Thursday, June 21, 2012

Erosion… And I am Not Talking About Teeth

Hey all,

Hope you are having a great week.

Well, I did it. I gave my lecture at a state meeting. I think it went great. The morning session was $60 and there were 25 people there. The room was the size of my kitchen, a very intimate setting. But this size room kind of gives the feeling of a study club. When you ask the audience a question, people feel much more comfortable answering. They kind of get to know you a bit and are apt to come up to you more and offer their criticism. One guy came up to me and told me that if I wanted to go far with this, I should probably get better pictures. Then he proceeded to tell me how to take a better picture and get less "wash out." Talk about squishing an already fragile psyche.

The afternoon session was free. A bunch of people signed up for this. I think three weeks before the event there were more than 125 signed up. I had to tell myself, "I can do this. That guy told you that your picture quality sucked, but it is going to be okay.”

They put me in the largest room they had. The screen was 10x12 FEET. A room this does not lead to an intimate setting. I did my thing and there were very few questions. When I asked if there were any questions, only crickets. I had to keep on. But when I gave everyone a 10-minute break, lots of people came up and wanted to talk to me. At the end of the lecture, again, lots of questions and then lots of compliments.

My wife and two of my staff members went to this one. Lots of people thanked me and told me the lecture was “great” and “awesome.” But best of all, my wife was really impressed. She said that even as a non-dentist person, she thought it was really good. Of course, she had some constructive criticism, but nothing I couldn't handle. My staff said they see and hear this stuff every day, but it was okay. I peeked at a couple of evaluations; they were all very positive. I had a really good feeling when it was over, and still I am on a bit of a high. I think I can do this.

Today I want to talk about this book, “50 Shades of Grey.” I finished it. I have been advised not to talk about the content of the book; I am not allowed to get specific. I think I am allowed to tell you that when the talk shows call this "mommy porn," they are just about right on.

If you have heard about it and don't want to read it, I would say that you are not missing that much. And it is as bad as people are saying. As far as authors go, I would say that this author is average. The story is terrible, the character development is terrible. I felt like I was reading an X-rated version of “Twilight.” The character says, "I know, but he is so hot," about 1,000 times in this book. That is what a 13-year-old girl would say. The book is all about sex. We all know that sex sells, and this book sells a lot of it.

I think this book probably would have fizzled out if it wasn't for the whole library thing. I don't know if you heard that all Florida libraries banned this book from their shelves. This was a huge deal. It made big news and that got it on everyone's radar. People started talking about it and then, bam! It went viral.

But let’s talk about this book for a second. I know this is a dental blog, but it is on my mind, so humor me. Okay, I get it. It is a fad. But so is walking around with your pants under your butt and your underwear showing.

I can't tell you how many women in their 60s have told me that they loved this book and that I should read it. What does it say about us as a society when it becomes okay for us to talk about porn in public? Look, as I am writing this, I know I sound like a prude. But I am not thinking of me. I can handle it, but I worry about my kids.

I think the silent majority is remaining quiet as our society continues to erode. I am okay with talking about sex. I am all for it. In fact, I am pretty open about sex and stuff. When I was a kid, I used to hide Penthouse Forum in my treehouse and read it when my parents weren't around. Now, it is a national bestseller. And when the library decides that it is trash and they don't want to put it on their shelves, they get slammed.

I don't have a problem with our family talking about sex, but that conversation is never casual. I want more for my kids. I don't like that they can't walk in a grocery store isle because I have to shield their eyes from the magazines. I don't like that I have to police what they watch on the freaking Disney Channel because the shows about high school kids are talking about sex. I hate that my kids can't watch anything on TV on the regular channels after 8 p.m. I hate that magazines glorify people not worth glorifying. I hate that I can't read the paper in the morning with my kids around because they can read now. [It sucks when your eight-year-old asks you what rape is. "Didn't I tell you to read only the comics?!"]

I know sex is from God. He made it good. Just leave it to us, man, to ruin a good thing. I mean, you read about Sodom and Gomorrah. I feel like we are not there yet, but we are inching closer and closer. I know I am just getting old. I am just seeing things much clearer now. I now know what my folks were talking about. It is hard to understand adults until you are one. But it is just not sex that I feel is eroding our society. And maybe it has always been eroding and I am just seeing it now.

We sink to the lowest common denominator. And I don't think the church should be the only one yelling. What about the middle? They don't have to be church-going, but they shouldn't have to go to school and be afraid. They shouldn't have to be afraid to send their kids to the freaking mall or to the 7-Eleven.

I don't know. I like the book, okay. But what is that saying about me and how I might be eroding? What do you think? Am I being a prude? Am I just getting old and crotchety? I am seeing the world differently now that I am a parent, and I can tell you, I don't like it much.

Have a great Thursday. john

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