a Carol Burnett skit.

Which is exactly why I like going to my dentist -- because it’s not like going to the dentist. It’s like being in a good 30-minute sitcom.

Besides, how can you hate somebody who gives you a free cookie? After all, dentists are people too. Sort of.

I even had another dentist, sort of a surgeon dentist, drill a screw into my head. An entire screw. Into my gums. Way back there. But he numbed it of course and he was funny and really nice about it and I like him too. Not enough to go get another screw drilled into my gums, but he was a very nice man.

I like dentists because they help the world smile. We need more of that. More flossing and brushing, less gingivitis and tartar. Down with decay! Up with dentists!

Oddly, my favorite dentist is a guy who never touched my teeth. But he did touch my soul. Since he died 10 years ago in May, cancer at age 44, we’ve talked about him annually here. Jack “Doc” Witte was a guy we played golf with, coached ball with, had fun with. We miss the Doc.

He was a passionate supporter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a main player in FCA’s annual Ironman golf fundraising marathon. The event is now the Dr. Jack R. Witte Memorial Golf Day, which is Thursday at East Ridge Country Club, and I ask your support in the way of a tax-deductable donation as I do every year. As other will, I'll be playing in honor of Doc, to raise money as he would be doing were he here.

You can donate online at (click Donate, then One Time Gift, then type in Golf Day.) Or you can send your donation to Terry Slack, FCA, 3018 Old Minden Rd., Ste. 1121, Bossier City, LA 71112. Or just email me and we'll figure it out!

My family has made a $100 donation and I ask you to match that; not everyone can. (We've been saving up!) But your gift, whatever you feel it can or should be, will be used wisely once received.

Our friend Terry and his wife Peggy are in their 22nd year with FCA; he’s still northwest Louisiana’s point man, but he’s also FCA’s state director now. He’ll handle your gifts wisely, as Doc Witte always knew he would. You can help make an eternal difference.

“I’ve grown in faith and leadership skills that help me on the football and baseball fields,” said Byrd High star quarterback Richard Carthon, who attended an FCA Camp at Slack’s urging in 2010. “I’ve grown as a leader at home and in FCA at school.”

“Terry Slack and FCA,” said John Bachman, head football coach at Shreveport’s Calvary Academy, “are loved and wanted around here.”

I thank in advance the tireless brotherhood of dentists who’ve faithfully donated in Doc’s memory and hope you’ll follow their lead. You’ll help a lot of people smile if you do.