Just doing my job.

I've worn glasses since the third grade. With two older brothers, I was frequently teased with the refrain "boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses", which given my interest in eventually being passed at, was wickedly on target. Ah, brothers. (Little did I know at the time that in fact boys take passes at anything that moves, but that's another post.)

To adjust, I focused my emerging sense of okay-ness on what genetics had delivered by celebrating the compensatory prize of well shaped, evenly spaced and at times beautiful, teeth. I rationalized that while my eyes had been focused on the near side of life, my teeth were designed to bare my true standard to the outside world. Convenient that smiling is something I truly enjoy, particularly for no good reason.

In any event, I learned that while trips to the eye doctor were relatively painless, the upkeep of my smile had a different burden. I quickly determined that with a small daily contribution to the care of my teeth, the relationship with my dentist remained brief and harmonious. In the interests of avoiding sharp, stabbing or god forbid drilling pain of any kind, I became a disciple of flossing and brushing.

As the technology evolved, my cleaning arsenal shifted from manual to electric. A new brush came into my life through the miracle of Costco, where you can purchase two or twenty of anything, for what appears to be a greatly reduced per unit price. This is how the new electric tooth brush came into my life.

And in fact, it is significantly better. The mechanism doesn't duplicate the automated brushing function, up and down, side to side. The little rubber head wraps around the tooth and gums and gives the area a thorough but gentle scrubbing. You slowly move the brush head through your mouth and clean one tooth at a time.

I had to look no further than the box to understand how this leap in performance had been invented.

"Dentist inspired cupping action."

It took a little while for this so sink in, since at first I was mostly laughing. First I repeated the phrase in an excited, radio announcer, sales voice. After exhausting those riffs, I tried it with a Barry White interjection of baby talking sexy come on. Laughing and laughing.

What poor marketing person came up with that phrase?

Had dentists been cupping my teeth all the time and I didn't even know it? Was it included in the price of the cleaning? Had my dentist actually inspired others to cupping actions? Yes, there is absolutely a joke there.

Were dental students inspired by cupping actions as their motivation to enter the profession? Did the dental hygiene industry come to this inspiration together, or was there a leader who brought the innovation from the laboratory to the market? A dedicated researcher in a lab coat, working long hours, sacrificing family picnics and outings to the zoo, ultimately to be rewarded with finding the holy grail of cupping action.

Or was it market driven? Then the box might have said "Customer inspired cupping action", if marketing had any ethics at all about accurate attributions. But you don't end up in marketing if you're too concerned with accuracy or validity. So, there might have been a focus group that mused about the importance of surrounding the tooth with little rubber scrubbers, but the attribution had more credibility coming from a professional source.

Once the dentist has inspired cupping action, did he continue to live by the code? Was there a shrine to the dentist who originally inspired cupping? If I looked in the dentist's office, would I see the cups now that I was looking? Or was it only something that the dentist could see when he was inspired?

At the annual convention were there white papers on inspiring others to cupping? Or did the manufacturers present a variety of dentist inspired products, and cupping was voted to be the best? This made me think about what dentists' dream and are there other inspirations yet to come?

Think about it. "Dentist inspired cupping action." Bigger than anything else on the box. Including the product name or manufacturer. And darned if it doesn't work.

Today's inspiration was a silly phrase on a box and a quote "We never realize what an impact we have 'by just doing our job.'" Sara F. MSW.

Even though you might not be a dentist, could just doing your job inspire some cupping action today?

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