The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 25, 1992, Page 5, Image 5

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    Dentists and PMS: An odd pair
You ve seen those commercials,
the ones where they take two
things that shouldn’t go to
gether and put them together and then
show what happens.
Weights and skates.
Wet paint and new suits.
Dentists and PMS.
The scene unfolds with
screams filling the wait
ing room, where the re
ceptionist cringes in ter
ror. Pan to the examin
ing room, where the fe
male dentist is torturing
her doe-eyed patient
with a large, scary den
tal apparatus and Barry
izak. She laughs insidi
ously over the whine of a rusty drill.
WhimTrrr, haaaaa ha ha ha!
Only a commercial, you say?
Well* not even that—a figment of
my imagination, a concept borne out
of two things I dread but that I am
forced to deal with on a regular basis.
Webster’s Third College Edition
defines PMS as “premenstrual syn
drome — a group of physical and
emotional symptoms that may pre
cede a menstrual period, as fluid re
tention, fatigue, depression, irritabil
ity, etc.”
Webster mightas well say the Sears
Tower is a big building in Chicago.
Nobody can really understand PMS
because it is different things to differ
ent people. And having it can range
from mildly inconvenient to sheer
hell. /
Like going to lire dentist.
Dentists and PMS should NOT go
together under any circumstances,
even if the dentist is male and there
fore incapable of having PMS.
His patient might have PMS.
Since I’m a regular sufferer, PMS
is a handy excuse for any sudden,
inexplicable outbursts or mood
Like when I was visiting the den
When I walked into the office to
have my wisdom teeth extracted, I
was jovial. Nervous, but jovial.
After he yanked my teeth and I
regained consciousness, I was still
jovial, despite the fact that I had two
pounds of blood-soaked gauze in my
I went home and, thanks in part to
pain killers, was still jovial until one
morning when I returned to the dentist
and lost my happy thoughts.
I attribute my downfall to PMS.
When I woke up in the wee hours
that morning, I was in great pain but
not greatly upset, more like mildly
peeved. I popped a pain pill and went
back to sleep with the intention of'
seeing the dentist as soon as possible.
Later, I drove to the office in an
upbeat, yet fearful, state of mind. The
pills had worn off, and I felt like some
sadist, or some dentist, had been at
work in my mouth with sharp instru
My fear grew as I entered the build
ing and made my way to the dentist’s
office. I cowered as I opened the door.
Muzak was playing.
I was ushered back to a deceiv
ingly plush but torturous seat from the
Spanish Inquisition. I was made to
lean back at an impossible angle,
causing all the blood to rush to my
wounds. Oh, the agony.
Then the fiendish hygemst told me
the news: I had dry sockets.
My fear changed to guilt and sor
row. Where had I gone wrong? I had
followed the instructions to the letter.
OK, I ate one com chip to show off,
but that was all. Why me? Why did I
deserve such a cruel fate? Oh, the
inhumanity of it all.
But the cruelty had just begun.
The hygenist snipped my stitches
so as to fill my sockets with stuff that
looks, tastes and smells like those
strange little flatworms your high
school biology teacher kept in form
aldehyde to freak squeamish students
She told me to open.
I lost it.
While the stuffing procedure hurt
less than, say, ch i ldbirlh, it was enough
to bring tears to my eyes. Lots of tears.
When the dentist came in to “see
how we’re doing,” he found me sob
bing in the chair, unable to explain
why I was reacting in such a way.
Sure, it hurt, but not THAT bad. I’m
a mature adult most of the time.
I told him my tears were due to
“other circumstances” and choked
them back as best as I could.
So I sat and snarfed while he told
me I should drink some Coke to get rid
of the taste and come back later in the
Come back. Oh, the injustice.
I should have been relieved to es
cape that place, but when I made it to
my car, the waterworks started again.
After many minutes I sat up and asked
myself: “Why the hell am I crying?”
And I didn’t know.
I wasn’t in pain anymore; thedress
ing had not only numbed my sockets
but most of my mouth. Sure, the taste
was icky, but it wasn’t intolerable.
And now I could spend the rest of the
day in bed.
Upon realizing that I no longer had
a reason for my outburst, the tears
dried and I went home feeling sullen
and a little stupid.
Later that day, after a good nap, m y
happy thoughts returned, icky taste in
my mouth or not.
I can no more explain my emo
tional roller coaster ride that day than
I can tell you why I sometimes crave
chocolate with such force that I would
sell my mother for it, or why I some
times want to shave my head so I will
no longer have to fight with it in the
My body’s chemistry must have a
mind of its own.
PMS is an easier, cheaper and prob
ably more fitting excuse for my inex
plicable behavior than sitting on a
psychiatrist’s couch and going over
my childhood traumas for a mere S75
an hour.
Psychiatry and PMS shouldn’t go
together anyway.
PMS shouldn’t go with anything.
Except chocolate.
Paulman is a senior news-editorial and
history major, and a photographer and col
umnist for the Daily Nebraskan.
Perot’s problems outweigh assets
□ ay it ain’t so.
The quitter himself Ross
Perot said Tuesday he “made
a mistake” by not pursuing his inde
pendent campaign for president.
Coupled with his myriad of television
appearances last Friday, including the
“Today” show, “The MacNcil Lchrer
News-Hour”and “N ightlinc,” it looks
like the little billionaire is ready to
rejoin the race.
Perot continues to
claim that he will let his
supporters, especially
the volunteer organiz
ers of his various ballot
petition drives, decide
whether he should “of
ficially” enter the race.
Since he is now on the
ballot in all 50 states,
that decision is easily made.
Perhaps more important to Perot’s
possible return is the bruising his ego
and reputation took after he dropped
out of the race in July. The Texas
tough guy essentially proved by with
drawing that he was thin-skinned and
unable to handle the media spotlight
— not to mention indecisive.
The money Perot has spent thus far
in the campaign also might be a rea
son for his return. After spending
more than $18 million he probably
wants to wield at least a little bit of
influence. As a non-candidate that
influence is more or less nonexistent.
True, $18 million is peanuts to a bil
lionaire. But Perot, like any
businessperson, wants to see some
return on his investment.
This is not to say the entire Perot
campaign hinged on the candidate’s
ego or checkbook. There were plenty
of things to admire. His supporters,
for example, were deeply committed
to change and interested in belter
government. It was a grass-roots
movement, idealistic and hopeful that
Perot had the clearest vision of a
greater America.
The candidate himself also war
rants some respect. His efforts on
—' i'T -t> *r r‘Tr~r ^$-,t ^---:---—•.. ..
behalf of prisoners of war in the late
’60s and early ’70s were more than
admirable. His stance on the budget,
although somewhat hackneyed, is the
only plan that clearly addresses the
problem. Perot specifically outlined
deep spending cuts and tax increases
on gasoline, Medicare, Social Secu
rity and upper-bracket incomes that
would have saved more than $750
billion in five years.
Unfortunately, Perot’s solution
would be nearly impossible to imple
ment. Few legislators are prepared to
ask elderly constituents to give up a
substantial portion of their Medicare
and Social Security benefits.
For many other reasons, however,
Perot is not the answer to this country ’ s
ills. He has proven himself insensitive
to various groups, especially blacks
and women.
In a July speech to the National
Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, for example, Perot
offended a number of those in the
audience by referring to“yoilr people”
and “you people.”
Perot has been equally callous to
ward women. He forbade above-the
knce skirls for women who worked
for hiscompany, Electronic Data Ser
vices. If a woman wanted to wear
slacks, even on an especially cold
day, she needed to have permission.
Perot’s indecisiveness is also well
documented. In 1955, only two years
after his graduation from the U.S.
Naval Academy, Perot asked to be
relieved from active duty two years
early. He has given no less than four
separate explanations for his request.
First, he claimed his obligation
was only two years instead of the
standard four. He thought four-year
obligations were instituted in war
time only.
Second, he has said the navy’s
promotion system was not based on
merit. He said in 1971 that promo
tions partially based on length of ser
vice were “just sort of incompatible
with my desire to be measured and
judged by what I could produce.”
Third, Perot wrote in 1955 to his
congressman that life aboard his ship
was full of swearing and promiscuity
and deeply offended him.
Fourth, he has claimed that the lax
morals of his captain were offensive.
He said the captain demanded liquor
from the ship's medicinal stores while
they were at sea and used the ship’s
recreation funds to redecorate his
cabin. The captain, of course, vehe
mently denied any such activities.
Perot never did receive early release
and was forced to finish his assign
ment with the rest of his classmates.
Perot shouldn’t be discounted as a
person or a leader solely for wanting
to end his service prematurely.
He can, however, be criticized for
floundering around with four separate
explanations for why he tried to get
When Perot was in the campaign
he continually avoided responding to
substantive questions by dodging situ
ations in which he could be cross
examined about his beliefs. Aside from
the budget, he answered questions
with only the vaguest of generalities
and attacked those who demanded
more specific responses.
The public deserves to know more
than Perot told us about the ideas of
someone who is running for the
nation’s highest office.
Ross Perot should stay out of the
race. He has shown himself to be both
unwilling and unable to deal with
concrete issues and the media scru
tiny that accompany the public’s de
sire to know what he believes. If he
won’t tell us what he believes, or
doesn ’ t know himself, he wouldn’t be
a good president.
Perot’s supporters are on the right
track. Change in government is badly
needed. Ross Perot, however, doesn’t
have the candor or decisiveness to be
that beacon of change.
Binning is a second-year law student and
a Daily Nebraskan columnist. .
- ■
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