The new feisty President Obama had a very good line during his State of the Union Address when he said the only thing uniting Republicans and Democrats in Congress is that everybody hated the bank bailout. "I hated it. You hated. It was as popular as a root canal," said the president to cheers on both sides of the aisle.
Scorn, however, could be felt in Obama's hometown.
Obama's remarks triggered a mini-firestorm of opposition that was lost in the millions of words devoted to ripping or praising the SOTU. It seems that even root canals have their own constituency. According to the 7,200-member strong American Association of Endodontists, the president took a cheap shot.
The AAE screams "Balderdash" to those Americans who equate a root canal with the 1976 classic film, "Marathon Man" and the powerful scene in which Dustin Hoffman is strapped to a dentist chair and drilled by a fugitive Nazi played by Sir Lawrence Olivier who asks, "Is it Safe?" The AAE maintains that Hoffman -- had he had a root canal procedure done by an endodontist -- would not only respond "Yes" to Olivier, but would add "Pretty painless, too." Perhaps the AAE should update the Hoffman/Olivier encounter in the its promotional campaign.
The Chicago-based group says a survey shows that patients who have root canals performed by endodontists are six times more likely to describe it as painless than those who never had the procedure. Of course, those that never had a root canal donít know what they are in for. Many fear the return appearance of Olivier's sadistic Christian Szell.
In light of Obama's remark, expect to hear more from the root canal people, After all, March 29 is right around the corner. That's the kick-off date of "Root Canal Awareness Week." The president's put down provides a good hook for the celebratory week that is bound to highlight the fact that 17M natural teeth are saved each year via root canals.
Pain, however, is in the mind (or mouth) of the beholder.