After the Day

After the Day’s Work is Done
C. M. Quillen, D.D.S.
I wondered all this afternoon with something akin to a perturbation over that sudden peculiar change in old Mrs. Spark. She left my office rather hurriedly at two o’clock after dropping in for an examination of her teeth and to make an appointment for the necessary work, and it was unnatural the way she did and acted.
I hadn’t seen this charming lady for eighteen months, but I wasn’t worried though about her for I knew she was a loyal, appreciative patient of mine since I had been doing her Dental work exclusively and satisfactorily for the last several years. I felt too that she was a very good friend.
Glad to See Old Friends Return
Naturally I was glad to see her again, and, as the Assistant seated her in the chair, knowing her likes and dislike about cleanliness I went through my usual routine with more perspicacity than I do for conspicuousness for her special benefit, made an extra remark about the instruments from the sterilizer being hot (and they were) and changed the drinking glass myself, right before her watching eyes.
I chided her a little also about neglecting her teeth, good-naturedly, and which she took in like spirit as one good friend to another. She had skipped a time and I found more work to do in her mouth than the usual run.
An appointment was given her for tomorrow morning at ten o’clock which she accepted at first, and then it happened suddenly and with a shock, this peremptory deviation from her normal self as I had know her, and the unexpected change of her mind.
I noticed that her actions too, were peculiar. She gave me a long and steady look and then an indifferent glance around the office, with an evasive note in her voice as she denied the appointment tomorrow and would call me later about doing her Dental work.
Hence, it worried me the afternoon through as I did not wish to lose her as a patient, and I tried to place the error during the few lulls between my engagements in a mad endeavor to find, if I could, the thing that I did that was wrong. I thought that maybe I had overstepped my bounds in chiding her or that the time for her appointment did not suit, but knew that it wasn’t either of these nor could I find during this time any other fault of mine that I could put my finger on.
I found the trouble tonight as I started to shave. I don’t know why at this particular time I cut my whiskers off rather than in the morning with my starting of the day, but from now on I will, as my blue beard doesn’t look very nice after the day’s work is done.
My unkempt face startled me as I looked and startlingly clear, too, there popped into my vision this bedraggled appearing office of mine which had been gathering dust and growing a little more shopworn each and every day for the last few years since it had been overhauled and painted. It stood out painfully clear, too, as painfully clear as my beard, both shocking and unkempt things to my suddenly dawning sight.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Tomorrow I start about setting this aright. Twelve hours from now I shave again, and each morn there-after before I begin my work. Dirt, that insidious viper, will not slip up behind me again. I will keep a sharp lookout, put my Assistant on her guard, chase him out of here this time and away from my office. Renovate and overhaul as often as necessary to keep it clean from now on.
I may call Mrs. Spark next week to come down and look it over. Then again I probably won’t, but if this Mrs. Spark leaves me, which is only just that she should, I am very certain that the next one will not on account of this abuse of the place where I work.
Reynolds Arcade Bldg.
Bristol, Va.