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May 3, 2006 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I feel vindicated! Had no idea that other kids had gone through the "we don't need novacaine for this" experience you described so clearly on your show from Rochester. Mine happened when I was 7, near grandma's farm in Tracy, Minnesota. Mom and grandma had promised me it was just a check-up and that there would be no drilling. But the dentist found a small cavity. I panicked as he tried to be convincing: "We just need to do a *litttle* drilling." I refused, and after repeated attempts to bribe me failed, the looming hulk moved in. I bolted from the chair, with the dentist in pursuit. I knocked his model jaw to the floor and it smashed to pieces. As he grabbed for me, I grabbed for him. I got his arm, and bit down. Hard. Drew blood. He capitulated. No drilling that day, though I later went to bed with no supper. Now, as a child psychologist I usually don't feel qualified to offer advice for parents. But there is this one thing: Don't promise your kids there will be no drilling unless you can keep your promise! Thanks for reminding me.

Jan M.
Weston, MA

A feisty kid becomes a psychologist. Of course. Makes perfect sense. As for dentistry, it has come a long way since then and young dentists now specialize in dealing with recalcitrant children, such as my daughter, who for some reason is stricken with terror at the dentist's. We don't push children as far as our parents pushed us, and I suppose they were pushed even farther by their parents. I trust that you and your mother are back on good terms.

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