I think the Universe really does prefer conversation to criticism and being interested rather than being interesting.
So going on two years ago, I had some major decisions to make. I was basically saying goodbye to my family. I sold the Von Bulow hacienda as well as my aunt’s home/Blandino family reunion center and, just like that, two lasting physical connections to a half century of loving memories vanished.
I moved to Pasadena and worked desperately to preserve emotions I could still see and touch every day.
One fine day I walked into Aaron Brothers. I had the images I wanted but still needed the frames. Monica was friendly and really helpful. And you’d think that after decades of practice, I’d be pretty slick at faking knowledge and hiding ignorance…but what a waste of energy.
Monica helped me find the right frames but also took an interest in the pictures (of my family and my trip to Mom’s Sicilian homeland.) Once Monica found out I was a dentist, she shared a little about her son, Christopher; seemed Christopher had had some fairly shaky dental experiences. Mom was concerned about Christopher’s crowded teeth and thought we might be a fit.
The Christopher we met on Day One was painfully quiet and refused to smile even on threat of house arrest. The young man’s teeth were headed this way and that; a previous consult had recommended four extractions-I’ve never been a fan of that approach.
After some advice shared from a trusted mentor, I went with my gut and offered clear aligner orthodontics with Invisalign. After one extraction and 10-months of care we had a result that not only generated straight teeth…but also a smile that fit Christopher’s face.
About three months into care, Dental Assistant Kolleen actually inspired a Christopher chuckle, the first such expression of its kind we’d witnessed since the kid had rolled into Temple City.
When my mentor, Dr. David Galler, saw the photos you see, here’s what he wrote: “Jack, Is it weird that I get so much joy out of seeing that before and after? It’s not even my patient yet I awoke with such a smile on my face thinking about him. Imagine the girlfriends he will have, the job interviews he will ace, the smile in all his photos in life with his kids…all because of the great Dr. Jack. Yes, we get paid for treating people, but seeing “before and after” photos like these is a drug I can’t get enough of… David”
I’m beginning to think the Universe really does prefer conversation to criticism, being interested rather than being interesting, and creativity versus competition. And I have two new lives and two smiling faces to submit as evidence.