Thursday, March 26, 2015


Once again I have no topic, so I’m just going to freestyle and see where the words take me. We’ll start with a random observation I made last week while I was getting my teeth cleaned: I don’t think I’ve ever met a dental hygienist over the age of 40. They always seem to be young girls (“young” defined as 20s and 30s. I’m staring 60 in its wrinkled face. This is young to me). They’re all happy and smiling as they root around in your mouth and dig all the crap out from between your teeth. It’s like tooth geishas. Is that a thing?

If this job has a low threshold for burnout, I wouldn’t be surprised. There are only so many years of your life you can spend peering into somebody’s mouth. It has to get old real quick. I don’t know if this is a long-term term career for these ladies or if they’re trying to earn money to go to dental school. Hygienists seem like nurses’ aides: they do all the crap stuff, then the “real” professional (usually a man) comes in, talks to you for five minutes and collects a huge paycheck. I don’t know what hygienists get paid, but it better be substantial, considering what they have to put up with, halitosis being only the start.

At least they get to wear gloves and masks now. I can remember back in the Dark Ages, when my dentist did all the dirty work himself, maskless and bare-handed. Then you rinsed out with a Dixie cup. This was all pre-HIV. This same era used to have playground equipment set into concrete for kids to land on when they fell off the monkey bars, and if you wore a helmet while riding a bike even the school wuss would beat you up. My God, how the hell did we ever survive to adulthood?

Getting back to the question of pay, I’m going to assume hygienists don’t get much. What makes me say that? Because in 50-plus years of going to the dentist, I have never seen a male hygienist. Men gravitate toward the higher-paying, more prestigious careers. Judging by the dearth of men, I’d guess dental hygienist doesn’t fall into that category.

Ladies, if you want to make the big bucks, look around for the professions with the most men in them. That’s where the money will be. If you can’t land a job, you can still go to Plan B and marry one of these guys. Then you can afford to become a dental hygienist because you’ll have financial backup.

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Over on the writers’ site, there’s a thread going on under Young Adult called “The Next Big Thing.” We chime in and try to guess what the next huge trend in YA will be so we can ride that train to the bank. So far no real trends have emerged, though I’ve noticed something interesting.

Thanks in part to Game of Thrones, we seem to be seeing an upsurge in Medieval-style fantasy. I just read (or skimmed) three of these in a row, and they all have the same basic plot: Hunger Games meets the X-Men. There’s a dystopian society with an oppressive government, downtrodden/enslaved masses, and a gathering rebellion, with a twist: the hero and his/her friends have superpowers. Besides the three I read, there are others out there. Was this a trend we missed?

If so, you’re already too late to hop aboard. These books were bought two years ago. The market’s saturated. The trend’s already over. If you want to write to a trend, forget it. Real trends come out of nowhere, flare up and die while you’re madly scribbling away. Just write what you want to and make it good and start the trend instead of chasing it. As the one writer said on Twitter, “Nobody was looking for Harry Potter.”

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Finally, here’s how you don’t make friends. I go to the library daily because I’m too cheap to pay for home WiFi. I’m a regular fixture up there. The other day some woman said to me, “You were up here the other day, weren’t you?” I remembered her face, so I said, “Yeah, I come here for the Internet.” “Me too,” she said. She then followed up with, “Did you watch those ISIS beheading videos on YouTube?” Uhhhhh … I don’t think so. This is what you say if you’re trying to pick up Hannibal Lecter in a bar. This is NOT how you start a conversation with a stranger in a public library.

Lady, I don’t care how many times you’ve seen me in the lobby. You don’t know me. And after that little opening salvo, I sure as hell don’t want to know you. I think I made my position plain by my tone and disgusted expression, but I’m not sure. People who kick off conversations this way don’t always grasp the nuances of subtlety.

How do I keep attracting these psychos? I must be hanging out in the wrong venues. Normal people have WiFi at home and don’t have to go to the library. As soon as it gets warm enough, I’m going to start writing in public places, like Barnes and Noble and public parks. See what kind of sickos I can draw to me out in the real world. If nothing else, I’ll have something to write about. Hasta la vista!


Savanna Kougar said...

A friend of mine was a highly paid hygienist in the early 80s... however, her career took a nosedive because she was highly paid and experienced. Yeah, they hired the young and inexperienced because they didn't have to pay them that big salary. She did get temp work, but basically she was priced out of the market and out of a regular job.

She also said men weren't as good because they're hands were usually too big for teeth cleaning... so how come men dentists? They yank better... no, I made that last part up, but it's true. Although my last regular dentist was a woman, and excellent! I went to her for years. Now I'm not close enough, and don't even know if she's still practicing.

Yeah trends, unless you start them, or happen to hit them at the up point... just write the best book you most want to write... and go for it.

I have a couple of YA ideas, even one written from years ago before YA was a thing... but I don't have time to polish and publish... and I doubt they'd be what is currently wanted.

Overall, I think super powers are wanted in stories for a whole slew of reasons... but, in part, because of the way society is currently, and because more psychic super powers are emerging... and yeah, I WANT MINE to emerge. I have feeling I'm going to need them in the future... the way things are going.

BTW... I'm about to email MLK to you.

Pat C. said...

Oh yeah ... forgot about those big, clumsy man-hands. And yet men are dentists ... I still think it's a pay thing. Men used to be secretaries before people realized they could pay women less.

I mentioned my former co-worker, who got laid off a couple months back because she got too old and expensive. I haven't seen her since December, so I don't know how she's doing. She was training to do office work, another female ghetto job. Yeah, good luck with that.

Just downloaded MLK. Thanks for the editing assist! I'll get back to that next week.